The first casualty of war is innocence
Liberty Meadows | California | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the like-named manga, BASILISK is an intense, violent, and grim fantasy/action ninja series (24 episodes in all -- the first DVD release contains eps. 1 - 4).
This is, for my money, one of the finest anime series ever released by Gonzo (or any anime company, for that matter). Beautifully and stylistically animated with imaginative (and sometimes nutty) character designs and fluid fight sequences, and backed by a brilliant musical score to boot, BASILISK is both a visual and audio feast. But don't be fooled by its initial beauty -- at its core this is a brutal and unforgiving show that is aimed at adult audiences.
The basic plot is quite simple: In Japan, 1614 AD, in order to settle a growing dispute over which of the Shogun's two sons should succeed him, the government lifts a peace agreement between the bitter rivals of the Kouga and Iga clans and pits ten ninja from each clan against each other. As each clan represents one of the Shogun's sons, the winners and their clan will enjoy one thousand years of prosperity, while the losing ninjas will likely be annihilated in the fracas.
After quickly establishing this scenario in the first episode, the series then swiftly cuts to the chase, with ninja after ninja battling it out in a bloody and unmerciful clash to the death. The twist is that each ninja has a different type of power, and each side is unaware of exactly what their enemies' superhuman abilities are. This element of surprise works to great advantage for some, but what may work well against one opponent, may prove to be a glaring weakness against another.
The ninjas' powers are far from realistic, and characters are routinely vanquished after they've been barely introduced, but overall the storytellers do a very good job of bringing forth a large cast of colorful characters and giving them vivid enough personalities to make us genuinely care about what happens to them.
Caught in the middle of this dire situation are the innocent Oboro and the wise Gennosuke, who form a sort of "Romeo and Juliet"-style couple. She is the heir to the leadership of the Iga clan. He is the heir to the leadership of the Kouga clan. They are deeply in love with each other and had hoped that their upcoming marriage would finally put an end to all the bad blood boiling over between the two clans. Their plans are, of course, shattered once the peace agreement is broken, but amidst the increasing bloodshed and body count, Oboro rebels against her ruthless compatriots and holds out hope that she might in some way be able to curtail the madness before it reaches its inevitable finality. But can her innocence survive as the ninja war becomes more and more intense?
Ninja fans expecting the lighthearted, comedic antics of NARUTO or the wisecracking heroics of NINJA SCROLL, or even the bloody but inconsequential fisticuffs of the highschool fightfest TENJHO TENGE, may be stunned by the grim and merciless violence on display here. Character after character is dispatched of, sometimes in painfully graphic ways. Here violence is not clean and without consequences; characters don't take a beating and bounce back with smiles on their faces (well, maybe one does, but that's all).
As such, there are no conventional "good guys" to be found in this harsh "kill or be killed" scenario. When one ninja triumphs over another, there's no sense of exhilarating victory. The tone is more bitter than sweet, because each killing only further taints the soul of victor and prolongs the senseless carnage. And in a world in which the government not only condones such pointless slaughter, but actively encourages it, how can humanity survive? Revenge is indeed a vicious circle, and by showing us just how unrelentingly ugly and inhumane it can get, BASILISK puts the hurt and pain back into animated violence."
Another good start.
GretS | 09/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not since HBO `s Spwan, The Ninja Scroll movie , and the original Heavy Metal ( 1981), has there been any real decent mature (adult) animation. Let alone one with a plot.
Basilisk is one of four anime from Funimation that gears towards mature ( less skittish) veiwers. The animation is beautifully done, and is well acted on both dubs. The story makes Romeo&Juliet` s situation look like a bad B-rated romance movie. In the first episode, you already have good guess on how things are going to turn out. Kinda like the anime Berserk ( another good one). You automatically know your characters are not going to have a happy ending. However, you`re curious on how the characters get to that point. I admit it, I am curious.
Speaking of Berserk. Basilisk is violent. There is no-stepping away from that. Keep in mind you are dealing with warriors and cold blooded killers. Not to mention a war itself. Things are never pretty in war, and kid show like Naruto dosen`t even shy away from that brutal truth. War=violance+ (those with no honor)seeing the true ugliness of human nature in all forms. Not recomanded for younger viewers under 15-17. Much like what Berserk was. Berserk in my opinion was more about the dangers of following ambitions, and becoming a slave to it. Basilisk I can give a few opinions on, but I want to see the whole series before I set anything in stone. So far, Basilisk looks to be a promising series.
I have to admit, Funimation new adult four is looking to intersting all together. For those that are ultra-nonskittish, check out Speed Grapher."
Coman | NO, LA USA | 09/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I couldnt/cant stop watching this show. Just 1 of many good anime in last 3-4 years. I've had the series from import discs so hopefully the dubs sounds good.
No foolish comedic pieces here. This is pure action and story. Get the series, you wont be disappointed."
Natalie V. Galasso | Newark, New JERSEY. United States of America | 05/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2PTXZ5A2UU7YA My Video Review is for the Limited Edition Basilisk Box Starter set. It is made out of wood and made really nice. I also posted photos above. The series itself is a good Anime.. but it ends with everyone dieing in some way or another. Check the website for the Anime.. The official website for some spilers or videos. Hope my video helps with how the anime set looks, sorry it's a little dark. maybe I can redo it. At you can see it for the most part and hear me :)"