Basilisk Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Basilisk

Basilisk Vol. #5

By Bryan Morton     January 30, 2008
Release Date: February 04, 2008

Basilisk Vol. #5
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
As this bitter war draws to a close, those that seek to see it through dwindle in number. The cost of hatred weighs heavily on the remnants of both tribes.

Confrontation in the night reveals Gennosuke's true intentions, as the hand of reconciliation is extended to the enemy. But death litters the road traveled by ninja feet. Impatience goads political intrigue to seek a more active role in this annihilation of two tribes, and the unseen finally comes to light as those that remain learn of the wager which unleashed this war upon them. But too much has been lost for either side to turn back. No mercy will be spared to the enemy.

Episodes Comprise
17 – Wandering Hearts
18 – A Dawn Without Light
19 – Conspiracy
20 – River of Mercy

The Review!
As both clans continue to lose members, it begins to look at though the war will be over before anyone reaches Sunpu – until the Iga are boosted by the emergence of an unexpected ally, and the return of a warrior who seemingly just won't die…

Audio is provided in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 versions - I listened to the Japanese track for this review. It’s a decent stereo mix, with good use made of the available channels to properly place dialogue and effects - particularly useful as there’s usually quite a bit going on on-screen. There were no obvious problems.

Presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect, the picture quality on this release is pretty good. There’s heavy use made of dark colours, with a lot of the scenes being set at night or in darkened forests, but it’s still usually quite easy to pick out the detail in the scenes. Daytime scenes are bright and colourful. There’s some visible banding on colour gradients in places (usually during the darker sequences), but that’s about all that can be criticised.

No packaging was provided with our review copy.

In keeping with MVM’s usual style nowadays, the menu is a simple affair, providing direct access to the episodes from the main screen with submenus for language selection and extras. Hyoma features on the main screen, while a piece of the show’s background music plays. There are no transition animations, so it’s all quick and easy to use.

Along with the usual creditless opening & closing sequences, this disc features another two half-hour long “Behind the Scenes” segments, looking at the production of the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Travelling under cover of darkness, Gennosuke spies a hawk flying past, carrying a scroll. The hawk used to belong to Ogen, the now-dead head of the Iga, and so Gennosuke assumes the scroll to be important and, along with Kagero, chases after it. It's a trap, though - with Gennosuke and Kagero away, Tenzen attacks the remaining members of the Kouga band - but Gennosuke has a few tricks of his own up his sleeve, as Tenzen makes what may be his final mistake. Oboro, meanwhile, is left to come to terms with Tenzen's attack on her…

Four episodes of pretty much non-stop confrontation here, with the exception of a detour into the past in episode 18 that goes back to when Gennosuke was a child and looks at the training he received to learn his 'killing eyes' technique. Given my own general apathy towards the combat side of Basilisk it's a welcome detour and a decent bit of character development – it's curious to see how little Gennosuke (a self-important little brat if ever there was one) has grown into a far more balanced young man. That's about it as far as real character work goes, though.

Tenzen's inability to die continues to really irk me (this time around he's essentially decapitated, and still lives to tell the tale), although there are efforts made this time around to explain away his immortality, along with a little hint about just how long he's been on the scene – he's lived to see many years of the rivalry between the clans. In one way that maybe explains his eagerness to see the war to its conclusion – he's been on both ends of an awful lot of bitterness – but he's just too evil and too indestructible for my liking.

Away from Tenzen's scenes, there are two other notable battles – Hyoma vs Koshiro, and Saemon vs Akeginu. The first is a typically long, drawn-out affair, while the second sees Saemon making use of his form-stealing ability and is more about deception and betrayal than it is about an honest, straight-up fight.

Of the surviving characters, Oboro gets the raw deal – she doesn't get much in the way of screen time across these episodes, and what little she does get isn't used for much other than seeing how her mental state is coping. With her having no offensive abilities of her own, she just gets pushed into the background. Given she's one of the more likeable personalities in the show, that's definitely a shame.

Of course, all that fighting is really Basilisk's reason for being - I can't get too overworked about there being lots of it, and if it's the reason you're watching the show in the first place then you won't be disappointed. Thanks to the series' high production values, all the combat scenes look the part. Even when they're set at night and there's not as much scope for visual extravagance, the artwork and choreography of the fights combine to make something that is enjoyable in & of itself. I just wish there was less time spent on in-battle posturing and more on out-of-battle scenes.

In summary:
Another volume of Basilisk gives more of the same content, as the show sticks to what it's good at and continues to ignore the possibilities that lie beneath the surface. It's set out its stall as a fighting show, and it does that very well – I'll just be forever frustrated that the promise that the setting and characters have to make the series something more than just a ninja clash look set to be overlooked entirely.

Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,“Behind the Scenes” Feature,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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