Thursday, August 3, 2006

Basilisk Vol. 1, Scrolls of Blood Impression

In the mood for some ninja action a little more adult than Naruto? How about a true spiritual successor to the original Ninja Scroll? Look no further, Basilisk from FUNimation has you covered and then some. (Yeah, want some cool Basilisk wallpaper, just click here).

At it's heart Basilisk is a story of two warring ninja factions, the Kouga and Iga clans. These clans have been at war for hundreds of years, and have been an uneasy enforced era of peace for 400 years. The Shogun decides to break this treaty and pit the two clans against one another in a fight that will determined the heir to the Shogun. Two scrolls, one for each clan, contain a list of 10 ninja from each clan to participate ... if that's the best term to use. The winner is the first clan to kill the 10 ninja listed by crossing their names off in blood on the scroll.

So, this sounds pretty straightforward, 10 ninja vs. 10 ninja, each with their own strange and fantastic skills from having a rubbery body to manipulating ones blood to being super elastic. These ninja are as fantastical as those found in Ninja Scroll, with character design to match. Intertwined within this war are the two young leaders of each clan, Oboro and Gennousuke. Two leaders who are set to wed (no official announcement yet) and who truly love each other. This love is translated very well in volume 1 as is the hate every other member of their clans hold for one another. How is young love to survive when the shackles have been removed after 400 years and the blood will flow? That's the story of Basilisk, will love survive, will there be peace, or will these skilled ninja just kill the hell out of each other.

Since I was a child I've loved all forms fo ninja shows from those cheesy Sunday morning kung-fu flicks to Ninja Scroll. There's something about the dark and mysterious world of ninja, deadly assassins, who use all their cool tools to carry out their trade, a something that grabbed a young boy and never let go. Basilisk, like Naruto, has rekindled that love and intrigue. I'm older now, but dang if high-flying ninja action does not send chills down my spine. The art of Basilisk at first put me off with big, bushy eyebrows and standard looking dress for an anime of its ilk, but that was changed big time once I began watching. I keep brining up Ninja Scroll, and that is the biggest compliment I can give Basilisk because the character design, personalities, voice work, the whole package is as memorable as NS, and really what the NS series should have been.

At the end of the day Basilisk is a good series that could potentially turn great, we will see how the next volumes turn out. If you like ninja's, pick up this title, don't take a flyer on it, but remember, it's mature, lot of blood, adult stuff in here. DO NOT buy this for young kids, get them the edited Naruto. I really want to talk more, but for now just take time to check out the series, you won't regret it.

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