Saturday, October 29, 2011

Basilisk Anime Review

Basilisk
Funimation
Complete Collection - 6 discs
600 mins. - 24 episodes
$89.98 (2007) $49.98 (2008)
$44.98 (2009) Blu-Ray
$39.98 (2010)
ISBN 704400085161
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Fumitomo Kizaki
Studio - Gonzo

Synopsis: Two rival ninja clans, the Kouga and the Iga, with an old, deep-seated grudge are pitted against one another in a bloody showdown to the finish.  They are pawns in a political battle to name the next Shogun and now there are two lists with names slowly being written off in blood. 

Caught in the crossfire are two lovers whose union would have meant a truce between the two clans.  Now there is only tragedy as the lovers must face each other on the battlefield with no mercy!
Gennosuke and Oboro
Each clan member possesses a powerful Dojutsu technique:
  • Kouga clan
    • Gennosuke - heir to the clan leadership and betrothed to Oboro of the Iga clan, can cause any enemy who meets his gaze to kill themselves instead of him
    • Kagerou - extremely attractive woman, her breath becomes poison when she is sexually aroused, hopelessly in love with Gennosuke
    • Saemon - expert at infiltration, can impersonate anyone by making an mold of their face (they are usually dead at this point), older brother of Okoi
    • Hyouma - Gennosuke's uncle, possesses the same ability as Gennosuke, but his power cannot be turned off and only works at night, he wears a blindfold and is effectively blind by choice so as not to accidentally kill his loved ones and friends, has enhanced hearing
    • Gyoubu - can merge into any solid object, very large and powerful, expert at infiltration, must strip naked for his power to be effective and cannot carry weapons with him
    • Okoi - tomboyish, well-endowed, younger sister of Saemon, through skin-on-skin contact with an enemy can drain their blood into herself (she must vomit up the excess)
    • Jousuke - good-humored and rotund (i.e. not your typical ninja), a perverted lecher, possesses remarkable speed and agility for his size, body is the consistency of rubber and allows him to deflect physical attacks, squeeze through small openings, and attack by assuming the form of a bouncing ball
    • Jubei - lacks both arms and legs, but still extremely cunning, can slither like a snake by manipulating the metal plates of his armor, his tongue is highly skilled (hear that ladies?) and can manipulate/deflect weapons, hides a dagger in his esophagus (throat, not his a$$ creep)
    • Shogen - a hunchback resembling a spider, spits a sticky fluid similar to the spider's webbing, specializes in combat instead of stealth
    • Okoi naps with her big bro Saemon
    • Danjo - elder leader of the Kouga when the truce is broken, as a young man he and Ogen, of the Iga clan, were in love and planning to be betrothed (like Gennosuke and Oboro), but a war between the two clans broke out destroying their chance at happiness, now they are bitter enemies
  • Iga clan
    • Oboro - heir to clan leadership and betrothed to Gennosuke of the Kouga clan, does not possess any physical ninja skills, but can negate the Dojutsu of anyone who meets her gaze
    • Tenzen - usurper to clan leadership, sadistic and malicious, share his body with a symbiotic being who regenerates any wound and grants him immortality
    • Akeginu - highly attractive woman, Oboro's bodyguard and confidant, secretes blood from her pores which can sprayed in her opponents eyes to blind them or spread as a fine mist to cover her attacks, in love with Koshirou
    • Koshirou - Tenzen's apprentice, creates mini-whirlwinds to rip his opponents to shreds
    • Jingoro - an expert assassin, loathsome and cowardly, transforms into a slug-like form where he can climb walls and squeeze through impossibly small spaces to creep upon his targets, can suffer extreme dehydration in this form and must rehydrate or risk dying, incredibly frightened of the salt water
    • Hotarubi - petite and dark-haired beauty, betrothed to Yashamaru, creates swarms of glowing butterflies to distract her opponents, has a snake pet/bodyguard
    • Nenki - simian features including profuse body hair (ridiculous amounts of nose hair), uses a bo staff, brash and arrogant, able to manipulate his hair as a weapon
    • Rousai - eldest of the Iga, has a gourd-shaped head, can stretch is limbs to incredible lengths, power of his punches and kicks can fell trees
    • Yashamaru - can manipulate steel-like strands of wire and slice his opponents to ribbons, betrothed to Hotarubi
    • Ogen - elder leader of the Iga when the truce is broken, as a young woman she and Danjo, of the Kouga clan, were in love and planning to be betrothed (like Oboro and Gennosuke), but a war between the two clans broke out destroying their chance at happiness, now they are bitter enemies
  • Other
    • Hattori Hanzo - leader of the Shogun's intelligence group, there are four total (all sons succeeding fathers), regrets the battle between Kouga and Iga, but understands its political necessity
The Kouga clan
Pros: Great animation, voice acting is well done, spectacularly brutal action scenes, a gut and heart-wrenching story running a gamut of emotions, very brief nudity, good opening/ending themes, I watched the more expensive 2007 set and it had a ton of extras + very nice packaging

Cons: A lot of the powerful characters get killed by treachery (bastards!), all the guys have really thick eyebrows, not enough nudity

Mike Tells It Straight: I loved Ninja Scroll and have been waiting for a series to successfully follow in its footsteps (the Ninja Scroll TV series a few years back wasn't very good).  Basilisk is an emotionally charged bloodbath as ninja clan members get brutally killed with regretful blood spraying from their severed arteries.  Excellent action, great character/Dojutsu designs, and you can't help getting attached to the characters knowing full well they're going to buy it.  This show will satisfy your action craving and gives a decent story behind the senseless murder.  Highly recommended.
Gennosuke says "Look into my eyes...and die!"

TO BUY and Recommendations: