February 21, 2010
I have to start this post by saying that I was totally wrong about this film. I often mention in my posts that I don't take ratings to seriously when it comes to choosing which anime I will watch. I tend to find that there is no measure to what ratings are even pit against. There is no indication what the standard or benchmark we are rating a show against is either. With that being said, the ratings for this show were (for once) right on. This film was awful to say the least. The ratings for this show on AnimeNewsNetwork were all in the red (if you haven't figured out, thats really bad). I thought I would give this film a shot anyway, since it was produced by Manga and has an animation style very similar to Ninja Scroll and Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma. The style of animation was not the problem in this film. In fact, I really liked how the animation looked almost identical to Ninja Scroll. The entire film was drawn with the dark, serious tone and had excellent color use. The voices were typical of dubbed anime from the late 80s early 90s period, so there were no surprises here.
Where this film really lost points was in the story line. It was random and made for a bit of a challenge to try and follow. Events just kept happening with no real indication of the relation between how it wall fit together. Many of the elements in the character development were identical to Ninja Scroll. They had the one swordsman, band of rogue ninja, immortal lead bad guy, and some monster/demon ninja with animalistic powers. All of these elements are great as long as they are developed. In this film, often they would introduce something cool, then stop developing it. By the end of the film you sit there wondering what happened to everyone and how did this all fit together. The ending scene may have had to have been the worst though. The film literally just ends. It looks like any other scene that cuts to a new point in the story when it ends. Essentially the swordsman who is followed through the whole story crosses paths with this Jiujitsu master who randomly gets introduced in the story with no real entrance. They end the whole thing off with the two saying how strong the other smells. It was the stupidest ending to say the least part. I had to find another copy of this film just to make sure that it was in fact the ending because the credits were cut out of y DVD copy. I was disappointed when I found out that it was in fact the ending.
The bottom line, I feel like I got ripped off for time here. This film is only worth watching if you are the type of person who feels the need to see as many anime series as they can. Even if you liked the animation style of the late 80s time period, stay away from this one. The fights are probably the only thing in this film making it worth watching. The story isn't even a story, it is just a series of random events. My take on it is that the writers were possibly trying to demonstrate the idea that a wandering swordsman has no real story that flows with a beginning and end. If this was the case then they have succeeded at something. But at the end of the day, when we sit down to watch a film, the story needs a beginning and an end that flow, not a string of random events.