Blade of the Immortal

Studio: Magnet Releasing
Directed by Takashi Miike

Nov 01, 2017 Issue #62 - Julien Baker
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If there’s anyone to try and film Hiroaki Samura’s incredible manga epic, Blade of the Immortal, it’s the insanely prolific director Takashi Miike. The tone of the manga is perfectly captured by Miike but he fumbles a basic storytelling rule that holds Blade back from fulfilling its potential.

The beautiful, black-and-white opening scene reveals Manji’s (Takuya Kimura) origin as an immortal samurai. Gravely and grotesquely wounded after trying to save his sister from bounty hunters, Manji is infused with kessen-chu by the mysterious nun Yaokubini (Yôko Yamamoto). These “bloodwoms” allow Manji to recover from any wound. Yaobukini coordinates a meeting between Manji and the grimly determined Rin (Hana Sugisaki) who has lost her family to the implacable upstart sword school known as the Itto-Ryu.

It’s a perfect setup for revenge that is regrettably undone by a lack of character development between Manji and Rin. After their first encounter they are immediately dueling against the Itto-Ryu. The duels alone are worth the price of admission, especially for die-hard Blade fans. It’s commendable that Miike tried to cram so much into the film but a little more time establishing Manji and Rin’s bond could have pushed Blade into cinematic greatness.

Author rating: 7.5/10

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