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Old 09-07-2009, 02:46 PM   #1   [permalink]
Project Akira
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Blade of the Immortal anime

So Blade of the Immortal has finally been adapted into an anime. For those not familiar, Blade of the Immortal is a long running samurai manga by Hiroaki Samura about Manji, a ronin who is infected with the kessen chu (sacred bloodworms) and can heal from any wound. Known as the 100 Man Killer, in order to rid himself of the bloodworms and finally die, he has vowed to rid the world of 100o evil men as penance for his crimes. Along the way, he picks up a young girl named Rin who is seeking revenge against the man who killed her parents. It's pretty bloody and violent but there are a lot of philosophical implications brought up in the manga on the nature of what makes an evil man. Also it's really bloody. At least that's what I remember. I haven't read the comic in years so I might be looking through the good ol' rose colored glasses of nostalgia.

Anyways, I saw the first episode last night of the anime and I'm not sure how I feel. It's a bit of a disappointment that not much was done to mimic Samura's art style outside of some elements of the fighting sequences. Everything feels way too clean which while understandable since it is animation, I wish they had used a more interesting color palette to substitute for the grunginess of Samura's line. I think the fighting sequences are pretty tastefully done and like I said they're really the only real part that seems true to Samura's style through their use of patterns (which Samura employs in his comics).

Also I'm not too wild about the smoothing out of Manji's character. In the comics, he's pretty much a bastard and it doesn't seem like his quest to kill 1000 evil men is very altruistic. Yet in the tv show, he comes across as being a lot more remorseful. Again, I haven't read the comic in close to a decade so I might be thinking Manji was meaner than he actually was. I'm also kind of interested in seeing if the animators are going to have him get sloppier and lazier with his fighting style since in the comics getting the blood worms didn't give him any incentive to keep his fighting skills up.

I'll keep posting as I keep watching but any one else watch this show, read the manga, or both? Curious to see what other people think of this. Also curious to see where they end the show as the manga is still going.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:44 PM   #2   [permalink]
John Faulkner
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So this sacred bloodworm samurai dude can heal himself from any wound? That's a bit of an own goal from the creator, because this cuts out the suspense, the sense of danger that arises from the possibility of death. It sounds like this could just be one of those near-immortal good guys busting up arseholes around the world. True, this could be good entertainment, but we've already had this with Fish of the North Star, and for less violent examples, there're Dragonball and Hellsing.

My problem is that this storyline does not seem to be realistic enough. In many real-life situations, the real possibility of death opens up a whole new existential angle that cannot simply be rationalized away - e.g., the soldier haunted by the reality of being blown to bits by an IED or the workers risking their lives daily to mine minerals in the DRC. Is that in any way represented in this Blade of the Immortal? If not, then I fear this anime is fundamentally designed to trap people in a world of fantasy entertainment, and is by extension immature.

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Old 09-07-2009, 07:34 PM   #3   [permalink]
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Why don't you watch it or read the manga to see if those questions are raised? I honestly don't feel like spoiling something for people who may or may not have seen this series or read the book.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:08 PM   #4   [permalink]
John Faulkner
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Originally Posted by Project Akira View Post
Why don't you watch it or read the manga to see if those questions are raised?
I could, but I've got to decide whether this Blade of the Immortal is worth watching or not in the first place. And there's no better person to ask than someone who's already clued up on what the plot is. If you are able to address my concerns, in a mature conversation, then I will be happy to watch the anime. But if not, then why should I watch it?

Originally Posted by Project Akira View Post
I honestly don't feel like spoiling something for people who may or may not have seen this series or read the book.
You can give subtle hints that address my concerns without spoiling the plot completely. I'm sure you are able to do this, as I can for every single anime I have seen.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:27 PM   #5   [permalink]
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John Faulkner: Manji may not be able to die, but there are plenty of other characters for whom death is a real possibility.

I have not seen the anime. In fact, I went out of my way to avoid it, because while I love the storyline of the manga, I'm also infatuated with the artwork, and I know artwork like that could never be reproduced on the TV screen. It kind of surprises me that they'd even try, but then again it does have a good story.

And I'd just like to add to John Faulkner that the manga, at least, is one of the most mature series I've read.
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:49 PM   #6   [permalink]
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Originally Posted by dheu View Post
John Faulkner: Manji may not be able to die, but there are plenty of other characters for whom death is a real possibility.
If Manji is immortal, then why do the 100 evil men even bother taking him on? Surely after Manji rips out the hearts of a few of these evil people and sucks out their blood in front of little children (or whatever), word would get around the evil men fraternity that sacred bloodworms dude is invincible? Then these evil dudes should be wise enough to keep a healthy distance from Manji to avoid death by bloodworm. And surely the reader would know that Manji will win any fight that starts, rendering the outcome totally predictable?

I mean, the artwork may be great (as you say), and I'm not going to dispute that, but the storyline sounds very predictable.

Originally Posted by dheu View Post
And I'd just like to add to John Faulkner that the manga, at least, is one of the most mature series I've read.
In what ways is it mature?

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Old 11-07-2009, 09:00 PM   #7   [permalink]
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Originally Posted by John Faulkner View Post
If Manji is immortal, then why do the 100 evil men even bother taking him on? Surely after Manji rips out the hearts of a few of these evil people and sucks out their blood in front of little children (or whatever), word would get around the evil men fraternity that sacred bloodworms dude is invincible? Then these evil dudes should be wise enough to keep a healthy distance from Manji to avoid death by bloodworm. And surely the reader would know that Manji will win any fight that starts, rendering the outcome totally predictable?

This is how the bloodworms work. Spoilers abound on the rest of the page.
It's implied that the 100 men were killed before Manji had the bloodworms put in him so at that point. They were after Manji because he had a bounty on his head for killing his former lord. One of the story points (which I mentioned earlier), is that he was actually at one point a very skilled fighter at one point, having been a samurai, but now since he can no longer be fatally injured he's become a lot sloppier. His fighting no longer has the edge he previously had and he and others have mentioned that he's not nearly as formidable as Manji was when he killed the 100 men. There's been several fights where Manji has literally been dismembered by other warriors. It's also not a very well known fact that he can't die or least it didn't seem to be when I was reading it.
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