Genres: Action, Historical, Martial Arts
This historical anime is roughly based on Japan’s Edo era and centers on a legend of a swordsmith named Shikizaki Kiki. Shikizaki’s final 12 swords were said to be perfect, yet perversely poisonous to their owner. Anyone owning all 12 swords could easily rule the world. Counterpoint to this over-story, a young man named Shichika Yasuri, in exile for his entire life, has become a master of Kyotouryuu. Kyotouryuu is a style of swordsmanship that in fact, uses no sword at all. His father, the original exile, taught him this before his death (one year before the series starts).
Shichika and his sister Nanami live alone, in peace on their little island. A young woman named Togame, strategist to the Shogun, comes to the island in search of his father. Finding only Shichika, she decides that he will be the one to help her obtain the 12 swords of legend. In truth, she has sought out the son of the man who killed her father. She wants to use him to obtain the tools to take back her rightful place. However, it appears she may be developing feelings for Shichika.
The first sword wielder, a creepy ninja named Komori Maniwa, accidently engages Shichika in combat. Learning the hard way that trickery and conniving lies cannot affect someone who has been detached from humanity for so long, Komori is beaten to pieces. With the first sword in hand, Shichika and Togame leave for the mainland. Seeking out the next wielder, they find him in a deserted castle. This castle is the last remnant of a long dead empire. Ginkaku Uneri, a lightning fast swordsman, falls to Shichika creativity. The second sword is carefully wrapped for transit, and our pair continue onward.
This series differs from most other anime in that it runs once a month for about 50 minutes. Its art style is a bit different from the norm in that the character style is unique, but I found that this quickly became less noticeable to me. I also was not aware initially that the episode was 50 minutes each; I was thoroughly entertained and had no idea where the time went. That alone gives this series a really high mark. The release schedule is a bit slow, but the quality seems worth it.
Overall Hook Rating: A