I stumbled across this anime by luck, actually. The name sounded interesting, looked at the synopsis and saw that the show has samurai in it, hence it was enough reasoning for me.
For the first couple of episodes, I didn’t know what to feel about Shigurui; feels interesting on one hand but the strange pace and expression of the anime made me feel a bit detached. However, the episodes started to connect and I got used to the manner of the story-telling, then it suddenly hit me:
(Anime still ended up abruptly, though…)
Shigurui is adapted as a manga by Takayuki Yamaguchi from a novel Suruga-jo Gozen Jiai by Norio Nanjo. Anime started to air in 2007 by Madhouse. May need trigger warning, contains a great deal of blood and some nudity. In the first episode, for the first time in my life I felt a tiny bit grossed. *_*
The story is set around the year 1600. Our ‘beloved’ feudal lord demands real swords to be used in the annual tournament between the sword masters. This, of course, means that a lot of skillful master will die during the tournament and there will be discomfort among people and swordsmanship schools. Even though the feudal lord’s consultant cries ‘If it is blood you seek, you shall have it!’ and spills his guts out (literally) fails to convince the lord. Thus we meet our two main characters as the first combatants: Fujiki Gennosuke and Irako Seigen. Latter episodes are focused on their back stories, how they met and what lead these two to chop each other up.
First thing that stands out in Shigurui is that the music and visuals are outstanding. I was amazed by the characterization and expression of the movement, different from what I’ve seen so far and the style is so artistic. Don’t get me wrong, I do consider anime and manga as an art form but Shigurui’s subtle surreal structure got me hooked, I’m sure you will agree with me after seeing it yourself.
Gosh the details… (￣O￣ )
Got me thinking while watching, if I were to live among those people and in that era I would surely witness what I saw in anime. It felt so close to reality. Of course there are some parts that were surreal, even so comparing it to Rurouni Kenshin or Hakuoki (or any other samurai era anime), instead of overly carismatic characters that almost never get hurt, seeing ones who are blind, crippled, scarred or gone mad is definitely refreshing (or as refreshing as it gets). Of course I consider the genre difference when I do the comparison, in the end the different approach is always interesting for me. If you are comfortable with seeing blood, I recommend the series. Sometimes just looking at the visuals and listening to its soundtrack is enough.The ending is abrupt as I said previously but it should not discourage you taking up the anime. Shigurui looks at the merciless atmosphere of swordsmanship schools, its strict rules, politics in between and two women who get lost in these politics with a surreally ‘realistic’ point of view.