Basilisk Vol. #6 -

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: 15.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Basilisk

Basilisk Vol. #6

By Bryan Morton     March 18, 2008
Release Date: April 07, 2008

Basilisk Vol. #6
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Mounting death drags desperate measures from the hearts of the few who have survived to this, the final hour. A face is finally put to the conspirator of a four-century feud. Political ambition works to shape the end game, and Oboro issues a public challenge, seeking to draw Gennosuke out. As they stand reunited, Oboro begs for death, unable in her love to stand against him. But dying breath sets the final confrontation in motion, and fate comes fill circle.

Episodes Comprise
21 - With All Her Heart
22 - The Haunted
23 - Emancipation
24 - Requiem

The Review!
Basilisk reaches the end of the line, and with it the centuries-old feud between the Iga and Kouga clans. But will Gennosuke or Oboro be able to end their journey without taking the life of the one they love..?

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. One of the main characters 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)
In the battle of two Tenzens, there can really be only one winner - and so Saemon finds himself undone by the real Tenzen, who he had thought was dead but clearly isn't. The Iga man is immortal - only decapitation or burning in the hottest of fires will kill him - and with the Kouga now reduced to just Gennosuke and Kagero, his continued presence must give the Iga the upper hand. Later, Kagero catches up with the Iga party, hoping to kill Oboro, who she sees as her rival for Gennosuke's affections - but she's unaware that Saemon is dead, and that the Tenzen she sees is not her ally...

If there's something that annoys me about Basilisk more than anything else, it's Tenzen - the man who simply will not die, no matter what injuries are inflicted on him. Every time he fights, he loses, and each time you're left thinking that's it, surely they must have got him - but no, like a bad dream (or Gauron from Full Metal Panic!, for a good comparison) he keeps coming back again and again. While he does finally get his come-uppance (especially welcome given the nature of his actions, past and present, that are covered on this disc), it really did take far too long to get to that point, and the whole saga has really tried my patience.

With the clans down to their final members and Gennosuke and Oboro naturally reluctant to face each other, there's a certain amount of betrayal going on as Tenzen and Kagero try to finish the job themselves. Tenzen is acting out of pure malice and self-preservation, but Kagero is acting out of a combination of loyalty and unrequited love for Gennosuke that makes her story all the more tragic. The poor girl is on a hiding to nowhere, and as this disc progresses and her situation becomes ever more dire you can see her mental state deteriorating in a way which almost makes her the real story of the disc.

Almost. Unsurprisingly, though, it all comes down to Oboro and Gennosuke, who much like Romeo and Juliet before them have the full weight of fate rushing down on them and very little room to manoeuvre underneath it all. You're clearly meant to get emotionally involved in their plight, but the big problem with this is that the events of episode 24, where the two finally face each other, have been so heavily telegraphed since all the way back at the beginning of the series that it's impossible to really feel any emotion at all about what plays out - yes, it's maybe not quite played out in the way you'd expect, but it's equally unsurprising, and that makes it no ending at all. Life goes on regardless, as the epilogue to the final episode points out.

Reading all that, you'd be forgiven for thinking I hated every moment of this volume - that wouldn't be entirely true, though. While what happens in these episodes is unlikely to surprise anyone, there are moments along the way where you do begin to feel for the characters, and for the unhappy end that you know is coming to them all. Yes, there are also frustrations at the predictable nature of it all, but it balances out in the end to give you a volume that is generally enjoyable.

In summary:
I'm not a fighting fan, so Basilisk has always faced an uphill battle to impress me. It's never quite managed to do that, or to convince me that some of the hype that surrounded it was truly justified - there's just too much fighting and not enough real story in there to make it more than a passing interest. It does have its moments, and on the rare occasions when the personalities take centre stage, it shows what it can do and does make you genuinely feel for its characters. Put it all together, though, and the bad balances out the good and leaves the whole as simply a competently-done fighting show. If that's your thing, then Basilisk won't disappoint, but if you're looking for something more than that, there are better titles out there.

Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,"Behind the Scenes" Features,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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