- Trailer: PV Trailer
- What it’s about: The Hundred-Man Slayer. That’s what they call him. A ronin samurai who killed his master and then every enforcer sent after him. As punishment, he was cursed with immortality until he finds a way to redeem himself. With no skills other than his swordsmanship, he pledges to kill a thousand evil men to make up for the murders he’s already committed. Along the way he runs into an orphan named Rin, who seeks vengeance for the slaughter of her family.
- Why you should watch it: In short: the characters and the action scenes. Manji himself doesn’t show a tremendous amount of growth, but Rin’s character – her ideals, motivations, and desires – are extremely well-developed over the course of the series. The fights are well-choreographed and brutal and can get quite inventive in the various ways that Manji’s immortality is put to the test. The animation is remarkably good; the character designs are first-rate and the show makes good use of modern cinematographical technique to keep the action fresh. If you’re looking for something gory with a “badass” protagonist taking on all comers, Blade of the Immortal is a good choice.
- Caveats: When I started the show, I’d kind of hoped that they’d play up the “immortal” aspect a bit more in terms of longevity (like Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, for example). The intro shows Manji in the modern world, after all. But nope, the entire story spans a few months in a single time period. Aside from that, the soundtrack can most charitably be described as…experimental. It’s very different to the standard music you’ll see in action anime, but I’m not sure that it’s actually an improvement.
- Themes: Revenge and redemption, mostly in the context of finding your own reasons for living.
- Similar works: Afro Samurai, Berserk. Outside of anime, Kill Bill.