Basilsik vol. #1 Limited Edition

Basilisk vol.1
DVD Info.
Release Date: August 8, 2006
Running Time: 100 minutes
Rating: Mature
Region: 1
Format: DVD-Rom
No. of Volumes: 6
Quick Links
Publisher: Funimation
Animation Studio: Gonzo
Official Websites: Japanese
Contributed by: A-run Chey


Basilisk volume 1 also comes in a regular version, but of course I opted for the Limited Edition release. The Limited Edition version comes with a collector’s wooden “Guillotine” art box that is simply gorgeous. The wood finish gives the art box an aged look; something along the lines of an ashy brown colour comes to mind. There are also some premiums packed in the box. A ninja scroll is included in the box and of course you get the DVD, but in special packaging. The Limited Edition DVD is in a digipak format and comes with a slip cover. The slip cover is textured, creating the effect of snake’s skin; pretty cool stuff. Inserted with the DVD are 3 collectible cards and a special booklet that has some excellent liner notes and characters sketches from the anime. Funimation’s packaging is on another level these days. Their releases are at the level of quality of the original Japanese releases, which is very impressive. And as an avid anime DVD collector, the Limited Edition Basilisk release is like a slice of heaven.

To better understand the world of Basilisk, it’s imperative that one builds an appreciation for the many layers to the show’s story.

Just some history:

The Kouga and Iga ninja clans have been bitter rivals for hundreds of years. The bloodshed between these two clans got so bad that the first generation Hattori Hanzo formed an anti-war pact during the Tenshou era, to end the fighting. Even though there is an anti-war pact intact, the hatred that the Kouga and Iga have for each other remains. And both clans hope that the day comes, when they can once again wage war against each other.

The story is set in the Tokugawa era of Japan. The current shogun of Japan, Hidetada needs a successor to the throne. The problem is that Hidetada has 2 sons that are eligible to inherit his position. Infighting has erupted within the Tokugawa family, creating 2 factions; with each side supporting either one of Hidetada’s son’s. Retired shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu decides to intervene. He is desperate to find a solution to this problem because this infighting could spell the end for the Tokugawa dynasty.

With advice from his senior priest, Ieyasu devises a sinister plan to use the Kouga and Iga clans to determine the next shogun of Japan. He invites both warrior clans to Sunpu castle in Edo to display their ninja skills. Upon seeing the malice and hatred displayed between the 2 clans during a mock duel; the retired shogun sets his plans into motion. With permission from the current Hattori Hanzo, Tokugawa Ieyasu nullifies the anti-war pact between the two clans. Both clans choose ten ninjas that will participate in a battle of 10 on 10, to the death. Each clan will represent one of Hidetada’s son’s. Ieyasu presents each clan with a scroll that lists the roster of the ten ninjas from each clan. The clan who is victorious not only determines the next shogun of Japan, but is also promised glory for the next 1000 years; basically bragging rights. This event sets the stage for the rest of the TV series.

I guess it wasn’t written in the stars:

News about the nullification of the anit-war pact has obviously not reached the rest of the clan’s members. This is where the Romeo & Juliet type plot twist takes shape. Gennosuke of the Kouga clan and Oboro of the Iga are in love and are planning to get married. Their marital vows would finally secure peace between the Kouga and the Iga. The two lovers meet as usual unbeknownst to the events that have taken place at Sunpu castle. Is fate on their side? Will their love survive this blood soaked battle that is about to ensue between their clans? Can true peace ever be realized between the Iga and the Kouga? As the show progresses many of these looming questions are answered.


Studio Gonzo continues to produce some of the highest quality animation coming out of Japan right now. Lately they have been producing a lot of animation for Japanese Satellite channel WOWOW. Both Trinity Blood and Samurai 7 aired on WOWOW; as is the case with Basilisk. Animation that airs on Satellite in Japan tends to be of very high quality, since the productions usually have higher budgets than regular TV series.

The quality of the animation in Basilisk is very consistent throughout the first 4 episodes. The action scenes are superbly animated; hand drawn of course to obtain the greatest effect of realism. The character designs are very detailed and pleasing to the eye; particularly the female characters who are drawn very attractively. A lot of care and effort went into the animation for Basilisk and it definitely shows in the final product.

Parting Words:

Basilisk is without a doubt the best anime TV series that I’m currently watching. This is not your run of the mill hack and slash anime. One thing that tends to hurt most hack and slash themed anime is the fact that the emphasis is on the action and not the story. This is not the case with Basilisk. It has a complex story, intriguing characters and mind blowing action scenes melded beautifully into a cohesive whole. A great anime production by Studio Gonzo combined with a stellar North American DVD release by Funimation, results in Basilisk being one of the strongest titles of 2006.

- October 12, 2006

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