Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou – Episode 1 [The Cherry Blossoms Have Fallen] [Quick Look]
Nikolita’s First Impression
I’ll be up front and say that I normally don’t watch historic/samurai/ninja anime (with a very short list of exceptions)… and yet I saw the original Basilisk several years ago. I even somewhat enjoyed it from what I remember. What I do recall is that it’s a very graphic series with lots of violence and blood, but when I first saw it I just tried hard to enjoy the series for its story and not for how violent it was.
Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou takes place ten years after the end of Basilisk: Kouga Ninpouchou. The last season had a high fatality count, so as of this first episode I don’t recognize any familiar faces.
It was difficult finding any sort of synopsis for this series so I watched this first episode somewhat blind. The main visual for the series features Hachirou Kouga (blue haired guy) and Hibiki Iga (red haired girl) quite prominently, although I did note that both of them look older in the poster than they do in the first episode. Maybe the poster is meant to be from later in the series when they’re older?
Anyways, the premise behind Basilisk is that the Kouga and Iga family clans have been at war with each other on and off for a long time. It seems that at present the families are in the middle of some kind of truce, and many of the adults surrounding our main duo want the two to have a child together. There is a lot of this pressure from the Kouga clan, with several ninjas saying that they would resort “even to siblings having a child togethe”r if it meant that a powerful ninja would be produced. (Side note: Hachirou and Hibiki are referenced a couple of times as siblings, though they are not actually related… I think?) I understand the drive for survival, but still, ew.
The first episode opens with a flashback to 1582. Two men are inside a burning room, and a disembodied voice of a deceased man, Obu Nobunaga, speaks to these men. He offers to change their destiny; all they have to do is ask. After the fire burns itself out, only one charred corpse is shown. Is one person really missing?
In the present day, 1626, something is happening. A young man, Tadanaga, is rushing to see his dying mother. Riding with him is his own small entourage, dedicated to protecting him despite his hurry to return home. Throughout the episode he repeatedly shows his recklessness in his desire to return home as fast as possible, going so far as to defy his protectors’ request that he not try to cross a swollen river at one point.
At the end of the episode his protectors are struck down by an unknown individual, a man who cannot be touched by Tadanaga’s blade. He describes for Tadanaga this ninja technique he created. Then suddenly from behind Tadanaga, twin free-flowing blades decapitate this strange man. It’s Kazuma, one of Kouga’s ninjas whom we met earlier in the episode. With him are the other four “Treasures of Kouga” – and they’ve arrived to protect Tadanaga! What is their connection to the young lord?
Interspersed with this subplot is the main introduction to the Kouga and Iga clans. We see several young ninjas from both clans taking turns trying to one-up each other with their abilities and skills. One of the Iga ninjas climbs a cherry blossom tree but displays a rather careless attitude towards fighting others, something a Kouga ninja attempts to fix by strangling her half to death with his weird vine-like blades. Hachirou shows up and tells Kazuma to stop hurting the young girl.
So where do I stand on Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou? It’s beautifully animated, and just as violent and gory as the original series. I’m intrigued by the events in the flashback: did one man really cheat death? Is he still alive in the present day; maybe he’s super powerful now?
That being said, quality animation and a couple of interesting plot points are not enough to outweigh a show from a genre that I don’t take much interest in. I’d watched the original Basilisk with someone else, and I think it would take watching this follow-up series with someone to keep me engaged with it as well. So I think I will take a pass, and while I might follow the show this season from time to time, I’m definitely not blogging it.
Possibility of Watching: Low
Possibilty of Blogging: Not happening
Berry’s First Impression
Well, I’m very confused. Just like Nikolita, I’m not totally into samurai/ninja shows. I’ll sometimes dabble into the Japanese historical shows, which is funny because my absolute favorite anime, if you followed my reviews of the second season, is Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (please watch it if you haven’t). I also haven’t the original Basilisk in years, but I think I have a pretty good memory of it.
The reason why there aren’t any familiar faces is because, I think, literally every single person in the original died. I remembered Oboro and Gennosuke being the last ones to die, romantically dying in their arms together. It was beautiful and very tragic at the same time. Which is why I was so surprised when I heard it got a sequel since it had ended perfectly. And now we have this, and I’m confused.
I’m not sure what I’m made to believe, but from what the characters have said, Hachirou and Hibiki, both Iga and Kouga, are blood-related siblings and the only explanation for that is that their parents are the late Gennosuke and Oboro. To which I say…HUH? HOW? I mean, they have to be, because look at them! Hachirou is literally just a tinier version of Gennosuke and Hibiki is a tiny Oboro, just different colors. So, I’m sitting here wondering when Gennosuke and Oboro were able to have them when their families hated each other so strongly. They had to have had sex before the events of the previous anime because they were separated and everyone was killing each other, but there was no mention of these twins(?) during that time. Because they both have those “special eyes”, that ability that only Oboro had. And this is only 10 years since the events of the original. So what the hell is going on? Does the successor of the previous author not give a shit about continuity and just…gave us this? Also, I know incest was a normal thing back then, not just Japan but in many cultures to keep their blood “pure”. I mean, look at ancient Egypt’s pharaohs and how that fucked them up. But still, gross, I don’t want to see these grown ass people trying to get these siblings together.
I’m also rather shocked that the Iga and Kouga clans are in some sort of truce considering the atrocities they did upon each other in the original. It was really cruel and brutal, but you do see a little bit of tense moments between the kids when they were sparring with each other, that one boy calling the girl with the cloth an “Iga bitch”. The peace they have right now doesn’t feel right to me for some reason, but I feel like their peace won’t last. The action scenes were a little underwhelming and I wasn’t too thrilled with the many static shots we got. I feel like the art actually got worse. It retains the same art style of the prequel, but it looks a little cheaper. I don’t know if it’s the colors or something but it’s off. The gore was toned down too, but it was still pretty brutal when Kazuma strangled the little girl from the tree.
It seems Nobunaga plays into the two clans’ feud as he cheated death somehow. He’s probably going to have to do something with the plot but we’ll have to see. To be honest, I kept my expectations of this sequel low because I felt like Basilisk didn’t need a sequel, and I still stand by that after watching this episode. This felt really…off. The way the story was presented was pretty confusing as well, and the whole Hachirou and Hibiki debacle bothers the hell out of me. I’m not going to be covering this, but I did want to leave a quick impression. I have a bad feeling about this show, but I’ll keep watching it to see which direction it’ll go, and to see if they explain the siblings. Also, I saw a flashback of Gennosuke in the next episode preview and that got me excited because I really liked Gennosuke. He was an honorable and good man. :)
But, if I feel like it, I might just give this show an overall review when it finishes airing. We’ll see if it doesn’t make me cry from frustration like the recent sequel of Hell Girl did before I dropped it.
Possibility of blogging: No thanks
Possibility of watching: Moderate