Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou

October 26, 2018

Wow. OMG. Really? It has been more than 10 years since Basilisk aired and the way things ended, there was no way there was going to be a sequel anyhow, right? Well, how wrong were we. Sort of. Therefore it was a surprise that Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou came out as its sequel back in early 2018 and the events are set 10 years after the events of the first season. That series does bring back some nostalgic memories and it was quite captivating. Hence I went into watching this second season with higher hopes and anticipation. But somewhat despite its new setting, story and characters, something tells me that some things are better left ‘dead’ where it was supposed to be…

Episode 1
Tadanaga Tokugawa, the Dainagon of Suruga receives news of his mother’s ailing health. Quickly he and his entourage make haste to her castle despite the stormy weather. Meanwhile we see a few ninja kids playing their version of ninja tag while showing off their abilities. We have Rui (seduction pheromones), Shichigen Higurashi (bug master), Shikibu Kora (iron man), Hachisu (gunslinger), Utsutsu (illusion master) and Saizou Ishi (eye popping, literally). The game is won by Utsutsu. Feeling bored of her constant win, she decides to test Kazuma Kusanagi practising his whip wires nearby. He must be in a bad mood so he strangles her with his weapon to teach her a lesson. He is stopped by Kouga’s leader, Hachirou. He is part of Kouga’s Five Treasures that also include Kazuma, Shichito Geiin, Kaso Himonji and Tenjin Yusa. All know that despite Hachirou is the brother of Hibiki (leader of Iga), they must bang with each other to keep the bloodline flowing. Whether they like it or not. This is to give birth a superior ninja otherwise both their clans will be finished. They receive message that the shogun’s wife is unwell. Namenba sees Gorone Negoro who is trying ways to improve tools for their ninja kids. Their job is to watch over them. Tadanaga’s journey hits an obstacle. With the storm still raging, a violently flowing river blocks their path. Tadanaga is adamant to cross but his men are pessimistic of their chances to survive this. Tadanaga plans to go himself when all his men are killed by a mysterious ninja. Tadanaga tries to cut him but feels his sword keeps evading contact with his body. Thankfully the Five Treasures (actually four of them, minus Hachirou) are here to save the day.

Episode 2
Time for Five Treasures to show us their unique and weird ninja skills as they cut down the assailants. Tadanaga remains suspicious of them now although they will help him build a boat and cross the river. While Kazuma and Tenjin build the boat, the rest accompany Tadanaga as they talk about the rumour relating to Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes but none know very well of it. Hachirou sees Gorone to talk about something. Namenba notices something strange and asks Gorone about it. It seems Hachirou wants to leave the village. Namenba is dismayed he allowed it but he believes if he bumps into Hibiki, it is up to them to handle this. True enough, Hibiki confronts Hachirou on his way out and is mad she didn’t say anything to her. She thinks he fears her powers but she is not scared of his. Flashback shows Hibiki winning once over Hachirou. However she realizes he did it on purpose and it hurt her. So much so her Mystic Eyes activated and gone berserk. Uhm, it just caused a little sakura whirlwind? Is this what Hachirou is afraid of? Gorone continues discussing with Namenba about the ill-fated lovers from both side who are destined to be separated anyhow. Danjo and Ogen were once in love with each other before they were forced to fight to the death. It was the same with Gennosuke and Oboro. Now, it could be the same for Hachirou and Hibiki. The odd part is that if Gennosuke and Oboro’s blood are flowing through them, how could they be born if their parents are dead? Mind boggling! Tadanori continues talking about he cannot accept how Iga won the last battle since he believed Gennosuke was the one who defeated the seemingly immortal Tenzen. It is widely believed that Gennosuke and Oboro faced off in the final match and Iga won due to Oboro lived slightly longer after both sides exhausted their power. But in Kouga’s village, it is told slightly different. Oboro couldn’t kill Gennosuke and killed herself. Gennosuke in despair wrote in the scroll that Oboro won before killing himself (which was what actually happened). Kyouhachirou, the second son of Hattori Hanzo, visited the Kouga village and from what it looked like, a basket containing 2 babies. It is rumoured Kyouhachirou might have saved them to ensure the continued bloodline after being moved watching them sacrifice each other for love despite being destined to be torn apart. Otherwise it would be too cruel and sad for Hachirou and Hibiki. Tenjin returns with his head decapitated!

Episode 3
Flashback shows when Hibiki was new to the village, the other kids wanted to test her but her Mystic Eyes nullified their antagonism. They tried to do the same for Hachirou and Saizou could have fallen victim to his Doujutsu Eyes had not Gorone pin him down hard. Geiin and Kaso discover Kazuma being cut apart by his own weapon. Before them is a mysterious ninja. Kaso tries to burn him down but his ninja ability seems to be reversing time, causing Kaso to be burnt to death by his own ability. He introduces himself as Tsuibamu Kujaku of Joujinshuu. It seems their plan is to assassinate both the Five Treasures and Iga’s Five Flowers. Geiin tries to spread his poison to her but it backfires. He reverses time and now the old fart will die a slow death with his own multiple poisons. Hachirou senses the Five Treasures are dead (more like One Treasure now, haha… Oops…) as he takes Hibiki back to Gorone. He trusts Hachirou’s instincts and believes a powerful force could have easily taken down the Five Treasures. Now that he cannot have Hachirou leave, he has the other ninja kids stake out as well as warn the Five Flowers. Tadanaga is approached by a weird monk, Joujin claiming that his executioner will be his brother, Iemitsu who is also the current shogun. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to him because he too has noticed Iemitsu’s hidden feelings.

Episode 4
Hoetsu Tsuta of the Five Flowers is killed by Itaru Yasha. He could have got the job done had his horny side not get the better of him. Because of that, he looks through her mirror that reflects his entire pathetic life. So pathetic that he jumps off the cliff. When the other Five Flowers come looking for him, they stumble upon this old dude, Neirichiou. He might look like a pushover but look at his giant monster behind! By the time Rui and Shichigen arrive, they see their corpses. Geiin managed to send a message via bird to Hachirou the name of their assailants. Joujin reminds Tadanaga that when Iemitsu was afflicted with the pox, he said those words. Still not believing, Magoroku Rinne uses his ability to go back in time to make him remember. It was a time where Iemitsu was lying in his bed all alone. No attendants were around. Tadanaga went in to look and seeing his suffering, he wanted to call a doctor. Although Tadanaga genuinely wanted him to recover, it did not looked so in Iemitsu’s eyes. Compared to fat boy’s ailing health and his brother’s healthiness, Iemitsu became jealous and thought his death would mean his brother would ascend the throne. If that was not true, why is now Tadanaga attacked by the Kurokuwa of Iga? They work directly for the shogun. Joujin proposes Tadanaga start a rebellion and become a god. It is the only way to survive this. With his men returning and showing the decapitated heads of the Five Flowers, this is to prove their power to him. They are also doing this because they want to save his mother. Utsutsu and Saizou are stunned to see a giant monster before them.

Episode 5
Hachirou insists of going to fight the enemy but is told he has to be protected not because of his status but his technique. But he reasons that only his blood that is needed. If this world was at peace, there would be no need of ninjas. That is why sometimes people need something to cling on even if it’s just an illusion. Gorone accepts if this is his way of doing things, so be it. He shows him a secret shortcut. At the end of the path, Hachirou cuts off Hibiki so he could face the enemies himself. Saizou and Utsutsu stumble into Neirichiou. Utsutsu’s illusion doesn’t work on him because despite his eyes saw her illusion, his brain did not. Huh? He displays his technique of turning into reality his illusion that incapacitates the duo. Utsutsu manages to chant some lines to turn real her illusion on Neirichiou but the old dude escapes. Returning to his monster, he fights off the other ninja kids. When they are out of tricks and injured, here comes Hachirou. His Doujutsu Eyes causes him and the monster to go berserk. Joujin tells him to retreat. Hachirou faces off with Joujin. He is surprised his Doujutsu Eyes do not work. Joujin claims his spiritual training enables him to kill while his heart is calm. Sensing Gorone and Namenba on the way, he leaves it to Itaru to handles this. Now that Hibiki is here, she shows them her mirror. However she is stumped they see something else. With Namenba interrupting, the duo’s eyes go wild. Not really sure about this sakura light beam destruction called Ouka. Joujin takes an interest in them and will look forward in many years’ time. Tadanaga has arrived at his mother’s castle safely. She would pass away 6 months later.

Episode 6
Fast forward 4 years later, the former shogun, Hidetada Tokugawa strips Tadanaga of his prestige after he went hunting for monkeys as they are believed to be messengers of God. Soon Hidetada dies and is buried in secret while Tadanaga is exiled to a faraway land. A few years later, we see the ninja kids grown up and demonstrating their improved abilities. The girls also run a dango shop. They are torn whether if Joujinshuu would return since Namenba spent years making this place the way it is not because of money but to prepare for them. After Hachirou went missing, the boys cried. But they kept honing their skills believing he would return. That would mean Joujinshuu would return to but even so, there is no guarantee Hachirou would come back. Hachirou is of course still alive and grown up. We see him fighting a priest, Hadaebou. He uses strange techniques but it is all just to test him. He then says he has an urgent request. Tadanaga requests to speak to him because he senses something strange is coming. Rather, a strange castle named Murakumo and looks like it is already here.

Episode 7
Namenba has worked her way and infiltrated the castle as a courtesan. Flashback during a talk with Gorone, there was this intention to make Tadanaga’s heart turn evil. It would be an excuse for the shogun to crush him. If Joujin and the shogun had a connection, it would narrow the possibilities down. Hence the best way for Namenba is to go ask the shogun himself. During the night, she infiltrates through the roof but is met by a few Kurokawa resistance. She didn’t kill them but somebody else did. She drops some liquid into the sleeping shogun’s mouth. When she asks the questions, he doesn’t know about the delaying of Tadanaga or who Joujin is. Namenba escapes when security is alerted. She meets Hadaebou who informs he is an ally before slipping back into her courtesan bed. Hachirou sees Tadanaga. He shows him a picture of Murakumo. He gave money to Joujin to make an imperial carriage for his mom but this is what he made. A castle he has no knowledge of that he paid, what will the people think of him? He reveals his secret that Joujin encouraged him to rebel against Iemitsu. Although his mother’s health improved but it only lasted for 6 months. 2 years ago when he went to inspect his territory, the forest started to move (part of the prophecy that Joujin said that will lead to failure) and all the monkeys started attacking. He killed some of them despite his men’s wish not to. Viewing Joujin as a demon, he wants Hachirou to destroy the castle. Not for him but for the country as well. Hachirou declines and reminds him his ancestors were killed to determine the heir and will not be taken advantage again. With the Five Treasures and Five Flowers died for nothing, they refuse to be sacrificed for the likes of them again. Tadanaga is furious that he has poured out his feelings and yet refused. He orders his men to kill him. Their visors might protect them from his Doujutsu Eyes but Saizou’s floating eyes reflect them so they start killing each other. Hachirou leaves the cowering former Dainagon but the latter still want to kill him for fear his feelings might be known to the shogunate.

Episode 8
Flashback shows Tenkai suggested the use of ninjas to settle the succession feud instead of wasting samurais in duels. Hachirou makes his escape but skilled archers are going to take him out. They can judge his position just by noise and hence avoid looking in his eye. Too bad Shichigen summons the crickets to mess with their hearing and Hachirou kills them all. Next are sharp riflemen. Too bad bullets can’t penetrate Shikibu’s armour. Even the best marksman killed himself. He used bubbles to determine the wind but the bubbles also reflect the Doujutsu Eyes. Damn. The guys confront Hachirou for ignoring them. He only tells them he will be the only one to avenge their fallen comrades. In town, Hachirou meets Gobo who blames him for this entire mess. When he mentions he is Tenkai’s ninja monk and was ordered to get close to Tadanaga, Hachirou will not listen to him any further. But he reminds him about the common enemy they have now: Joujinshuu. He should forget the past and help them. In doing so, he will reveal some of Joujin’s secrets. Hachirou is not interested as he believes he is lying and intending to use them again. Gobo starts talking about a wandering monk who prayed for rain in some province 100 years ago. He is Joujin and besides his other fighters, he has many soldiers called Rain. Utsutsu and Rui sneak close to Murakumo. They notice strange but creepy farmers. When their numbers get larger, they flee but are spotted. They are Rain. Thanks to their voice mimicking, the girls get confused and are separated and lost. I’m not sure if Rui’s butterflies make her fight better because those zombie dudes definitely aren’t attracted to her pheromones. Tadanaga is shocked to see Joujin before him. Hello again. Remember me?

Episode 9
Tadanaga blames his deceit but Joujin explains about the forest never moving. It was just monkeys. As for Tadanaga to become ruler of Japan, he wanted him to become god. Tadanaga doesn’t believe a man can become god. Oh but there is one who almost did: Nobunaga. Utsutsu can now summon the undead to kill her enemies. But when the numbers get too many, Namenba returns in time to save our troubled heroines. Namenba gives Gorone illustrations of Murakumo that Utsutsu sketch to investigate. Flashback shows Namenba met with Tenkai who needed her help to bring down Joujinshuu as Joujin is trying to end the Tokugawa era and return them to civil wars. With the guys returning, they tell about Hachirou’s whereabouts but nothing much can be done for now. Namenba wants them to focus on the current task at hand and to investigate Murakumo before Hachirou returns. Saizou’s eyes are useful to peek but does he need to enter Murakumo’s territory? Do his eyes have some sort of limited range? Anyway inside the room he spies a strange man. He is surprised to see him as Nobunaga. He thought he died at the fire at Honnouji. Oddly, Nobunaga crumbles into sand. Now the ninjas have to escape as the Rain army pursues them. We see Rui going on a killing spree because who wouldn’t be mesmerized by a total hot naked ninja chick.

Episode 10
The huge Kishuu army arrives to take out Murakumo with their cannons. The ninjas think Joujinshuu won’t stand a chance. You think so? Hadaebou drops by to request the help of the Kouga and Iga ninjas but upon learning he works under Tenkai, they turn him away as they don’t want to be used again. He would give time for them to think and hope they would give a favourable answer then. Tadanaga is inside Murakumo and he is worried of the army. Joujin assures him Murakumo’s cannons are much better. Yeah, they’re bigger! And they fire first! In an instant the entire Kishuu army is wiped out! Overkill. Now Tadanaga is buoyed with this and believes he can take over Japan. We see Namenba’s flashback as she was serving Senhime 17 years ago. Her real role is to save her when her family and castle fall. She did her role well during that war which claimed Senhime’s husband’s life. After putting her to safety, Namenba returns to the battlefield to kill any dying soldiers who are still barely alive. Gorone explains their plan to take down Murakumo. Shichigen and Rui will draw Rain away while Utsutsu, Saizou and Shikibu sneak in to take out Murakumo’s cannons. Namenba will supervise it and see if there is a need to retreat should this mission fail. From Utsutsu’s sketch of its structure, he believes its gunpowder is stored directly behind the cannon. Taking one out should lead to a domino of explosions and collapsing the castle. But what if they encounter the Joujinshuu? The last time they fought them (as kids), they almost died. This is where Hadaebou will come in to take care of them. Later Hadaebou relays message to his spy about the ninjas agreeing to take down Murakumo. He also notes if Tadanaga cannot be saved, he shall be killed. Joujin sees a man in his prison and wants him to fulfil his role in exchange for his freedom.

Episode 11
Shikibu’s armour cracks. Looks like Gorone needs to fix it and has Hibiki and Hachisu help out. We are told that there is another reason for his armour. In addition to protect him from attacks, it is to stop him from exploding. His muscles are ever expanding and too strong for his skin to handle. Eventually without restraint it will explode and kill him. Therefore his armour aptly named as saibougu means rhino armour. When they sense intruders, Hachisu goes to deal with them. Low level ones are easy to kill until she meets this mummy monster. His skin is so touch that bullets bounce off. He reveals his target is not Hibiki but her. Shikibu charges in to save her but his brute strength is also tough to kill him. Since Hachisu is slightly injured, Shikibu takes her to run and hide. Inside a cave, Shikibu believes all this is happening because it is punishment for wanting to stay with them. Flashback shows that he was born with this condition. People stayed away from him but the monks took care of him as they believe in Buddha’s teaching of not taking a life. They imbued this principal into Shikibu but sadly he cannot make friends and must wander alone like a rhino. He must not desire anything. Hachisu finds it incredulous for him to let words rule his life. Their job is to protect their leader and if somebody wants to kill their leader, they must kill them first. Shikibu’s muscle starts expanding again and it is giving him a great deal of pain. He won’t let Hachisu treat him but after some pestering, he relents. She uses her bandages to tie his muscles down. Meanwhile Gorone has finished the armour and wants Hibiki to deliver. She stumbles into the mummy dude. Good thing Hachirou is here. His Doujutsu Eyes make him try to kill himself. But Hachirou’s sword can pierce through him like butter? After that, Hachirou disappears. Wow. It’s like he didn’t want Hibiki to see him at all. Mummy guy still lives since the thickness of his muscle has the sword missed his heart. He stumbles into Shikibu and Hachisu who just broke out from their hiding. With renewed hope, Shikibu easily kills him by breaking his neck. Even if he gets punished, it is fine. They’ll suffer together. Wait. What? Is this masochism?

Episode 12
Shichigen and Rui manage to distract some of the Rain. But what they didn’t count on are some of them having rifles. Shichigen got shot in his thigh but they manage to escape after he summons the bugs to jam up the rifles. Who shoots, explodes! I guess it’s time for his flashback. His mother loved a poem about a cricket. He took care of him by herself since young. Shichigen could display some level of controlling insects like his father. One day, a bandit assaulted his mom. Shichigen tries to fight him but he is a very sorry state as a samurai wannabe. His mom could at least decently put up a sword fight with this low level thug. When Shichigen tries to fight back with a rock, in this unfortunate accident and slip up while trying to avoid cutting him, the adults accidentally cut each other, effectively killing themselves. That’s why now Shichigen talks like sacrificing himself to let Rui get away. He thinks he has always he slowed his mom down despite she has some ninja techniques. He vows never to let anyone pay the price of his failure again. Nice timing for Hachirou to pop up again. Too early for Shichigen to die now. He wants the help of his ability. In this darkness and range, his Doujutsu Eyes are ineffective. So Shichigen lights up the bugs to provide light to accompany Hachirou. With this, his Doujutsu Eyes literally turns the quiet night into the biggest explosion fest ever!

Episode 13
After Shichigen gives the clear signal, apparently he didn’t check on the other side or if not Rain has divided themselves into groups as they face off with Utsutsu and Saizou. Saizou suggests using her illusions on him and he can reflect them in his eyes to let others see. But he will be affected too. No. Not him. Only his eyes. Huh? Isn’t that the same? The plan works but Saizou still feels its effects. Utsutsu has medication to heal him. I guess it is more romantic to do indirect kiss than to splash the entire bottle in his mouth. Because Saizou says he has seen too much and hence don’t see things he doesn’t need to see, it’s the opposite for Utsutsu. She can’t see what she wants to see. Flashback shows her father locked her up in the storeroom in the mountains with a mandala of hell. Not sure as training or punishment. Because she wants to see nice dreams, father told her about hell and how dreams and emotions can kill. Such technique can only be learnt in youth. Thus she is forced to master it before next spring otherwise all will be for naught and she will die. When she thinks she has done so and shows him, he is disappointed with this useless technique. Because he cannot kill his own daughter, he burns himself. This is not self-pity. She must live with the fact she killed her father than herself. This is the hell that will forever remain in her head. That emotion will become her technique. So the next time bandits try to rob the place, she uses her illusion to kill them. Saizou fires his cannon. Obviously missed at first try. The ninjas are pretty confident they can get this right in a few shots, eh? But Rui has a plan. She ties the cannonball to her special bullet. Once he fires, she will aim at the cannon hole and the bullet will drag it inside. They succeed. Only… Suddenly it is spit back out! Almost turning them into ninja kebab. This is thanks to Kujaku’s doing of reversing time. Hachirou catches Hadaebou trying to sneak into Murakumo. He asks for his reasons. He is here to find out why Joujin has kidnapped Tadanaga. It is odd since Tadanaga has no power or influence so why would Joujin want or fear him? As he is the grandson of deceased Shogun Ieyasu, he might be Joujin’s perfect puppet. He is to prevent that at all cost. But here comes Joujin and he knows Tenkai has set him up for this job to save or in worst case scenario, kill Tadanaga.

Episode 14
While Hachirou fights Joujin, Hadaebou uses this chance to slither into Murakumo. He tries to reason with Tadanaga to get out or die now but realizes this is just a puppet. The real Tadanaga and other Joujinshuu heard this plan and this infuriates Tadanaga. Clones are sent to fight him but Hadaebou escapes. Saizou does the same cannon-bullet trick but Kujaku again reverses time. Saizou tries to attack Kujaku’s dial but fails. Hachirou loses to Joujin but is spared. He wants him to join his side instead because he wants his and Hibiki’s bloodline. Hachirou is infuriated he intends to use them this far. Hibiki and Shikibu come running to his rescue with the latter uprooting a tree to fend off Joujin. Joujin wants Kujaku to fire the cannon at them. If they die, they weren’t worth it. Hachirou and Hibiki’s eyes meet, causing Ouka. Though it destroys the surroundings, it also protects them. Joujin offers his last chance for them to join him. They disagree and would rather use Ouka on him again and sacrifice their lives. Magoroku whisks Joujin away before he is caught up in it. But Ouka fails and both of them become unconscious. This means they can’t control it properly yet and Joujin will give them time to master it before acquiring them. His plan to let Hadaebou live and return to report to Tenkai is to cause some panic and uproar. Saizou again tries the same trick. Now they’re down to the last cannon. Same time reversing thingy. This time Utsutsu signals to Namenba as she soars in to drop another bomb inside. It seems there is a cooling period for Kujaku to use this ability again. Now Murakumo crumbles.

Episode 15
Although Murakumo is destroyed, what remains of it suddenly disappeared. Shichigen realizes he entered an illusion but when he hears his mom’s voice, he runs to her. He is shocked to have gone back in time to witness those tragic events. Fearing what he sees, he runs away. Though he escapes from the illusion, this is a test and experiment done by the Joujinshuu members as they combine their powers. They note he is now their slave. Hachirou hears rumours of ghosts in the town ahead that the people believe is Nobunaga’s soul. He believes it is Joujin’s plan to revive Nobunaga. Hibiki wakes up and surprised to see Hachirou. He says Joujin is here and there is not enough time to escape. Hence he is going to confess his feelings. Will she always be his? Of course. Forever. Unfortunately this Hachirou is just an illusion so Hibiki now becomes under his spell. She makes her way to Joujin but as Utsutsu and Rui try to stop her, her Mystic Eyes do more than nullify their skill and paralyzes them. Hachirou sees Kujaku. He challenges him and only uses a tree branch, confident he is only overestimating his power. When both use their powers, Hachirou’s Doujutsu Eyes did not work. From what Kujaku explains, what was emitted in his eyes couldn’t overflow time and thus couldn’t reach him. He even dares challenge him again if he thinks he cannot use his time reversal for the moment. They fight again but this time Hachirou uses the shards’ reflection. In this distraction, he snatches the branch from him and deals some serious damage to his face. A new castle pops up.

Episode 16
Murakumo v2 is up and on the move to Edo. Namenba and Hachisu see Hibiki going into it with the Joujinshuu. They want to follow but stopped by Hadaebou who warns them Murakumo is heavily guarded by Rain. Namenba will go back and prepare weapons but will still not trust him. Why is he so persistent with her? He hints he likes her. WTF. Cheesy. Rui and Utsutsu are well enough to help out. Gorone makes some bombs for them. As Murakumo moves at a turtle pace, the ladies place landmines before its path. Hachisu fires to give more oomph to the explosive effect. However it is not enough to stop or even scratch it. Hadaebou again pops up to help. He suggests they help each other. The ladies want Hibiki back and he wants Tadanaga. Namenba thinks he is just using them and makes him promise to find Hibiki if he gets in first. Then he also adds if they find Hibiki first, Namenba will be his woman. Eyes rolling moment. Hadaebou slithers his way into Murakumo but more Rain pop up. Meanwhile Hachirou is being confronted with Itaru. She offers him to take him to Murakumo but he ignores her. Only when she says they have Hibiki did he get alarmed. But he fell into her mirror trap and cannot look away. She is going to make him desire her. Meanwhile Hibiki sees a vision of… Oboro?!

Episode 17
Is she a ghost? Not really sure since Oboro says her regret is falling in love with Gennosuke and that’s when her life fell apart. She’ll never forgive him. Rui and Utsutsu have to wash off blood from their body after killing too much Rain. Rui confesses she loves Utsutsu! WTF?! It seems she is afraid of dying without saying anything. Back to Hachirou, I think he is playing chicken with Itaru because he dares to use it on himself. She stops after Magoroku offers they can take him to Murakumo any time. So he won the game of chicken? But later Shichigen asks Hachirou had he taken up that offer, both leaders would have been Joujin’s prisoners. Was what he said a bluff or real? Shikibu and Saizou find Gorone is gone from his house. But looks like he activated something big. Uhm, a robot?! Flashback shows Namenba wandering after the incident on Senhime’s life. She stumbled into a small nunnery that young Rui was staying at. Both the ladies bond in no time and Rui is not scared to talk about death. One night, bandits killed the nun. The duo are forced to kill to stay alive. Namenba offers Rui to follow her in which she accepts. Hadaebou has snuck into Murakumo and slain all the fake Tadanaga clones. Finally he confronts the real one. Tadanaga believes he is here to kill him because his fate was already decided by the fight between those ninja clans. Hadaebou disagrees and says Iemitsu awaits his return. He has always felt guilty to have been given his position in such a way. He goes on to remind him their childhood days where it was filled with brotherly love.

Episode 18
Neirichiou’s monster pop up. So why must Namenba and Hachisu abandon their ascend and run around being chased. Thanks to Hachirou here, he uses his Doujutsu Eyes. Too bad Neirichiou and the monster closes them. Being one with the realm enables them to ‘see’ without using their eyes. Meanwhile Joujin tells Tadanaga not to fall for Hadaebou’s lies. He is considering listening to Hadaebou since those memories are true so Joujin will have him die. Joujin reveals that it is not him whom they want to make a master out of this castle but Nobunaga. They need Tadanaga’s body who is of royal blood as a vessel. As Hadaebou tries to stave off Magoroku, Joujin mind controls Tadanaga to stab him. Then he wants him to commit seppuku and die like a man. Tadanaga is burning with hatred and the lies he has been fed but too late, he has been decapitated. Hadaebou makes his escape. Shichigen summons the bugs and birds to swarm all over the monster. It worked for a while but the monster now rains lightning. Cue for Gorone to come riding in with his, uhm, Batmobile? Spidermobile? He drops bombs and cannons for the rest to use while firing some missiles at the enemy. Is this his way of going out in style? Is there a message he is supposed to relay to Hachirou only via his death? Something about new sakura only bloom when the old ones die off. After Gorone’s death, some splinter cuts off Neirichiou’s arm, making him retreat. Hachirou announces his true feelings as he finally admits he will be entering Murakumo to save Hibiki even though it is a trap. Uhm, wasn’t that what he wanted? The rest also want him to say the most important thing as a leader. Uhm, to have them die for him? Whatever. So before Murakumo, Hachirou calls out to Joujin to let him in. Invitations from his underling didn’t do the trick so he did it this way?

Episode 19
Kujaku leads Hachirou to Joujin. He claims that Ouka has never been his aim but true world peace and salvation. In order for that, a bit of hell must be shown. Basically, he wants to destroy the world. Yeah, I know. It’s insane. Meanwhile the other ninjas are trying to find their way in. Saizou is using his eyes to look around but is unfortunate to have glanced into Itaru’s mirror. He sees his past. His dad trained him to read numbers of a Japanese poker game. So that when he plays with a bunch of guys, he uses his eyes to cheat and peek at the opponents’ hands. Sure, he is on a winning streak and nobody can prove he is cheating. I suppose nobody looks up at the ceiling for a floating eyeball. Plus, poor Saizou outside in the cold. In the last hand, Saizou messed up and read wrongly, causing dad to lose everything. He was beaten up and with the passing of a Kouga ninja, dad sold him off. Saizou is under the mirror’s spell so in a trance he walks into the oncoming path of Murakumo. Man, one flat Saizou coming up! But how can one guy stop dead the tracks of Murakumo?! But even so, this doesn’t stop Joujin’s plan. Murakumo isn’t a palanquin to carry them to Edo but more like a vessel to revive Nobunaga. Murakumo is like a womb. To facilitate that, he needs Hachirou and Hibiki with powers and exchange love fluids. You heard that right. Love fluids. If they don’t, they have to kill each other because blood works as well as love fluids. Hachirou will choose neither but he has no choice as Hibiki is here to kill him. But she claims she is Oboro. She regrets falling in love with Gennosuke that led to the downfall of her clan. She will kill him as repentance.

Episode 20
Oh Utsutsu, Saizou may have been splattered but at least you’ll have an eyeball to remember him by. Oops… Hachirou is reduced to defending. He contemplates using his Doujutsu Eyes on Hibiki to break Joujin’s spell but it risks killing her. So he puts back his sword and closes his eye. An invitation to let her stab him? She does so but not surprisingly he dodges. At this close range, he opens his eyes. It manages to break her out without killing her. However Hibiki is still Oboro and she thinks Hachirou is Gennosuke and wants to love him. Magoroku then hypnotizes them. Shichigen confronts Itaru to avenge Saizou. Thinking no women could resist his pheromones, unfortunately he became captivated by her mirror. He sees Itaru as his mom’s image. Remember, he was already under that spell since that cave incident. I guess Hachisu is the only one left with a backstory and they have to oddly slot it here. We see her brother suggesting she take up a weapon to master since she is not good with her hands. She chose a gun and under his guidance, she kept practising. One day ninjas attacked them. He was taken hostage and brother told her to shoot him so as not to betray the choice she made. She did so and killed both of them. Hachisu and Shikibu thought they are to stumble into Itaru but is shocked to see Shichigen charging at them. Because Hachisu hesitated, Shichigen sliced both her hands! With Shikibu looking into her mirror, she orders him to take off his armour and explode. Not sure how Hachisu could shoot without her hands or pull the trigger but she did before she dies. The ricochet wounded and blinded Itaru. Shikibu grabs onto Itaru and explodes along with her. If killing won’t work, I guess now it’s time to make love. Because Joujin is hoping to watch them f*ck like beasts!

Episode 21
Utsutsu uses her scarf as a distraction so that Rui can use her pheromones to stun Neirichiou and stab him from the back. After making sure his dead body, they move along. But wait, he pops up before them. His wounds healed because his monster absorbs all the damage. He makes them fight Shichigen. Meanwhile Namenba has collected Gorone’s bombs and is about to return to Murakumo when she is confronted by Hadaebou who is willing to guide her in. His mission might be over but he still wants to see how this ends. Hachirou realizes the power he and Hibiki inherited is to defeat evil people like Joujin. Because of this blood’s burden, the reason Hachirou tried to run away as he couldn’t shoulder it. But he is willing to use Ouka to defeat them. Joujin points out Ouka is a power of Hachirou and Hibiki. Hibiki is now Oboro. In that case, Hachirou will become Gennosuke. So can the love making start? Their eyes start to activate. As Shichigen fights off the ladies, Rui notices the Buddha statue behind him that he thinks is his late mother. She pretends to be his mother in hopes of snapping him out. Neirichiou calls this crap and orders him to kill his slut mom. However Shichigen stabs himself. The statue takes the damage and in turn Neirichiou takes its damage. And then Utsutsu decapitates the old bastard. Rui asks Shichigen if he hated his mom. He never did. Mom also never betrayed him. Just that he was too young and he couldn’t forgive himself for not forgiving her. Uh, what? Oh, he’s dead. Rui crying like a river shouldn’t it activate her pheromones like crazy? But here is this Neirichiou bastard stalling hem again. But hey, shouldn’t his monster be headless? Anyway the monster ambushes the girls but it starts to disappear and Neirichiou realizes it cannot receive more of his damages. So I guess it’s goodbye to this old fart too. Bye. Free fall to his death. We interrupt Ouka as Hadaebou barges in to slash Magoroku.

Episode 22
Yuri fanservice between Rui and Utsutsu before they die? While Kujaku fights Hadaebou (too bad the latter loses), Joujin tries to kill Hachirou. Hibiki freed from Joujin’s spell remembers everything since her kidnapping. With Rui and Utsutsu’s powers distracting Joujin before kicking the bucket, Hibiki is able to use her Mystic Eyes on him. Mad Joujin tries to get back at Hibiki. Kujaku wants to help Joujin but he refuses. Kujaku felt offended and kills him! He claims he is doing this for his real master. During the flames at Honnouji, Nobunaga knew he had lost and asked the opinion of his aide, Ranmaru about that demonic voice that spoke to him. He also wants him to help commit seppuku. He orders Ranmaru to live so his ambitions will not die even though he is unsure when he might return. After Ranmaru escapes the flames, he is met by Joujin whom he believed was that demonic voice that spoke to Nobunaga. He will follow Joujin to make Nobunaga’s dreams come true or pay the price. He calls himself Kujaku because Nobunaga often admires his beauty like a peacock. Kujaku is pleased that Joujin’s blood is enough to revive Nobunaga. Joujin is happy to meet him but not Nobunaga. He squishes the old fart. While Kujaku is happy to see his master, here comes Namenba to relay the message to Hachirou and Hibiki to escape as she has placed bombs everywhere. They escape the crumbling Murakumo but Kujaku uses his time reversing technique. Magoroku then cuts the wires to the bombs. Nobunaga then kills Kujaku! He thinks this scarred dude is an imposter as he is nothing like the beautiful Ranmaru.

Episode 23
Nobunaga thinks Hachirou works for Mitsuhide and tries to kill him. When Hachirou uses his Doujutsu Eyes on him, Nobunaga kills himself. However being dead himself, uhm, he still lives? Oh, the irony. Namenba covers Nobunaga with her veil and places her bombs. But before she could escape, he stabs her. I guess they needed a way to finish her off. Although Nobunaga still survives the explosion, it is now Tadanaga who is speaking (since it is his body Nobunaga is using). Learning that Joujin is dead and Nobunaga is trying to wrest back control, Tadanaga decapitates himself. After Hachirou and Hibiki escape, looks like there is still some life left in Kujaku. He tries to turn back time back to how it was with Nobunaga and shatters his dial. Magoroku won’t have that and tries to seal it in his dimension. After that he confronts Hachirou and Hibiki to explain this place’s space and time is going crazy because their powers clashed. But why does Magoroku still want to fight Hachirou? Revenge. He believes Hachirou also has a reason to fight him for revenge as his comrades are dead. Magoroku’s reason of joining Joujin was to find a place to fight. As the guys clash swords, conveniently Kujaku’s corpse drops in. The distraction allows Hachirou to cut him down. The duo run but they see the ghosts of the dead Kouga guys guiding them to a way out. When they get out, they are shocked to see Edo on fire and Murakumo is destroying the entire place. This could be another timeline because all of Joujinshuu still live and gleefully watching the entire place on fire. However they don’t know who Hachirou and Hibiki is and they think they can use this advantage to defeat them.

Episode 24
Hachirou starts off by fighting Magoroku. But this is just a feint so he could kill Kujaku. Then he targets and finishes off Itaru before using his Doujutsu Eyes on Magoroku. Hibiki nullifies Neirichiou’s monster to allow Hachirou to cut him down. Wow. That’s the easiest revenge ever. Joujin is uninterested in them despite being told they know him from another world. He doesn’t think they will affect him and will use Murakumo the way he wants. The duo then use Ouka. Flashback shows Gorone and Namenba explaining how their clash of emotions caused Ouka and because it is too great, hence they can’t control the madness. But they said it had a final form. You mean what we have saw wasn’t its final form???!!! And so we see Ouka’s final form! Wait a minute. Didn’t we see this destruction before? I guess the trail destruction of destruction is even bigger. Hachirou mercilessly kills Joujin. Is it over? Hachirou fears of using Ouka and hence they cannot be together. Oh God. Not this crap again. However before he could blind himself, Hibiki uses her Mystic Eyes on him, steals his sword and blinds herself. Because of that, now Hachirou will never leave her! What a price to pay for a girl to get his man to stay by her side forever. Then plot twist! Joujin still lives! It seems he has Tenzen’s ability. That alien thingy that eats all wounds. Although he has no business with them, he thinks they might still get in his way. Better be safe than sorry. As he fights Hachirou, he could deduce why his Doujutsu Eyes couldn’t work on him. Yeah, it’s like as though his other counterpart told him about it. Because Hibiki is calling out to Hachirou and looking for him (can she not hear them fighting?), Joujin targets her and Hachirou gets slashed trying to protect her. It might seem like a desperate attempt for Hachirou to mock his ability and all but it is to get that alien to be mad so that the Doujutsu Eyes make the alien go crazy and kills Joujin by making the monk tear his own heart out! And that’s that.

In the aftermath, Iemitsu speaks to Tenkai about who the f*ck put Tadanaga up this this sh*t. He knows that their succession was decided by that ninja game and understands he would hate him. Tenkai replies it was all for the glory of the Tokugawa. We see Tadanaga being decapitated as punishment but as narrated it could just be for show as the real Tadanaga had already died. More confusion because our dead ninja comrades are now reincarnated as normal kids and having a peaceful time. I want to say they are being watched over by Hibiki but she’s blind… Yeah, she looks like an elderly mom now. And then another plot twist! Joujin shows up! Can this bastard die already?! Oh, Tenzen’s ability again. So what now, Joujin? Hachirou is gone (I thought he promised to stay by her side forever?) and Ouka cannot be used. But there is one thing left that Hibiki is useful for. OMFG! THIS OLD FART WANTS TO RAPE HER????!!!! I guess when you’ve lost so much, you’d do anything just to get back. Before they can combine love fluids (he said blood but I want to still use that ‘awesome’ term his other counterpart said), f*cking plot twist we never see coming! Because Hachirou whizzes out from Hibiki like a ghost to cut him and the alien down for good before disappearing into the wind. WTF????!!!!! And poor Hibiki couldn’t witness all that f*ckery with her eyes. Yeah, maybe it’s better that way. And Hadaebou continues to wander as a monk on this lovely day. My, such a lovely day indeed.

Bah-Silly! Oh-Gawd Ninja Trolls
WTF?! WHAT THE F*CK?! WHAT THE FFFFFUUUUUUU???????!!!!!! I was already having this disappointed feeling while watching the series and that final WTF episode just ramps everything up! It is so bizarre and weird that it feels like as though the producers knew we were going to criticize this sh*t so they pull off all the unimaginable f*ckery they could think off just to screw with us and end the series. From another world to some reincarnation and rape scene, oh God, it’s just awful. It left me with so many questions like if Hachirou has become a ghost and is now travelling through all the dimensions to cut down Joujin and his alien compadre, hence that super magical BS we get. Or did he combine as one with Hibiki and now resides inside her? Too bad Joujin, can’t come inside her when she already has a man literally INSIDE of her! Haha! Therefore the tradition of the lovers’ tragedy continues but it is so bad that it seeped into the series and brought it down. Good riddance it ended. I don’t know if I could take it anymore had they had another additional extra episode. I might laugh myself to death in shocking disappointment! Thank goodness I won’t see Skywalker Hachirou in the futuristic sci-fi Star Wars future where he cuts down horny Darth Vader Joujin with his lightsaber katana to save Princess Leia Hibiki on Death Star Murakumo. Yikes! Thank heavens it isn’t so!

Overall, this second season feels like a disappointment (even more so when you consider the final episode) and doesn’t live up to the greatness of the original one. Even if I do not remember much of the first season, by the end of this second season I could tell it was definitely not better. Of course when the series first started, it was interesting as it introduces a new bunch of characters and the plot was a bit intriguing. At least for me. So for the first initial episodes, it did lived up to my expectations and hopes that this series was going to be great. I was really looking forward to the next episode. But after a while at halfway point, I could almost instantly feel that enthusiasm of mine waned. At that point I knew something was wrong and my guts once more alarming me that it is going to be downhill from here. I was hoping it was wrong but apparently my guts know me more than myself. Heh.

So one of the biggest fails that had my big enthusiasm fading was the flow of the story. More accurately the appearance of Murakumo. Could you believe it that the rest of the entire second half of the series is about trying to stop Murakumo and everything that happened took place near or inside that damn moving castle? I know, basically it is rescue Hibiki thingy and that made it even more boring as the drama drags on. Murakumo appearing for the first time was okay. It was intriguing as well as dreadful. But even so they spent quite a few episodes trying to take it down. Thought I have seen the last of that castle and might move on to something new, damn v2 of that castle is up and running again. They should have named this sequel, Basilisk: The Murakumo Odyssey. Maybe not. Sounds to sci-fi.

Okay, I might forgive viewers who watched the first season to ask, why isn’t anybody dead yet or when the killings are going to start. That was what most of us remember the series and that is why it was great in the first place. It was a period anime with a battle-to-the-death style action. Even if they got our tongues wagging with the quick elimination of the Five Treasures and Five Flowers, after that it becomes a freaking dry spell. I remember in the first season we had some characters dying off in the early episodes that I was worried if there were enough characters to be killed at the end! But here, the kept us watching with all the draggy drama and left it real late to pick off the characters one by one. By that point, I felt that their deaths weren’t satisfying and they were just doing it because they had to. Death by obligation. I supposed Gorone’s flashy death was to get the ball rolling, eh? Yeah, it would be a big disappointment if the whole gang lives on in the end because we are already expecting as well as told how these ninjas’ lives are tragic. No happy ending for all of you. No siree.

A factor that contributes to the draggy drama and how it could last 2 dozen episodes is because I noticed that some of the scenes have some long pause in between them. I believe it is to add some dramatic effect because the series would have been a little shorter if it cut out those scenes. But I suppose it would be hard to imagine if this series was really fast paced. Even in between the action scenes, you could see this pause. The camera angles showing the faces of the characters facing off. You know, it makes you wonder if they really have time to pause like this in battle. I wonder if time somewhat flows in this slo-mo style then or Kujaku really has some sort of control of it. Nah. I’ll stick to that dramatic effect excuse that ultimately either bores you or start ticking you off.

Another issue about this second season being a failure is the characters themselves. They fail to make an impact. As I don’t even remember the first season much, I do remember that there was some decent focus on Gennosuke and Oboro that really made you feel pity on their circumstances, hence the Japanese version and take of Romeo and Juliet. However Hachirou and Hibiki fail to leave any of that impression and were just boring and disappointing. The irony is that both pairs were separated from each other for quite some time due to circumstances but the former still manages to leave a tragic and everlasting impact on us even though it has been over 10 years. So when this season tries to give Hachirou and Hibiki’s comrades some back story and flashback of their past, it felt more like an excuse to fill up the space and running time. The original Basilisk didn’t have that (because having back stories on 20 characters will take up more time than just 6) but it still manages to work because of how the characters manage to intertwine with the plot. So in this case it wasn’t the individual characters but all of them or at least the main ones as a group.

Here, you could say that Hachirou and Hibiki lacks any back story compared to their comrades. Most probably they want to keep it a mystery. They look so much like Gennosuke and Oboro but you don’t even know if they are their kids. Speaking of which, it was just freaking mind boggling how Gennosuke and Oboro had children after their deaths. I hope there isn’t a ninja technique that could extract sperms and eggs and that watch children grown via incubation. Or a technique that has recently deceased people f*ck each other and the child in the womb somehow kept alive for 9 months. That sounds like horror and too much for this period series. But we’ll never know. So it feels like this part is kept in the dark so we can just have a sequel.

Hachirou takes half of the blame as one of the biggest disappointing characters of the series. Annoying if I should add. Ever since young, this kid has been somewhat moody. Like as though he is born with that frown. What makes Hachirou an irritating character is his penchant of running away. More accurately, running away from responsibility. He thinks by not getting his comrades involved, he can solve the problem. How long has he been away? Did that solve anything? And that b*tching of how the ninjas won’t be used and toyed around anymore. WTF. You think it was fine when he spew that responsibility crap when he was young. Makes him sound so mature. Oh, so grown up. Then you realize he knows nothing as a kid. He’s still a kid despite being the leader of Kouga. This carries over well into his teen and he is still wandering around. Him being able to show up when his comrades are in a pinch shows he hasn’t strayed far. I would prefer to give his comrades more credit in trying to handle the situation than Hachirou who just pop up at some moments and use his oh-so-amazing Doujutsu Eyes for ultimate victory.

Hibiki is the other half who is disappointing. Overall, I find her the most useless character. With only her Mystic Eyes to boot as her specialty, she spends half of the season being a captive and hence being turned into a damsel in distress. Not like she did anything (not saying Hachirou did any better but at least he could fight) but that one time against Joujin was supposed to be it? Not impressed. It doesn’t help that even after breaking free from Joujin’s spell, she remains to be a useless damsel. It might sound cliché that Hachirou is always protecting her but I guess during that period, men were manlier in those days compared to now. Yeah… Therefore it is no surprise that Hachirou would instinctively take the lead to protect Hibiki. But it is sad that from the way this turns out, Hibiki is unfortunately reduced to a useless state. Even more so after she blinds herself thinking it would seal her Mystic Eyes forever.

Making it worse that there is literally no chemistry between them, let alone any sort of romance. As said, the original was a Japanese version of the tragic Shakespearean work and it was heart breaking to see them fight each other despite their love for each other just because they are on differing sides. But here because of Hachirou trying to be so mature, he leaves the place and leaves poor Hibiki all alone. She does pine for him but even during his missing years, it’s not like she sorely misses him. Is this what you call believe in him? I don’t think so. Even when they troll us of having sex before Joujin, I knew it just wouldn’t work out. I mean, after being away from each other and suddenly we’re going to see them make out? Not likely. Therefore Hachirou-Hibiki pair pales in comparison to Gennosuke-Oboro romance. What a let-down. And there was this potential of pairing up the Kouga-Iga ninjas as well. Saizou-Utsutsu, Shikibu-Hachisu and Shichigen-Rui. At one point even hinting a possible lesbianism between Rui and Utsutsu. Oh well, their duties as ninjas are more important than anything else. Don’t even mention that Hadaebou’s crush on Namenba. If I was her, I would spit on his face and tell him to GTFO.

Gorone and Namenba as the mentors also somewhat fail. Gorone is portrayed as some genius who tweaks the abilities of the young ninjas while Namenba looks after them although she always had this tone in her voice that to me says I-wish-I-wasn’t-here-doing-this. Yeah, she sounds lethargic and sluggish. Maybe it’s her but as a female ninja who has been exposed to dangerous missions, I would have expected her to sound better. Saizou, Shikibu, Shichigen, Rui, Utsutsu and Hachisu make better character than Hachirou and Hibiki not because of their short single episode flashbacks. Their loyalty after all these years as well as tackling the problems without their leaders involved (at first) make them more memorable and admirable. Too bad ultimately they are just pawns to be sacrificed as the plot commands them to be. Because it serves as a reminder what this series was supposed to be.

As for the antagonists in Joujinshuu, they feel lacking and one-dimensional too. Basically destroy the world type even though the excuse is to save mankind. Unlike the original Basilisk you had both sides fighting each other and you can’t tell who the good or bad are. Hence you are confused of which side to support. Even the real antagonist in the original (the real Tenzen) had more character than Joujin if I should say. Yeah, they even tried to sully Joujin’s name by making him rape Hibiki. Sighs… Can they get any lower? The members of Joujinshuu feel like a freak circus in town and just because they killed the Five Treasures and Five Flowers, we are under impression that they are so great and undefeatable. Because there is a clear indication of who is on the good side and who is on the bad, hence these clowns are not on anybody’s list of support. You won’t even feel for Kujaku/Ranmaru’s story. You just wish this tranny would just die. Also, the Joujinshuu mostly feel like they’re standing around unless the plot calls for them to do something. Puppets? Okay. They’re doing a great job as that. I wanted to call Tadanaga as annoying as Hachirou and Hibiki but ultimately I figure that since he led a sheltered life as a lord, I suppose it is only expected that he wants to get something out of this but ultimately got lost and used. Perhaps he did the right thing that other characters (like Shichigen) should have done: Kill himself. Damn.

As action sequences are important for the namesake of this series, I believe this one also doesn’t live up to standards. Sure, the initial episodes showing them as kids look interesting because they have a totally new set of strange abilities compared to its predecessor. A little bit more interesting when they grow up as they have honed and expand their powers a little. But ultimately when using them in battle, it is just sparingly and not quite satisfying. You see, how should I describe this, during fighting sequences, the action somewhat feels rather ‘light’. You know, when the ninjas cut through their opponents, as a viewer you don’t really feel the intensity of the cut. I’m not saying you should feel being cut down. But rather it feels effortless when they strike down their enemies. Like when they fight Rain, it feels like there needs to be action because it needs to. Even the final battles were like, okay, that was easy. That kind of feeling. In a way, their deaths don’t really hit you and hence why I said you don’t really feel like supporting the characters. I’m sure that having lots of gushing blood won’t do it any good or hide the fact that the fights are just mediocre.

Also, Ouka also feels disappointing despite it is part of the title. So big gust of destruction? Is it its final form? So they are afraid of being together in fear of activating it, causing some damage and in turn the guilt and trauma of hurting others just because they couldn’t control it. Sounds more like BS than anything. In the end, I wouldn’t really consider Ouka as the ultimate or final trump card. Just a convenient plot device whenever it is deemed necessary. I mean, it wasn’t that important. If the main antagonist like Joujin doesn’t even want it, well, that should say a lot about the covet factor of this technique.

Art and animation also feel mediocre and in fact inferior to the original. Even if the predecessor was like a decade ago, at least the art style matches and gives the series’ period. It might not be perfect and perhaps that inadvertently became a standard when we tried to compare to the sequel that just feels a bit cartoonish. I know the ninjas are teens but they still have the kiddie look and feel. Even if adults like Gorone and Namenba, compared to the original you can tell the original has the characters looking more mature even though some of them look just freaking weird (yeah, there was a really fat rubber guy, a snake guy, a monkey moustache guy and octopus head old fart, if you remember them). They look freaky alright. But this one, even the freakiest, Neirichiou looks more comical and came out from some comic than anything frightening.

Also I want to point out something about some of the characters especially the ‘good looking’ ones. Do you notice that these characters all have pretty eyelashes?! The girls have them so I suppose they are alright. Yeah, it really ramps up their cuteness and feminine side. Don’t need Rui’s pheromones for me to drool over them ;p. But the guys, having this feature sometimes make them look girly! I kid you not. Just take a look at Hachirou, Tadanaga, Kujaku and Shichigen. Is it that pretty guys must have such eyelashes? Because ‘ugly’ dudes like Saizou, Shikibu and Joujin sure have ‘scary’ eyes. I guess some in between like Magoroku has scary eyes too and that’s why he always keeps them closed.

For the character designs, having Hachirou and Hibiki looking so much like their predecessors I wonder if it is a lazy effort. Designing them differently might not be better since this is a sequel and we need the main characters to have some similarity. So similar that they could have just be reincarnations of them. But is it me that Hibiki looks a bit chubby? No offense but perhaps the video put a few pounds on her. I’m pretty sure it’s not the clothes she wear either. And why does Hachirou have dots on his forehead? Is he some sort of god? Yeah, god of running away from his destiny, that is. Haha! Oops. This sequel was done by Seven Arcs Pictures who did Trinity Seven, Mushibugyou and Saredo Tsumibito Wa Ryuu To Odoru. The original was done by Gonzo. Perhaps that is why the difference in quality?

With a completely new casts, I only recognized Ayane Sakura as Utsutsu (personally, she sounds unimpressive like as though she didn’t want to do this role), Shinichiro Miki as Gorone and Cho as Geiin. However the most surprising one is Yui Horie as Itaru! OMG! You mean that’s her?! I never would have guessed! I thought she came back and then laid low again. I sure didn’t expect her as she wasn’t in her usual that I would pick up right away. Another shocking one is Saori Hayami as Hachisu. OMG! You mean that’s her?! I never would have guessed. I sure didn’t expect her as she wasn’t in her usual that I would pick up right away. Damn, I just repeated myself. Maybe I was so disappointed with this series that I couldn’t detect them. Even so, I should have during my initial enthusiastic period.

The other casts are Tasuku Hatanaka as Hachirou (Kaminari in Boku No Hero Academia), Inori Minase as Hibiki (Hestia in DanMachi), Katsuhiro Tokuishi as Saizou (Hanzou in Hagane Orchestra), Fukushi Ochiai as Shikibu (Moguzo in Hai To Gensou No Grimgar), Mitsuhiro Ichiki as Shichigen (Kazuya in Freezing), Reina Ueda as Rui (Mira in Dimension W), Kaori Nazuka as Namenba (Tsukasa in Amagami SS), Takaya Hashi as Joujin (Normandy in Princess Principal), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Kujaku (Tsukumo in Nanbaka), Hiroshi Tsuchida as Magoroku (Daikichi in Usagi Drop), Umegi Sasaki as Neirichiou, Jin Yamanoi as Tadanaga (Kouda in 3-gatsu No Lion) and Kenji Hamada as Hadaebou (Jouji in Paradise Kiss).

The opening theme is Ouka Ninpouchou by Onmyoza. The same band who sang the opener for the first season. Still around? Okay, my bad. Anyway, I have this feeling that it tries to sound epic as the first season and also copy a bit of its style but somehow it doesn’t live up to that standard. Feels like another generic anime rock music. Also, Nana Mizuki who voiced Oboro and had a cameo here, sings the ending themes, Hot Blood and Suiren. Again, I still find them not as superior to Wild Eyes (still considered as my favourite song in this series) and Hime Murasaki. Hot Blood sounds like another generic rock music although Suiren fares slightly better with its dramatic style. Either way, both songs continue to portray the great vocals of Nana Mizuki and she’s still sounding fine after all these years.

Overall, at times I felt like wanting to obtain Kujaku’s time reversing power to go back in time so that I don’t have to watch this mediocre sequel that I am still reeling from disappointment. To be fair, it is not terrible but I expected better since it came from a well done nostalgic anime but failed to live up to it. But then again, I don’t need Kujaku’s power because in no time I will soon forget it when I watch more disappointing animes in the future! Haha! Is that a good sign? Okay, to be a bit more positive, I’m sure I will watch greater animes to erase this disappointment. It is a terrible shame that this sequel stained the greatness of the original but thanks to that, it only serves to cement even further how great the predecessor was. I really wanted to like this series seeing that I am not really a fan of period series but I guess it was not meant to be. Maybe Joujin was somewhat right along the lines of wanting to bring hell on Earth just to save mankind. Because hell I know that Hachirou and Hibiki couldn’t even f*ck each other to save their clan. Haha! Looks like we won’t toy with you Kouga and Iga guys ever again.

Wild Eyes

June 27, 2008

  Akai shizuku nijimu kuchibiru ni,
  Fuwari nageki no kiri furete yuku,
  Sora ni ukabu kagami utsukushiku,
  Haruka yoru no kanata terashiteru
 
Well well. Somehow I have a hard time trying to understand what this song, Wild Eyes, is all about. This song is the ending theme for the tragic love story anime, Basilisk. Partly a reason why I can’t understand is because my Japanese still isn’t that good and another reason is that even though I looked up at the translated lyrics, it still boggles my mind. Probably there are some hidden meanings to the lyrics. Yup, the words of the lyrics isn’t your typical simple love song.
 
  Furisosogu amata no hoshi ni omoi hasete,
  Shimeyaka ni fukai kizu na no ito,
  Tsuyoku tsuyoku musubu
 
If I just accept the words as they are then maybe I won’t have so much headache of trying to understand what it means. Because of so, it’s like I’m not even know what I’m singing. As though the words are just words. Nothing more than that. Till this day, I’m still really unsure. The lyrics include describing abstractly the scenaries and atmospheres as the singer experiences them through some abstract emotions of hers. I think.
 
  Ruri iro ni kagayaku kira no hitomi,
  Yami yori no tsukai ni tozasarete mo,
  Tsunaida yume no hashi dare mo ubae nai kara,
  Mugen no asu utsushite
 
Speaking of which, this song has got no karaoke version! Oh no. And I thought at least anime songs sung by Nana Mizuki should all have a karaoke version. You know what that means, a duet with Nana Mizuki herself. It could’ve been another one of those easy-to-sing songs on my list because there isn’t any long sustaining high pitch lines. What’s more, there aren’t any background vocals so it could mean that this song is best sung with amazing and reasonably powerful vocals. What are the chances with me? But I guess it’s better than long sustaining high-pitch lines.
 
  Asai nemuri tsudzuku reimei ni,
  Hitori inori ni komete ori ageru,
  Namida aoi kumo ni kizamarete,
  Itoshii anata no kage oikakeru
 
This song is purely a rock song and it fit quites nicely for the setting of the anime. You can guess that it’s such a song with the wild playing of the synthesizers as its opening. The guitaring itself too has quite some heavy rock playing in it especially the solo part. Accompanied with heavy bass and drum beats, it may get a little loud at certain parts. So if you wanna feel what it’s like to attend a noisy rock concert, turn up the volume and dance like in a trance, shouting and screaming while you’re at it. Nope, I haven’t done it myself. But it’s good to know this song does have such potential.
 
  Nikushimi no honoo uzumaku kono chijou de,
  Kegare naki kokoro tsuranuiteku,
  Atsuki atsuki chikai
 
Since the lyrics do not generally repeat itself, I find myself hard to remember them all even after singing (or even listening) several times. Given that as mentioned earlier on, I don’t understand the words to this song. Maybe just the first few lines of the chorus. Ah well, better be happy with what I have. Say, Nana Mizuki, fancy having another go of this number with me?
 
  Ruri iro ni kagayaku kira no hitomi,
  Yami yori no tsukai ni tozasarete mo,
  Tsunaida yume no hashi yuukyuu ni tsudzuri yuku,
  Kanderu kiseki kitto…
 
Basilisk

Basilisk

September 15, 2007

Previously, I wasn’t really interested in watching Basilisk when it was released in year 2005. But when the local tv station decided to air the 4th anime to be in original Japanese audio with Malay subtitles, somehow I got all excited to watch it and was looking forward with great anticipation. Partly I think it’s because of the preview that was done on the series before it was aired. Yeah, something like how everybody kills each other which attracted me. Okay, so I may sound like a blood thirsty sadist but there’re some cool fighting action sequence here.
 
Albeit not much and to my little disappointment in the sense that the action part is short, nevertheless it’s still quite awesome seeing the characters fight using their ninpou (special ninja abilities). But when they’re not fighting, there’s gonna be lots of drama. It may sound boring at first but it helps in the development of the storyline and ultimately the characters. Besides, this is a tragic love story.
 
Based on the novel of the same name, the anime version has 24 episodes and there are some historical elements in it as well. Like the shogun in this anime do really exists at that time but of course do not really play such a role like this. This means that it isn’t totally made up.
 
The basic premise of the story is between 2 feuding ninja clans, the Kouga Manjidani and Iga Tsubagakure clan. For whatever reasons, they have been fighting each other with deep hatred with one another for over 400 years. Only with a hard fought pact by Hattori Hanzo the 1st, the shogun at that time, managed to make forge a cease fire peace treaty between both sides, though the peace is still uneasy. Why didn’t they just break the pact and secretly kill each other. Well, I suppose all ninjas have their honour thingy and won’t lose their dignity through such cowardice. But even so, their hatred for each other never disappeared.
 
There are certain points in the anime which I did not understand at first, so I had to do a lot of reading up before and after an episode is aired. In a way, it helps me understand things a lot better why a certain event turned out like that or why a particular character is like this. Or else I’m really really lost.
 
So as seen in the very start of episode 1, viewers are treated to an awsome exhibition match between Kouga’s Shogen Kazamachi and Iga’s Yashamaru at Sunpu. The former being the ‘Spider-man’ with spider like limbs (so he has only a pair of hands and legs not 8) and shoots sticky phlegm-like substance which resembles those that make a spider’s web. The latter’s ninpou being able to use and control fine strands of hair which in turn looks like a deadly wire weapon. It seems that the retired shogun, Ieyasu, who seems to have some horrible looking cancer growing goiter on his neck, accompanied with Hattori Hanzo the 4th, Yagyu Munenori, Kouga’s Danjo and Iga’s Ogen, are watching the match.
 
The catch is, Ieyasu, even though he’s retired, still has power to influence things and currently there is a problem arising of who should succeed as the next shogun. Between the grandsons of the current shogun, Takechiyo or Kunichiyo, the succession dispute is throwing the shogunate into disaray and on the verge of tearing itself apart. At first I thought that Hattori and Yagyu guy are the grandsons but found out it isn’t so and those grandchildren are still little toddlers. Then some flashback of a young and handsome/beautiful Danjo and Ogen, whom I initially thought it was their respective grandchildren, Gennosuke and Oboro. Danjo’s really got thick black eyebrows. It seems Danjo and Ogen were both very much in love with each other and plans to wed each other. But a surprise attack on Iga left Ogen to think otherwise. No matter how much Danjo tried to tell her that he’s against it all, eventually the 2 lovers became bitter enemies and clash their swords. It’s quite cool to see Danjo throwing his poison needles and slashing his enemies with his sword. Shortly after that, the ceasefire pact was made.
 
Back in current time, after witnessing the battle and stopping them short before they really kill themselves, Ieyasu then decides to dissolve the pact (after permissions from Danjo and Ogen, and since Hattori Hanzo the 4th’s loyalty to Ieyasu, he too gives the green light for the pact to be dissolved even though he’s not too fond of the idea) and let 1 clan represent 1 grandson, namely Kunichiyo is represented by Kouga and Takechiyo by Iga. In addition, Ieyasu’s got this idea from some political advisor called Tenkai who has very very long eyebrows. They’re both handed a scroll with a list of 20 warriors, 10 from each side, to face off in a death duel whereby the last clan standing would not only determine the heir to the shogun but that winning clan will also gain the favour of the shogun for the next 1000 years. Wow that’s a good deal. Plus, it’s a good excuse now to take each other out. So off Shogen and Yashamaru goes to bring the scroll back to their clan village. But as Yashamaru goes off, unknown to him, Danjo starts the deadly game by stealing Iga’s scroll. Which means, Yashamaru won’t have the scroll when he gets back.
 
As the 2 messenger boys head off, Danjo and Ogen are alone and are talking to themselves, reminiscing the good ol’ days as Danjo asks if Ogen knows who the Kouga 10 with Ogen asking likewise. Danjo then quips it’s more like Iga 9 as he quickly stabs Ogen with his poison needle in her throat. Ouch! Violent. While Ogen lies bleeding on the ground, a happy Danjo then takes out the scroll he had just stolen and crosses off Ogen’s name with her blood. But then Ogen’s hawk came swooping down, distracting Danjo. With her last ounce of strength, Ogen took the opportunity to take out that needle imbeded in her throat and stabbed Danjo in the heart. One bad deed deserves another. After Ogen crosses off Danjo’s name from the scroll, her hawk then took the scroll back and off it flies. In the end, Danjo and Ogen lay in each other arms as their bodies flow through the river. Yeah, I guess, those 2 still love each other in the end. Wow. Already at the end of the 1st episode, it’s 2 down already. This is getting interesting. So if you want to know who has really died, at the beginning of each episode, you’ll see that scroll with the names of warriors from both sides and those with their names crossed out in blood red have moved on the next world. So to save time, the names mentioned from Kouga or Iga will be those under the list unless mentioned otherwise.
 
Thus in episode 2, it seems history is repeating itself in the sense that Gennosuke of Kouga and Oboro of Iga, both leaders of their respective clans, are having a secret tryst with each other in the woods. Okay, maybe not so secret. They really love each other and they plan to marry in order to diffuse the tension between their clans. If only their clan members are like them. Gennosuke still thinks that there’s hope for the 2 clans to live peacefully together. At the same time, Kouga’s fat guy Jousuke Udono, spots Ogen’s hawk with a scroll and proceeds to attack it. He succeeds in taking the scroll but Iga’s Rousai Azuki spots him and demands he hand over Iga’s property. Before you know it, those 2 battle it out with their ninpou. As one might have guessed it, Jousuke’s fat rubbery body allows him to ‘bounce’ and repel most attacks while Rousai reminds you of Dhalsim of Street Fighter fame because he can extend his arms and legs real long during his attacks. Jousuke escapes with the scroll with Rousai giving chase.
 
Meanwhile our lovebirds accidentally runs into 4 of Iga’s clan members, Akeginu, Hotarubi, Nenki and Jingoro, who’re worried about Ogen and are searching for her. Of course they’re not really too fond of Gennosuke there when Jousuke arrives tumbling and rolling. Rousai soon follows and tells his members not to let that fatty get away. Gentleman Gennosuke tells Jousuke to give back Iga’s what’s theirs as Jousuke does. The Iga members (except Oboro) then have a look at the scroll themselves and are shocked to see its contents. They later report and show this scroll back to another Iga member, Tenzen Yakushiji, who seems happy about it and has a plan of his own. Yup, Tenzen is your typical evil scheming guy and the real person who’s wielding power and calling the shots in the Iga clan instead of Oboro, who seems more gentle and lenient. Yes, Tenzen’s the real puppet master. Tenzen decides to intercept Shogen so that Iga could get a head start. At the same time as not to arouse the suspicion of Gennosuke and Oboro, Akeginu decides to accompany them along with Jousuke back to Iga village. I suppose that perverted Jousuke couldn’t resist following them back to Iga because Akeginu’s being a little flirty with him. However, Gennosuke remains suspicious though he’s not jumping the gun yet.
 
Thus in episode 3 while Gennosuke and the rest arrive at the gates of Iga and being greeted by Jingoro, Tenzen and the rest, including another Iga member, Koshiro Chikuma, hunts down Shogen. But back at Kouga, the others are worried about Danjo and one of them, Jubei Jimushi, some sort of a fortune teller of the clan decides to go look for him. So Tenzen and co found the carriage that Jubei’s riding in and killed those subordinates of his! Their heads sliced into half! THe Igas decide to call Jubei out but slashed open the carriage only to their surprise to find a limbless Jubei! Yup, this guy has no limbs. Tenzen thinks he can handle him himself and orders the rest to continue hunting Shogen. After they’re gone, Tenzen as usual says some of his insulting remarks before preparing himself to strike Jubei. But before he knows it, Jubei fishes out a short dagger in his throat and stabs Tenzen in the heart in his surprise attack. With that over, Jubei then using his special body scales, crawls away. Hmmm… Now that’s really fast.
 
At the same time, Rousai, Nenki, Hotarubi and Koshiro have found Shogen and soon another battle begins. So just a brief mention about the other Iga’s ninpou powers. Nenki is the monkeyman of the clan and probably the lost link between man and ape (just kidding). He’s got so much hair covering all over his body so much so that he can actually control and use them like additional limbs (not kidding). Hotarubi, in addition to her albino snake as her bodyguard, she can summon pink glowing butterflies to blind her opponents or in some cases, make their escape. Koshiro on the other hand uses a kama, a mini hand scythe but his real ninpou is the ability to create little destructive tornados with his breath. Hmm… The reason why Shogen glued his mouth when the match begins. Shogen manages to trap the 3 guys in his sticky web and is going to kill them slowly 1 by 1. Hotarubi who’s not entangled summons her butterflies to distract Shogen. With that, Nenki uses his hair to throw Koshiro’s kama right into Shogen’s forehead. But before Shogen collapses, he throws his scroll to Jubei, who seems to be hiding behind the bushes, leaps out and grabs the scroll with his mouth. The guys break free from the web and gave chase to Jubei while Hotarubi decides to kill Shogen. Before she does that, she’s asking him about Yashamaru and what he has done to him. Yup, Hotarubi and Yashamaru are lovers as you’ll find out later in the series. But Shogen replies by spitting phelgm at her. This pisses her off as she stabs Shogen several times in a rage.
 
How can something with no limbs travel and outpace those who has? Well, Jubei seems to be outrunning those guys when to his surprise saw Tenzen standing right in front of him. You thought he’s dead, right? Well, Tenzen’s ninpou is a super regenerative ability, meaning he can’t really die that easily. So Jubei’s in a pinch because Tenzen mocks him that he can’t use his secret throat dagger attack with that scroll in his mouth. Jubei decides to take a chance as he swiftly drops the scroll and surges at Tenzen. But Tenzen already anticipated that as he draws his sword and slices Jubei into 2! Eww! Tenzen then regroups with the rest and burns Kouga’s scroll before crossing out Jubei and Shogen’s name from the list. Another 2 down and looks like Iga’s in the lead.
 
Gennosuke is still at Iga in episode 4. Akeginu and Jingoro try their best not to arouse any suspicion. Oboro’s quite cute when she’s looking all blur and naive. Really. Gennosuke has a flute as he plays it while Oboro dances during dinner with the other Iga members, who’re looking at Gennosuke with an uneasy stare. Later that night, Jingoro decides to kill Gennosuke while Akeginu does with Jousuke. How is Jingoro gonna do it? His ninpou is that he’s able to turn into liquid form once he comes in contact with salt. This is quite useful especially for sneak and stealth attacks. However, if he’s to maintain in this form, he’ll be vulnerable to dehydration. But don’t you think Jingoro looks like a leper victim? Anyway, Gennosuke can sense someone with great hatred in him and ‘lectures’ Jingoro who’s hiding in the shadows of the attic. Meanwhile Akeginu goes to some storeroom supposedly where Jousuke’s sleeping but that fat guy seems to be able to squeeze out from just about any hole big or small. Akeginu’s surprised to find Jousuke waiting outside and before you know it, the both of them engage in ninpou battle. I suppose Jousuke’s a little naughty because if he wins, he gets to sleep with Akeginu. So what’s Akeginu’s ninpou? This beautiful lady can squirt and control blood out from her pores and create a blood like mist during her battles. Yeah, it’s real bloody there. Luckily Oboro spots them and stops them with Jousuke giving and covering their act by saying how he enraged her modesty which caused her to get upset. Luckily Oboro believed him.
 
Back at Gennosuke’s room before Jingoro could make his move, Oboro had spot a trail from the salt storeroom and fears the worse as she runs to find him. When Oboro spots him, she uses her ninpou, Mystic Eyes, which is able to nullify any sort of ninpou on Jingoro, leaving him in a semi-liquid state. Though Oboro posses minimal fighting skills, these eyes of hers are enough to make her enemies and allies fear her. As punishment, Oboro orders Akeginu not to help Jingoro as he crawls to a nearby lake so that he can return to his normal state. Jousuke is cleaning himself up there when he spots Jingoro. Jousuke then decides to torment Jingoro by holding him in his hands while telling him that he’ll give him water if he spill the beans on what’s going on. But Jousuke got careless as the water droplets are enough to return Jingoro back to normal as he tells that the pact has been dissolved. Jousuke’s in a little shock as Jingoro uses this opportunity to attack him. Jingoro enters Jousuke’s mouth and because of that, Jousuke suffocated and drowned. Oh well, another Kouga member down.
 
Before all this would turn into an Iga series, episode 5 shifts back a little to the Kouga village and we see the rest of the Kouga members, Hyouma Muroga, Saemon Kisaragi, Gyoubu Kasumi and Kagerou waiting anxiously for Gennosuke’s return. But it seems Tenzen and co decide to pay a visit to Kouga under the pretext that they’ve been sent here due to Gennosuke’s orders, but in actual fact decides to slay the rest of the Kouga whose names are in the list. Though Hyouma, who’s Gennosuke’s teacher, may be blind, but he’s got a really sharp sense of hearing. I mean, he could even sense killing intent with those footsteps far away. Because of that, he warns the village to be on alert. So when Tenzen and co arrive, it seems a little quiet. Suddenly something invisible grabs Rousai as he tries to break free. Then it’s revealed it’s actually Gyoubu, with his ability to meld into his surroundings. One thing I find amusing about Gyoubu is that whenever he merges with his surroundings, he has to be naked. So when he unmerges, it’s like… you know. Yeah, and when he’s running around after that too. Don’t worry, this big bald muscular man at least got the body. Note, all the necessary parts are strategically blocked.
 
Well, Gyoubu orders the rest of the other low-level ninjas (that’s what I view them) to attack the Iga. So another display of cool battling between Iga and Kouga. Yeah, somehow I figured those lowly Kouga ninjas are meant to be slaughtered as they’re being taken out so easily even though they outnumbered the 5 Iga members. When Hyouma finally shows up, they stop and Tenzen tells them that they’ll receive such warm welcome if they ever visit Iga before leaving. Tenzen even said that they killed those ninjas out of self defence. After they’ve left, Saemon sends his younger sister, Okoi, to check on Gennosuke on Iga as she leaves by herself. Back at Iga, Gennosuke wonders about Jousuke’s whereabouts. As Akeginu pleaded to Oboro not to tell Gennosuke about their ninpou encounter, Akeginu makes up an excuse saying that Jousuke had gone back to Kouga after she rejected him by saying how she dislike fat people. Gennosuke just laughed and says how it’ll be good for Jousuke, but still keeps his suspicions.
 
On her journey there, Okoi meets Tenzen and co in episode 6. The Igas didn’t know her at first but notices her name on the list when she introduces herself. Of course they try to bluff Okoi into getting her to follow her but she refuses and escapes. Nenki gave chase and manages to wound her as they take an unconscious Okoi back to Iga. Back at Kouga, Hyouma analyzes things. Gyoubu and Saemon decides to find out whether Shogen’s alive or not by backtracking the path that he might take. Along the way, it seems Yashamaru has realized he has lost his scroll as he’s running in the rain. But a voice which sounds like Tenzen stops him. Actually it’s Saemon, who’s ninpou is not only to imitate a person’s voice but a person’s look as well. So as they’re talking, Yashamaru didn’t suspect anything and tells him that the pact has been dissolved, catching Saemon by surprise. With that, Yashamaru realizes that this isn’t the real Tenzen and uses his fine haris to locate the culprit. Luckily Saemon uses his sword to hold them off or else he would’ve been sliced to pieces. Just then, a hand emerges from the wall and grabs Yashamaru by the neck. Yup, it’s Gyoubu. Though Gyoubu didn’t want to kill him at first but a struggling Yashamaru is going to use his fine hairs on Gyoubu so that guy has no choice but to break his neck. So the 2 decides to go to Iga as Saemon copies Yashamaru’s face and wears his clothes. Back at Iga, Gennosuke is told by one of Oboro’s messenger that Jousuke has returned safely to Kouga, which is a lie of course. All the Igas have returned, delighting Oboro who’s waiting for them. But Hotarubi, she’s waiting in the rain. Waiting for her beloved Yashamaru to return, unknown to her that he has already died. Koshiro wonders if Oboro too would be like that if Gennosuke dies.
 
Okoi has been captured and tied up in the salt storeroom in episode 7 as Rousai decides to interrogate her. Of course she’s mocking that old man but Rousai made a wrong move when he moves up to her and touches her shoulder. You see, Okoi’s ninpou is the ability to drain out her victim’s blood through just a mere touch. Yeah, like a leech. And Rousai can’t let go. He desparately tries to get away but Okoi surrounds him and the more skin contact, the faster the blood drainage. Yup, Rousai dies and becomes a dried octopus (hahaha. Couldn’t resist making that joke. By the way, doesn’t he look like an octopus with that buldging head of his?). Since Okoi can’t keep all the excess blood, she throws up all of them, making her a little sick. After that she takes a look at the scroll in Rousai’s hands. Meanwhile Saemon and Gyoubu have arrived at Iga and is going to infiltrate it. Saemon is at the gates when Hotarubi comes running to him. Saemon thinks it might be a trap but Hotarubi hugs him with love. She’s glad that her Yashamaru’s back as she embraced him. Saemon of course doesn’t know what’s going on and decides to play along. Yeah, his answers are like ‘on the fence’. Wouldn’t that arouse any suspicion. But Hotarubi’s snake can sense that he’s not the real Yashamaru and bit his finger. Hotarubi quickly throws her snake away and apologizes. Saemon is a little confused. Saemon says even how the snake couldn’t recognize him. Jingoro’s wondering where Rousai is when he enters the salt storeroom only to be attacked by Okoi. Yup, she’s draining his blood too but since there’s salt, Jingoro manages to slip away. Also, Tenzen confronts Oboro and tells her the truth that the pact between Kouga and Iga has been dissolved.
 
In episode 8, it’s Nenki’s turn to enter the salt storeroom and once again Okoi attacks him. But she can’t really drain his blood because Nenki’s too hairy! Yeah, she’s feeling for some skin and I hope she didn’t ‘feel’ that part ‘down there’. Nenki eventually got Okoi trapped in his hairs and what’s this? Nenki uses his body hair to pierce through Okoi’s body! I also hope he didn’t use his part ‘down there’ to pierce through her. Because Hotarubi tells ‘Yashamaru’ that they’ve captured a girl named Okoi, Saemon wants Hotarubi to take him to see her. There, Saemon is horrified to see his sister lying with a pool of blood. I’m not sure how they do it, but it seems Saemon communicates with Okoi by just tapping her palms like as though it’s like morse code. So they tell each other things like how Okoi hid the scroll somewhere in the room before Jingoro arrives before she breathes her last breath. Saemon’s sad but he has to control his emotions. But as Saemon takes the hidden scroll, Oboro comes in and he stared right into her eyes. Which means, Saemon’s disguise is nullified. Everyone looked in horror especially Hotarubi. Saemon tosses the scroll outside. But as Jingoro is gonna grab it, Gyoubu emerges and beats him to it. The Igas realized that there’re some Kougas in their village as they try to pursue Gyoubu (who’s running around naked) while Saemon disappears during that commotion. As the Igas and the low-level Iga ninjas (yup, low level ninjas meant to be slaughtered later) gather at the room where Gennosuke is, it seems Gennosuke is reading the scroll with Saemon and Gyoubu by his side. With that, Gennosuke keeps the scroll and decides to head back to Kouga.
 
But it seems the Igas are not gonna let Gennosuke and co leave Iga alive in episode 9. Tenzen still doesn’t know what Gennosuke’s ninpou is and tells Nenki not to be hasty. And I’ve guessed it, those low level Iga ninjas are like guinea pigs as they charge and attack Gennosuke. So what is his ninpou? Gennosuke posses the Doujutsu Eyes. Unlike the Mystic Eyes, the Doujutsu Eyes makes its enemies with killing intent go crazy and they will kill each other or themselves. Yeah, those Iga ninjas find it out the hard way as they slash one another beyond their control. Then there’s one who even sliced his own head in half! Gross out! No choice, the Igas make way for the trio to leave. However, poor Oboro calls out to Gennosuke and tells him not to leave. At this point my perception of Gennosuke changed a little. I mean, I thought this guy’s quite wise and matured thinking and I respected this guy. But he didn’t say anything and acting as though this whole thing is Oboro’s fault because he leaves the place just like that. So where did all his love for Oboro and that vision of Kouga and Iga to live in harmony gone to? But I shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions yet. Sometimes silence isn’t golden but I felt that he should at least not give Oboro the cold shoulder. Poor Oboro still loves him and pleads for him not to go.
 
However, Tenzen thinks that he still has an ace up his sleeves as he orders Koshiro to attack them. Though Saemon and Gyoubu easily wards off Koshiro’s kama’s but Koshiro soon starts to initiate his hurricane breath. Oboro comes in front of Koshiro and blocks him telling him to stop. Tenzen is slightly mad at what Oboro’s doing and tells Oboro to get behind Koshiro and look Gennosuke in the eye. Yup, it’s the ultimate technique. With Oboro’s Mystic Eyes nullifying Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes, Koshiro’s hurricane breath will shred anything it comes into contact with. But Oboro is still pleading them to stop. Koshiro is distracted by Oboro’s actions when suddenly he saw Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes. Because of that, Koshiro bore the devastating impact of his own hurricane breath. It’s really a bloody one, he didn’t die though. Gennosuke and his companions leave soon without saying a word. I really pity Oboro. Yeah, that guy even left his flute there as a parting gift. Damn him. Later, though Koshiro’s still alive, but he has been blinded and is resting. Tenzen chides Oboro for her traitorness and discuss their next moves. But it seems Oboro remembers a flashback when grandma Ogen tells her that if ever her Mystic Eyes becomes to much of a trouble, she must swipe it with some cream over her eyes and not open it for several days. This is what Oboro has done. Yup, she’s sealing her Mystic Eyes, much to the shock of the rest.
 
I was getting a little worried because an average 1 fighter dies per episode. So much so I counted that since there are 24 episodes and at that rate, nobody will be left even before the 20th episode. Then there’s this recap episode 10 whereby Hattori Hanzo the 4th’s adopted son, Kyohachiro (who’s the actual son of Hattori Hanzo the 2nd. Confusing isn’t it) reports to them about the progress of the battle so far to Ieyasu at his palace. Besides most of the episode being a recap, we see a little insight of the 2 grandsons and how their nannies hate each other and would do anything for their beloved child. One in particular is Ofuku, a cold and scheming woman, who takes care of Takechiyo and Oeyo on the other hand favours Kunichiyo more. Don’t ever get in between these 2 women. Plus, this is the last episode you’ll ever see that Ieyasu guy.
 
Back to the action in episode 11. It seems Iga has received something from Kouga. Gennosuke has returned the scroll to them! Gennosuke even writes a note telling them his plans of going to Sunpu to find out why the pact has been dissolved and he’s bringing along the remaining Kouga members on the list. He even tells them the route that they’re taking and warns that if they’re to attack, they’ll retaliate too. Of course Tenzen takes this opportunity to wipe out the Kouga as he orders Nenki and Hotarubi to scout their location. Meanwhile, the Kougas are on their way and Gyoubu decides to leave the group to attend to something personal. So while the 4 Kouga members are resting at some inn, Nenki and Hotarubi are spying on them. Kagerou, who’s Gennosuke’s cousin, wants to die along with him as she releases her posion breath. Yup, that’s her ninpou. Whoever inhales it dies instantly. Now this gives a whole new meaning to killer breath. The thing is, I found out that she can only use her ninpou when she’s sexually aroused! I thought she could use it at her own will. I guess if it was so, then anybody she talked with could’ve died. Anyway, Gennosuke used his Doujutsu Eyes a little to back her down. Then Gennosuke said something about how he got no qualms about killing Oboro. What the?
 
Hotarubi sends her snake to attack but before Gennosuke decapitated it, the snake had unleashed it’s venom which seals his Doujutsu Eyes. So our 2 (ex)lovers now have their eyes sealed and are temporarily blind. Saemon and Kagerou kick into action to find the culprit. Nenki suggests Hotarubi to go back and report to Tenzen what has happened while he stays back to finish off the rest. Nenki is pleased to find 2 blind men in the room and is gonna attack when Hyouma opened his eyes and… Oh another Doujutsu Eyes! Nenki suffocates and strangles himself with his own hair. What a way to die. Don’t ever underestimate blind people.
 
Episode 12-13 continues with Saemon giving Hotarubi a chase and manages to wound her a little. After telling Kagerou to go back to Gennosuke, Saemon realizes that he has been chasing Hotarubi’s decoy butterflies. Also the other Iga members are resting at some inn with Akeginu and Koshiro talking things out. Hotarubi is trudging slowly in the rain because of her wounds and is thinking with deep hatred about how Saemon and Gyoubu killed her beloved Yashamaru and is vowing revenge. She then comes up to a broken bridge when Nenki (Saemon in disguise as he has a grudge against this hairy guy for killing his sister) approaches her and tells her that he has killed Gennosuke but how Saemon got away. After some talk, Hotarubi realizes that she may have fallen into Saemon’s trap again because she saw his bandaged finger, which was bitten by her snake earlier on. With that, Saemon changes back to his normal face and a battle ensue. In the end, Saemon killed Hotarubi by chopping off both her arms (Oh my God!) so that she’s unable to summon her butterflies. Before Hotarubi falls to her death she envisions her beloved Yashamaru and seemed happy. Saemon of course doesn’t know what’s going on as he watches a pair of butterflies dancing with each other ascending to the skies. Meanwhile Tenzen decides to beat Kouga to their destination by taking a boat there and it seems Oboro’s yearning for Gennosuke is pissing him off very much. So much so he decides to get tough with her as he confronts Oboro sitting alone in a cabin. By the way, if you notice how afraid Jingoro is with the sea water, it’s because he’s afraid that if he’s ever thrown overboard he may be dissolved. I thought this guy could control his transformation but it seems that if there’s too much salt, then I guess he’ll be completely be 1 with the ocean and won’t be able to return back to normal. So he’s sticking with Akeginu like a leech.
 
True to his evil self, that bastard Tenzen decides to rape Oboro in episode 14 in an attempt to make her forget about Gennosuke. Yeah, he’s forcing himself on her as Oboro screams for him to stop. Koshiro can’t do anything about it even though he’s Oboro’s childhood friend but he too is torn between following orders from her and Tenzen. If you’ve guessed that there’s a guy on the boat which resembles Gyoubu so much, then you’re right. Jingoro suspect there is a passenger less and thinks it might be Gyoubu. I wonder how he knows. But before Tenzen could start what he’s doing, Gyoubu’s hands appeared and crushed Tenzen’s neck. So Tenzen’s temporarily out. So you could say Oboro’s saved by Gyoubu. Jingoro and Akeginu comes in to the room to find Tenzen lying on the board and Jingoro goes crazy and thinks Gyoubu is on board as he slashes madly his sword on the walls and floorboard of the room, asking for Gyoubu to come out. Finally Gyoubu emerges and he tosses Jingoro overboard. Looks like his fears have come true. I felt that he died due to flaws of his own ninpou. Akeginu dives in to try and save him but is too late and vows revenge.
 
Gyoubu’s victory is short-lived in episode 15 that’s because he’s surprised to find Tenzen back on his feet. Mainly this episode is a flashback of Gyoubu’s past and comes to see how he really hates the Iga clan when his father was ambushed by one. Gyoubu looked so different when he was a kid. I mean, it must be all that hatred which turned Gyoubu from an innocent looking kid into a huge muscle ripping guy. So he’s planning to get some revenge on Iga and as usual while he duels Tenzen, the latter makes scathing and insulting remarks to him and Tenzen even slash an innocent by-stander just to draw Gyoubu out. Yup, Gyoubu’s playing hide and seek with his ninpou. What’s the significance of the father-son flautists on this boat. It’s because when Gyoubu’s gonna land Tenzen the final killing blow, Tenzen all in good timing calculates all this and avoids Gyoubu’s attack so that it all seemed like Gyoubu is the one who killed that little boy’s father. This scene reminded Gyoubu so much like himself when he was little. Yeah, what goes around comes around. And that boy is staring at Gyoubu with eyes full of hatred, just like he once had. With that short distraction, Akeginu manages to climb back abooard and uses her ninpou to mark Gyoubu. Which means even though Gyoubu tries to hide and merge there’ll be a trail of blood to indicate where he is. Tenzen uses this opportunity to stab Gyoubu deep within his body over the cabin wall. Gyoubu dies as he watches that kid still staring at him with hatred. Tenzen then updates the scroll by crossing out those recently departed, including Nenki and Hotarubi because he assumes that they’re dead since they have no contact with them. When the ship reached its destination, the 4 Kouga members saw a board with a human-like body embeded in it and recognizes it as Gyoubu’s. Of course the other by-standers couldn’t stand that horrible sight. With another member down, they put some flowers on Gyoubu’s death board and let it sail adrift to sea.
 
If there’s a recap episode, then there’s a flashback episode, right? That’s what episode 16 is all about. We see how a young Gennosuke (must have got those thick eyebrows from grandpa Danjo) and Oboro met and are supposedly engaged to get married to strengthen the ties between Kouga and Iga. Since they’re little kids, I suppose those innocent feelings are mutual and they hit it off on the right note. Plus, it’s bloody cute to see Oboro who’s all over Tenzen (who looks the same now and then) playing with his spikey hair. Hahaha. Yeah, this episode is light-hearted in an otherwise a totally grim and bloody series. Besides, I also felt that it’s an episode to make viewers remember the fallen ninjas before we forget they actually existed in the first place. It’s the only episode whereby all the 20 characters are shown in 1 single episode. And no, the opening credits don’t count. Yeah, we also see a grown up Gennosuke wanting to visit Oboro just before the pact was dissolved and since Oboro is quite nervous, she got hiccups. Hehehe. Rousai and Nenki decides to make her hiccups go away by scaring her. Oboro’s so cute when she’s scared like that. Also, we see Jousuke’s pervertness as he does a little molesting on Okoi, much to her chagrin. Jubei doing some fortune telling to Kagerou but the latter didn’t like the outcome and runs away in tears. Yashamaru and Hotarubi are lovey-dovey with each other and the latter is grateful for the peace pact because he doesn’t have to go to war so that he could be with her. Though Gennosuke visited Oboro and the latter accidentally trips and spilled some tea on his head, it seems Gennosuke still wants to come back and visit and doesn’t hate Oboro. Yup, that believe of his that Kouga and Iga can still live peacefully together. Makes you think what went wrong then, huh.
 
Back to the storyline in episode 17, it seems Tenzen and the rest are watching Kouga laying Gyoubu adrift to sea and Tenzen saying how he’s gonna marry Oboro and let Gennosuke watch. The Igas are resting at an inn and mainly Oboro felt ‘dirty and violated’ and requests Akeginu to help her bath. So while the 2 are at it, Tenzen takes Koshiro to intercept Kouga. At night while walking through some field, the Kougas spot Ogen’s hawk with Saemon and Kagerou chasing it. Of course this leaves the 2 blind men alone. Tenzen uses this opportunity to attack them but as usual he starts off by mocking and insulting them first. So in the end, Tenzen finally finds out Hyouma’s powers and slits his own throat. That’s the 3rd time this guy’s dead. But he won’t stay that way for long. Saemon and Kagerou realized that they’ve fallen under one of Iga’s traps and soon regroups back with Gennosuke and Hyouma. Saemon learns of Tenzen’s demise and decides to head back to his corpse to copy his face. Meanwhile Koshiro’s there too but without Tenzen to lead the way, he’s rather lost, shouting his Tenzen’s name out. Finally, Koshiro cross paths with Gennosuke, Hyouma and Kagerou. Gennosuke recognizes that voice.
 
It’s a showdown between Koshiro and Hyouma between episode 18. I dub it the battle of the blind men. Hehe. Before that, Hyouma tells Kagerou to take Gennosuke away so that they may continue their journey. And the way Hyouma said things is as though he’s not gonna live very long. At first I thought Hyouma may have the upper hand in this battle because of his keen sense of hearing. But Hyouma didn’t know Koshiro is blind when he attempted to use his Doujutsu Eyes. Not only that Koshiro has toss his kama and at the same time initiating his hurricane breath. Hyouma is coming in for the attack but is in a dilemma because he has to decide which attack he should block from, Koshiro’s kama from the back or his hurricane breath from the front. He chose the former because it came first. Hyouma notes he made a mistake and though he successfully blocks Koshiro’s kama, the hurricane breath hit directly at Hyouma’s face. Yeah, another bloody sight. You won’t get to see how messed up Hyouma’s face is but while Hyouma is standing there he is reminiscing the good days he was Gennosuke’s teacher. Yup, another flashback episode. We see how Gennosuke could actually walk around with his eyes close, which explains why he doesn’t trip, fall or need any help when his eyes were sealed. Though initially a young Gennosuke sounds like an impatient obnoxious kid, Hyouma teaches him the eyes of the heart and ultimately how to control his Doujutsu Eyes by walking through their valley with their eyes closed so much so he knows the entire place like the back of his hand. Hyouma knows he doesn’t have much time left and he wishes for Gennosuke to live and dies standing. Yes, he died standing.
 
Koshiro isn’t hearing anything from Hyouma and wonders if he’s dead or not. But in episode 19, he hears the voice of Akeginu who comes up to him and tells him that Iga has lost and that Oboro is dead. Koshiro is overcome with guilt that he’s unable to protect Oboro. Akeginu tells him to punish her and that to kill each other as they embraced. Soon Akeginu locked lips with Koshiro and the latter falls dead to the ground. Because Koshiro’s blind, he’s unable to see that Akeginu is actually Kagerou who has exhaled into him her poison breath and that Akeginu’s voice is being impersonated by Saemon who’s under the guise of Tenzen. Also in this episode, Ofuku decides to make a move when her Takechiyo is poisoned but survived. Oboro and Akeginu got ‘word’ from Ogen’s hawk that something may have happened to Tenzen and Koshiro as they rushed there. While the 3 Kougas are hiding nearby, Akeginu is shocked to see Koshiro dead and proceeds to stab Hyouma who has died standing. Well, actually it’s part of Kouga’s plan to use Hyouma’s corpse as a decoy (though they didn’t want to) so that they could finish off the remaining Iga members. Even at that point, Oboro still has kind words for both the fallen Kouga and Iga members. You heard that Gennosuke? Now, do you still want to kill her?
 
But then their plan is cut short when Ofuku and her men arrived. She is delighted to hear that they’re from Iga and indirectly she decides to help the 2 Iga woman win this battle. So this is the first time that they find out from Ofuku that another reason they’re fighting each other is to decide the successor to the throne. I thought they knew it all along, but it looks like it isn’t so. Appalled? Well, there’s no turning back now. Meanwhile, we all know Tenzen can’t be really dead. We also get a glimpse of how his regenerative process works. What’s this? A pair of little eyes and a mouth appearing and ‘eating’ up the wound?! Is this guy a demon or what?! I can’t believe this. Even if the wound heals by itself, it’s not so bad. But some creature in him, gobbling and mending back his wounds? This is too far fetched.
 
Oboro and Akeginu are resting with Ofuku with her men at some inn in episode 20. Ofuku is determined not to let those 2 die. At the same time, Tenzen comes in and meets a little resistance from Ofuku’s men before Akeginu comes and tell them that Tenzen is on their side. But Tenzen seems more lenient here as he discovers that Oboro is still holding on to Gennosuke’s flute as Akeginu begs for him not to throw it away, which he agrees. Tenzen then tells that he notices Kagerou waiting at a bridge for somebody and plans to intercept her. Akeginu agrees and comes along with him. Soon Akeginu and Tenzen confronts Kagerou who mentions that she’s actually waiting for Akeginu herself. Well, no ninpou fight here because as Akeginu gets ready to stab Kagerou, Tenzen holds her hand back which allows Kagerou to stab Akeginu in the chest. So this Tenzen is actually Saemon in disguise. Why didn’t I see it coming. And the real Tenzen has come up to Ofuku’s place and they’re surprised to see him. So while he’s telling them the real deal, Saemon and Kagerou lets Akeginu’s body fall off from the bridge and drift towards the sea. Then after a short talk, they heard some footsteps coming as Kagaerou heads back to where Gennosuke is currently residing. It looks like it’s Ofuku’s men and they’re surrounding Saemon. Of course Saemon tries to play along by passing off as Tenzen by saying how he has killed Kagerou and that Akeginu has died because of her injuries. But of course unknown to Saemon yet, Tenzen is part of those men and he says he wants to verify if he’s the real Tenzen because he mentions that Tenzen cannot die.
 
So Saemon figures that he’s in a tight spot in episode 21 as the real Tenzen shows himself. Not before all those men impaled their weapon right into Saemon. Before Saemon dies, he managed to slit Tenzen’s cheek and watch himself how his wound heal. They then just left Saemon’s body over the bridge as they head back to Ofuku’s place. As part of Tenzen’s plan, she tells Ofuku a woman named Kagerou will come here as she has defect from from Kouga and let her in. As predicted, Kagerou comes in to finish Oboro off but sees Tenzen and still thinks it’s Saemon in disguise. Tenzen proceeds to tell her that he has to make love with her in order to prove that she’s defected from Kouga. Though Kagerou’s hesitant but that Tenzen guy once again becomes evil immoral baddie as he forces himself on her. Kagerou realizes too late that he’s the real Tenzen so she imagined his face as Gennosuke’s and with that her sexual arousement enables her to breath her posion breath into Tenzen. This guy has a habit of dying. But I think it’s all part of his plan. Ofuku’s men who are peeping charges into the room once Tenzen falls dead to the ground. Though Ofuku wants Kagerou dead, Oboro then comes in and says to keep her alive so that she can be used as a bait to lure Gennosuke. I suppose it’s really getting to her this love-hate thing. The next day, Ofuku, Oboro and a tied-up Kagerou are travelling in a carriage and at the same time, Gennosuke begins his lone journey as he takes a boat across. I wonder if he knows the well-being of his comrades. Also, he meets that flautist boy. Gennosuke demonstrates his flute skills which impresses him and brings back memories of him and Oboro together. But that’s much about it.
 
Ofuku and her men arrived yet another pitstop in episode 22 as they make their journey towards Sunpu. Kagerou has manage to break free from her tied-up situation and kills 2 of Ofuku’s men with her poison breath. With that, Kagerou leaves the room to find Oboro and kill her. At the same time, Tenzen seems to have resurrected and is in the next carriage to Kagerou’s. Kagerou spots Oboro sleeping in a room and proceeds to stab her but it was just a decoy. Soon Tenzen comes in and captures Kagerou. What happens next is very disturbing. Because at a temple, Tenzen ties Kagerou up to a pillar and uses his needles to write the word ‘Iga’ on her naked body. That evil bastard. And Kagerou’s scream of pain is so disheartening yet pitiful. It gives shivers down my spine. Kagerou’s eerie screams can be heard as far away so much so Oboro can’t take it anymore as she rushes to the temple and begs for Tenzen to stop. Meanwhile Gennosuke on his lone journey, heard some passer-bys reading some note put up by Tenzen telling how Gennosuke must come to this place or else Kagerou will be killed and such. While Oboro’s pleading for Tenzen to stop, Tenzen once again decides to do things his way. Yup, he’s gonna rape Oboro again and is all over her! Why that S.O.B! I can’t imagine the trauma Oboro’s going through. Probably it was Kagerou’s screams. Why? Because Gennosuke arrived in time to cut Kagerou loose and the much anticipated final showdown between Gennosuke and Tenzen looms. Oboro seems relieved.
 
You won’t be disappointed with the sword clash of Gennosuke and Tenzen in episode 23, though we find out Tenzen’s real intent and form. Besides still mocking Gennosuke and ‘blaming’ him for being born a Kouga, it seems Tenzen is an immortal and has been around for 200 years! So we see some short flashback supposedly Tenzen’s mom who’s pregnant with him at that time, meeting some guy but was cornered by baddies who bludgeoned her and left her for dead. And that a short glimpse of baby (Tenzen I believe) jutting out from his mommy’s belly, barely alive. Ugh. Though I’m not sure if it’s mentioned or not, but I read that Tenzen shares his body with some devil symbiote during his birth. Let’s just leave it there. Plus, it seems Tenzen is the one who has planned and calculated all that has happened between Kouga and Iga so far. Meaning, he takes joy to see the 2 sides wipe each other out and is partly responsible for it. Maybe he’s bored after living for so long. Though Gennosuke’s still blind, he can still put up a fight but Tenzen has got the upper hand and manages to wound Gennosuke’s arms. Oboro’s worried and is wondering what’s going on so much so she got the strength to open her eyes. Yes, after a long time, she can see, but it’s not a lovely sight. Gennosuke’s injured. But in the end with sheer determination, Gennosuke sliced and decapitated Tenzen’s head! Now I’d like to see that being reattached. Gennosuke collapses due to his wounds and Kagerou who’s barely alive decides to kill themselves as she throws the scroll to Oboro.
 
Kagerou is gonna use her poison breath to take an unconscious Gennosuke when Oboro uses her Mystic Eyes to nullify her ninpou. So much for that. Though it won’t be obvious, but Kagerou soon will die due to the needle injuries she sustained from Tenzen. At the same time, Ofuku and her men approached the temple. What kept the men from entering the place? Kagerou’s scream of course. Those cowards. But with Ofuku’s orders they have no choice. Oboro hides Gennosuke’s body underneath the stairs when she hears footsteps. Oboro hears Gennosuke whispering how he doesn’t want to kill anyone anymore (though earlier on he told Oboro that he has to kill her and she has to kill him in order to end all this). I guess after all that he has ‘seen’, it’s probably enough to last a lifetime. Upon arrival, they’re shock to see Tenzen’s decapitated head and since they know of his ninpou Ofuku orders her men to put his head back in place. Oh well, it really seems that the demon is trying to heal and reattached Tenzen’s head. Everyone is watching in fear, and Oboro is witnessing Tenzen’s true horror for the first time from the stairs. Then Oboro with all her determination uses her Mystic Eyes to nullify Tenzen’s ninpou. Yeah, his head just blasted away, unable to reattached. But before Tenzen is really gone for good, he managed to tell Ofuku Gennosuke’s whereabouts. Ofuku approaches Oboro and tells her to kill Gennosuke but of course she doesn’t want to. With that, Ofuku decides to call Hattori Hanzo the 4th so that the final match can begin. But at least good grief that Tenzen guy is now gone for good.
 
The final episode 24 has lots of flashbacks between Gennosuke and Oboro together. Kyohachiro has a talk with Oboro before the battle and Oboro gives him the flute for remembrance. Kyohachiro gives Oboro a sword for the battle. So it’s evening and the remaining 2 ninjas are standing face to face near the river bank. Hattori Hanzo the 4th, Kyohachiro and Ofuku are watching the match. While Ofuku is delighted because she’s seeing how Gennosuke is injured and that she thinks all Oboro needs to do is to slash him quickly and it’ll be over, the other 2 are disgusted of what has happened so far. Yeah, it’s only been 10 days and it has turned out so bloody and gruesome. Hattori must be regretting his action to undo the pact. So when it’s time for the match to start, neither Gennosuke nor Oboro made the first moves. This pisses off Ofuku very much. Soon Oboro raises her sword towards Gennosuke. She confesses how she loves him before stabbing herself in the heart! While Ofuku is devastated, finally the effects of the snake venom which has sealed Gennosuke’s eyes has wore off. He opened his eyes and to his horror only to see his beloved Oboro lying motionless next to him. Ofuku panics and orders her men to take out Gennosuke but Gennosuke uses his Doujutsu Eyes on them. Don’t mess with this guy. Gennosuke approaches the scroll, takes it along with Oboro in his arms and walks into the river. He then wrote something on the scroll.
 
Kyohachiro uses his super eye to read what it is. To their surprise, Gennosuke wrote that Oboro was the last person to write in the scroll (meaning handing the victory to Iga) as he crossed out both names before stabbing himself! Oh dear, so in the end nobody is left standing. Gennosuke throws the scroll to Ogen’s hawk who’s flying above and tells it to head to Sunpu castle. Though Ofuku is devastated with it, Hattori notes how evil this woman is and decides not to tell her that Iga had won and let her wallow in her sorrows. We see Gennosuke floating down the river with Oboro in his arms, just like Danjo and Ogen did. I felt so sad but in the end I suppose this is the only way out for the both of them. In the final scenes, I’m not sure whether the results of this whole thing worked or not because we see Hattori and Kyohachiro chatting about how peaceful it is now between Kouga and Iga. Whether Takechiyo will become the next successor or not isn’t clear but that’s not important. And that Ieyasu guy has passed away so much so Hattori keeps that scroll in his house as a reminder of the gruesome battle that took place and the lives of those who have perished. So a few lives have to be perished before such peace can be attained. It would’ve been so easy and all this could be avoided if they’ve gotten along well in the first place.
 
Overall, I must say that I’m glad to have watched this series. Though the ending was a bit depressing but I’m sure that even all those times where Gennosuke said how he wanted to get rid of Iga when it comes to that, his love for her still remains true right till the end. And even if they don’t get to be together in this world, I’m sure that they’ll be reunited in the afterlife.
 
This series is definitely for the mature audience because of the amount of violence, blood and gore. Yes, people get some of their body parts chopped off just like that so much so there are some scenes censored by the local tv station. But overall, I still like those fighting sequences. Not only that, some of the scenes are quite dark and you really need to strain your eye just to look at what’s going on. Oh, did I mention that as the series progress, you’ll notice the ladies to be more ‘exposed’ though the necessary parts are still strategically covered. I read that the manga has less censorships than the anime. Basically, the animation, drawing and art are quite nicely done but sometimes it’s too dark to see anything but nevertheless when it’s bright and sunny, some of the scenaries are breathtaking.
 
One thing I would like to point out is that some of the characters, main or minor, have really odd and weird looking body parts. Really. I mean take for instance Rousai’s buldging head and Shogen’s back hump which reminds you of that freak from Notre Dame although Shogen’s supposed to resemble a spider. Then there are others like with such a long nose and such which makes you think that is this some horror freak kind of show.
 
The opening and ending theme songs seems to sound very rock-like with wild and heavy electric guitar and drum beats as it gets viewers in the mood of the action though there’ll be solemn times like the opening theme sung by Onmyouza, Kouga Ninpouchou, may sound wild but I prefer the ending theme Wild Eyes, which is sung by Nana Mizuki, who is also the voice actress for Oboro. There’s another ending theme also sung by Nana Mizuki, Hime Murasaki, which is more of a slow rock ballad. But it’s a lovely piece nevertheless.
 
I won’t say that the character developments are very deep, but there are especially between Gennosuke and Oboro. There are some characters who made such a brief appearance so much so I felt that the series could’ve been done without them, like Jubei. I mean, he’s here today, gone today, if you know what I mean. And there are those which you’ll love to hate especially the despicable Tenzen. But nevertheless, all the main characters are quite unique in their own way.
 
After I finished watching this anime, I can’t help think that in a way this series resembles a little like that Shakespeare’s play Romeo And Juliet. Well there are several similarities don’t you think? Two warring factions who hate each other so much but each side has got a member who’s in love with the other on the other side. The conflict between the 2 sides are putting a strain on their love relationship so how will they fare? For their love or their clan? And both stories too are set in the olden times and it ends on a tragic note. But ultimately it’s the power of love which eventually triumphs in the end.
 
If you’re wondering how the name Basilisk is related to this anime, it’s because it’s taken from the Greek mythical creature of the same name. Just like Medusa, a single glance into this creature’s eyes can cause instant death. So this death gaze can be attributed to Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes and Oboro’s Mystic Eyes, which in a way is the most powerful and ultimate ninpou among the rest.
 
Perhaps people all over the world should watch this anime and learn from themselves that hatred and bloodsheds will only escalate and worsen things further. It’s an endless spiral. But with so many selfish egos around, I’m not sure if people in general really do learn from it all. I mean we’ve been fighting each other for centuries over whatever reasons, big or small, irrational or justified. But I’m sure in all that there’s a little hope and love in all of us somewhere. Okay, maybe most of us.