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April 30, 2012

Anime Review: Katanagatari

Set in fictional history, Katanagatari delves into the world of swords and martial arts; that is sword arts, the art of using the body as a sword. The story is great and the characters are appealing, it is one fun and enjoyable anime to watch to the end.

KatanagatariSynopsis:
Yasuri Shichika, seventh successor of the Kyoto Ryu (bladeless) sword art, lives on an isolated island with his older sister, Nanami. One day Shichika is visited by a woman named Togame, who requests his aid in her quest to find and collect the final twelve swords forged by the legendary master swordsmith, Shikizaki Kiki. Shichika and Togame begin their odyssey by leaving the island he called home for over 20 years. They will face twelve individuals who possess and protect Shikizaki's legendary swords. Join Shichika and Togame on an exciting, epic adventure that defies reality as they discover the true potential of the Kyotu Ryu sword style!

Review:
I am not a typical action, adventure, and martial arts genre fan. However, after giving Katanagatari a go, I was both pleasantly surprised and impressed at the overall compilation of the story. At first, it may seem just another seinen anime, but after watching a few episodes I concluded that this was much more than that. The story is simply about a guy named Yasuri Shichika that finds himself working along with Togame in search of the twelve legendary blades. Of course this doesn't come without hindrance as each twelve blades are held by twelve other individuals which want to keep and use the blades for themselves. And so, the mission begins to recover all blades before the end. There is a major plot twist which I will not reveal here but keep watching to the end and you will find out what it is. Overall, the story was quite engaging which kept me wanting to watch more. Each episode seems to end too soon although they are already longer than usual (~50 minutes each).

The detail on characters seems a bit too simplistic and cartoon-ish. The faces were a little round and the eye were pretty big. I guess this was intended to be similar to the manga counterpart and to make the anime stand out from the crowd. It took a little while to get used to but I actually didn't mind the simplicity at all. It seems that the real focus was on the story and the characters themselves. However, the backgrounds and visuals were well detailed so that was a good support. I loved the character's clothing though- definitely martial-art style!

The voice acting was perfect with the exception of some characters whose voices were pretty annoying. Theme songs were catchy and suited the anime well. I guess when you have an action, adventure packed anime with a superb story, voice acting becomes quite important and Katanagatari delivers that fluently.

The main focus now is characters. Each character you meet along the way either has a dark past or a hidden agenda. Each character are not what they seem and you will learn the background of every single one of them. I liked the way the anime seamlessly describes the background details without wasting a lot of time or breaking away from the main story. Shichika is just humorous with his naive and clueless attiude and Togame just gives you mixed emotions. The rest of the twelve are either cool, cute or weird. The characters will definitely keep you occupied.

In conclusion, I actually quite enjoyed this anime very much. At first I thought it was just going to be all out war but no, the story actually is quite nicely paced and easy to follow along. The story is just excellent scripted and you may start to realize that each episode is equivalent to one sword being retrieved. That said, it doesn't get boring as you will be entertained by a lot of humour, action and a bit of romance. It was one enjoyable journey from beginning to the end. The end was quite interesting as it does gives you mixed feelings whether you loved it or hated it.

STORY: 9
A mission to retrieve twelve swords. Not that simple as you got to face many challenges along the way.

ART: 7
A characters looked a little unrealistic but that's the anime's unique style of art.

SOUND: 8
Good voice acting to portray character's emotions accurately to the audience.

CHARACTER: 8
Interesting range of characters and their personalities will keep you occupied.

ENJOYMENT: 9
One exciting ride from start to finish.

OVERALL: 8
It was not boring at all! Nicely paced and nicely scripted. Perfect for action, adventure fans.