This is actually a review that I decided to set up-to-date. As usual, all images are copyright of Masaki Segawa used for educational purposes, to teach you not to look into the eyes of the tiger. I mean basilisk. Any how … Basilisk is. Good? Bad? Judge for yourself and read on.
And so we begin, hold on to your eyelids because these eyes are to die for. Mr. Towelhead reviews:
First and foremost the historical info: Basilisk is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Masaki Segawa in 2003 and 2004, based on the novel “The Kouga Ninja Scrolls” by a certain Futaro Yamada in 1958. In a nutshell you could say Basilisk is a Romeo and Juliet story, just with freaking NINJAS. And while I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet I can imagine it’s not as badass as “The Kouga Ninja Scrolls” or Basilisk.
ILLUSTRATIONS VS STORY
I mean, seriously what kind of style is this?
The first thing that jumped right into my eyes were the “childish” illustrations. The style of drawings is what I would expect from an action/comedy perhaps even a romance story. At first I was pushed away from Basilisk because of this. It was only years later when I saw glimpses of the anime and realized that the Basilisk story is VERY serious and history/action/drama oriented one. The style of drawings is like an obstacle you need to go through, but once you get used to it you will begin to fall in love with the characters, even in their oddly drawn glory.
While the illustrations have the tone of a comedy and action manga…
… The story is quite deep and serious. And by that I mean bloody.
In summary the style is misleading of the type of story you will find behind Basilisk. Another thing is that, the illustrations are at odds with the background. It seems that Basilisk was drawn in a computer and the characters were lousily placed in their surroundings, they have funny auras (or contrasts, as I assume the illustrator didn’t have time/skills to properly draft them out), also their feet are like flying over the ground, and mistakes like that. For all the effort and time put into photoshop (or whatever program used) they could have drawn them in paper.
Even within its unique style, as the story progresses the drawings get “darker” uuhhhhh
The drawings are NOT the best EVER and yet original and giving each of the characters a uniqueness to them. There is plenty of violent scenes, and some of them are pretty messed up, fortunately its only a few, you know, of the really f*** up ones. There is also plenty of nudity as some female characters will fight with their breasts exposed (to distract the enemy and provide fan service to the male audience), and of course they have HUGE ROUND BOOBS [what an original surprise]. And last but not least, there are tons of rape attempts during the course of the manga, as no man seems capable of rape without dying horribly. So you see, Mr. Segawa is trying to communicate a positive message: “Keep it in your pants.”
The story thrives from being realistic in how love and hatred interact. It’s a sad story for sure but a tense one. I was able to finish the entire series in one night. But to be honest, I must make a complaint. Near the 3/4 mark of the manga you get a series of pages with LOTS of text, explaining the story. Whereas most of the manga has tons of action and little text. To be honest with you, it felt like a little effort to go past this section, but fortunately for me (and for you if you read Basilisk) I was rewarded with an intense/neat continuation and ending.
I can understand that, at some point in the manga, the overall story, the background if you like, had to be explained. It only felt weird to have the whole concentrated in a few pages, whereas the rest of the manga goes smoothly with lots of ninja action and canon. I think that, by the time the author cared to explain, we all (the audience) had come to terms with not knowing the whole. In the mindset of a ninja, or any sort of hired professional assassin, to fulfill the task is all that matters and not “the why”.
The scroll is all that matters.
Basilisk is quite the opposite of more popular mangas like Bleach or Berserker. Because the drawing style is a mismatch with the story. But many times, like false advertisement, the “beautiful” drawings get our attention towards poorly developed stories. To read Basilisk is like watching a poem of death and love through the eyes of a child.
There is one thing to say. Once you make the emotional commitment to read Basilisk it deserves a:
8 / 10
Tenzen would approve of a 8 / 10, and you better do to :P Just kidding, your parents still love you… and what not. On the other hand the strongest part of the manga is the story, and the story is based on Futaro Yamada’s book. Thus Basilisk’s take on the story is decent and what not, but praise for the originality should be due to Mr. Yamada. And if anything above rang a bell towards an animated movie called “Ninja Scroll” (1993), well now you know were that master piece took its inspiration from, as well.
P.D. And finally, if I may express my sincere opinion. I can see why Basilisk is not so famous, and perhaps it should remain so. A hidden jewel for those who bring in the patience to, LOVE the manga experience. And I’m not talking about crazed hormonally unstable fan boys or girls, no, I am talking about the true love for a thing well done. [in a whisper that fades away]: Ninja Scroll …