Katanagatari was a series that got a good deal of hype back in 2010 that I never found myself getting into at the time. Notable in that each episode aired one time a month on Japanese pay-per-view channels throughout the year and each one aired at 50 minutes a piece, the series focused on skilled martial artist Shichika and a military adviser named Togame seeking out the whereabouts of 12 legendary swords called the Deviant Blades created by a recluse swordsman named Kiki Shikizaki, as each episode of the series focuses on our pair trying to seek out one of the 12 weapons. Shichika and Togame aren't alone in this task as two other parties are trying to lay claim to the Deviant Blades in the form of a clan of ninjas called the Maniwa Ninja Corps and a princess named Hitei who is rival to Togame.
Katanagatari is different from typical feudal era titles in the fact that there is quite a bit of creativity put into the journey faced by Shichika and Togame. While the "collect them all" storyline with the Deviant Blades may seem like typical fare, a number of the weapons are not swords in the typical sense as some of them take on unique forms and many of them even have unique abilities that complicate the mission of our main pair in trying to collect them, especially as Shichika is not allowed to inflict any kind of damage to the Deviant Blades as he tries defeating their wielders. Some of these confrontations involve typical battles where Shichika tries to defeat their wielders, while others require him to get more creative under Togame's guidance to defeat them if conventional tactics aren't doable.
The series balances out its focus on the quest to gather the swords by offering solid exploration of a number of its major characters. Our lead pair and many of the Deviant Blade wielders get a good deal of focus in Katanagatari's unique run time as many of the latter group are focused on to explore their backgrounds, mentalities and why they wield the Deviant Blades they have possession of.
The unique pairing of Shichika and Togame lend a mixture of both comical and serious developments in their relationship and offer a fun foil to one another with Shichika being naive to the ways of the outside world in spite of his immense skill in martial arts and Togame trying to put on a regal facade in spite of her lowly status with the shogunate and her ability to develop tactics when confronting Deviant Blade wielders. Their chemistry is a genuine one as Shichika learns to develop a sense of self through his understanding of the outside world through Togame and our female lead grows to admire Shichika in spite of her original intentions to utilize his skills as a tool to gather the Deviant Blades for her personal gain. The series does drop hints of the two having a past connection to one another through Togame's rather tragic back story that are eluded to as the series progresses and helps add some engaging drama to the pairing's developing bond in later episodes.
Praises aside, I do have some issues with Katanagatari that hurt its quality to an extent. For anyone familiar with series creator Nisio Isin, you may remember his work with the Monogatari franchise. Much like that series, Katanagatari often likes to indulge in dragged out conversations between characters that cover ongoing elements of the show's plot and characters. Unlike the Monogatari franchise where this presentation approach worked because of the series being more character-driven, the heavy focus on conversations don't work as effectively at points for Katanagatari since the series is more plot-driven and causes the pacing of the series to often drag.
The series also has its bumps with characterization. While offering solid character depth with major players of the plot, there are some that don't get as much depth such as a number of members within the Maniwa Ninja Corps and Hitei's assistant Emonzaemon. And speaking of the former, their effectiveness as a threat in the hunt for the Deviant Blades diminishes quite a bit as the series progresses since the majority of their members get killed off rather easily in later episodes through Shichika and a few other characters.
Visually, Katanagatari is a bit of a mixed bag. While having beautiful background and scenic shots, character designs are a bit on the simple side sporting minimal details and facial designs looking rather out of the ordinary compared to more conventional designs. The series doesn't show off fluid movement often. But when it does, it creates some engaging action scenes that sport great choreography thanks to the unique abilities shown of the Deviant Blades and other fighters throughout the series, that include use of weapons, exotic abilities and hand-to-hand combat.
While some elements of its premise are a bit flawed and I do find the show's praise to be somewhat overhyped, Katanagatari is still a unique offering for a recent series offering fresh approaches with the character chemistry between Shichika and Togame, its "collect them all" premise and its feudal era action. Anyone looking for something different compared to many recent titles should give this title a shot.
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
I heard about this anime through the old roundtables in the old Anime Vice. Didn't know the episodes were 50 minutes each. Haven't touch upon Nisio Isin's work yet. The heavy conversation part might kill me since I tend to lose attention sometimes. The art work looks great!
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT