Mugen no Jūnin: Immortal

Title:Mugen no Jūnin: Immortal
Blade of the Immortal 2019
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - LIDEN FILMS
TSUDA Kenjiro
Remake of Mugen no Juunin.

24-episode ONA series that premiered on October 10, 2019.
Animated by Liden Films.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 8 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:3763#1552]
This remake of Blade of the Immortal is meant to depict the story of the full series in anime form compared to its 2008 adaptation only adapting the manga's first 20 chapters since the manga was still ongoing at the time of its airing. While early episodes of the series depict Rin and Manji's encounters with different members of the Itou-ryu largely similar to the 2008 series, the 2019 adaptation picks up steam in later episodes as the pair become entangled in a larger conflict between the Itou-ryu and shogunate forces. The focus on the pasts and motives of many characters, affected by the influence of samurai rule during the era, gets a good deal of focus to give them more depth, in particular Rin trying to sort out her thoughts on revenge against Anotsu when exposed to the violence and warped mentalities that the way of the samurai has brought about to others. At its high points, Blade of the Immortal offers some engrossing storytelling exploring the pitfalls of the era of samurai in Japan and going down a path of revenge. But the series also has its shortcomings at points due to how large the scope of its storytelling can be as some parts of the anime do feel a bit rushed in their developments, notably the final three episodes of the series that attempt to condense the final stages of the Itou-Ryu/ shogunate conflict. Basically, the storytelling of Blade of the Immortal's source material does show through quite well for the most part, but its 24-episode run does still hinder it to varying degrees because of trying to cram over 200 chapters of manga material into it. It's still worth checking out for the storytelling and gory action violence. But definitely felt like it could have been better if given some more episodes to work with in pacing out its story.

Last updated Saturday, January 15 2022. Created Saturday, January 15 2022.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3763#628]
(Four episodes watched):

Despite nice character designs and sophisticated dialogue, I found episode one to be largely confusing. I had thought that the eccentric artist would be the immortal guy and the main character, not Manji, and sort of would have preferred it that way. Manji didn't give me all that positive a first impression, and the fight in which he kills a dozen or so opponents seemed kind of corny and overdone. I still didn't 'get' the main premise at the end of the episode. Something about Manji must destroy a gang of thugs operating out of a dojo. It was hard to get a grip on who's who, who matters, and what their backgrounds are. Stumbling across the page devoted to the 2008 version of this tale helped fill in some gaps that this version had left. There was no explanation of how Manji had become immortal, and the explanation in episode two didn't make complete sense--what is the connection between 'bloodworms' and an obligation to kill a certain number of evil persons? I would almost say that a viewer would be better off if they skipped episode one and began the series with number two. Maybe the makers of this series were operating on the assumption that viewers had seen the original version and wouldn't need the plot to be re-explained. Still, I found the show to be modestly intriguing and was curious enough to continue watching for the time being.

With the main premise yet to be clearly explained, episode three goes off on a tangent about a female assassin who is sent to kill Manji, but, of course, she can't. Why did she give up? Why wasn't she incredulous that this guy cannot be killed? Did she already know? Did she experience some sort of enlightenment which convinced her to quit attacking him? As you might have guessed, I found this episode to be confusing, just like the previous ones. With this series set to be 24 episodes long, I hope this episode is not typical of what we will get: namely, a series of assailants coming at Manji in a fight-of-the-week sort of format, and being poorly explained and confusing even though an effort was clearly being made to be stylish and moving. If that's what this show is going to be, I doubt if I will be around for long. As I watched the beginning of episode four I wondered if I was actually watching episode five by mistake, and had missed one, because we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a new plot strand yet it seemed that we were supposed to be familiar with them.

Let me try to make my problem with this show concrete: there are shows which are easy to understand but have simplistic, uninteresting plots, and there are shows which are difficult to understand but have sophisticated plots. MnJ seems to fall into this latter category. A really good show is both easy to understand and has a sophisticated, interesting plot. Of course the viewer must make some effort to grasp what's going on, but a well-written show won't leave him or her confused and frustrated--like MnJ does.

Last updated Thursday, November 14 2019. Created Wednesday, November 06 2019.

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