At times, extreme and horrifying, at others, awe-inspiring and beautiful, but does 2019’s Blade of the Immortal anime capture the strange magic of Hiroaki Samura’s chanbara epic?
Isn’t it exciting when two artists that you’ve admired for years end up collaborating with each other? It’s a heartening moment when you realise that the world is a much smaller and more interconnected place than you’ve given it credit for and that two artists that you’ve admired for so long also admire each other, like when the stars aligned and Masaaki Yuasa worked on a Taiyo Matsumoto manga in 2014’s Ping Pong anime. I suppose you could say I still haven’t gotten over that!
On a similar note, in August, it was announced that Hiroshi Hamasaki is directing a new Blade of the Immortal anime for this year’s Autumn season. On this blog, that is big news, and the teaser confirms it: it’s a match made in heaven; the perfect material for a talented director too often saddled with ill fitting material versus a beautifully drawn, violent seinen manga that’s just aching for a faithful adaptation.
“If you were stronger, I don’t know how this would have ended. But I know one thing. That woman would be dead. Those who gain power must pay a price, something in exchange. If you seek to be stronger than others you may have to lose what you value above all else. Remember this well.” –Giichi, Blade of the Immortal
In Blade of the Immortal, being strong means everything. When Rin loses her parents, looking on as they are humiliated and butchered right in front of her, she vows to avenge them, but talk is cheap. When your enemy’s strong, you’ll need to be that much stronger, but what does it mean to be strong, anyway? If it weren’t for what happened to Rin’s parents, she’d have just been another normal kid. Timid, likes sweets, curious about boys. Instead, she’s now walking this dangerous road with Manji.