February 02, 2011
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Title: Katanagatari
Genre: Action, Romance
Rating: 9.3/10

Katanagatari

Summary: This story teakes place in the Edo era where Yasuri Shichika is the seventh head of the Kyotou school of Japanese sword martial arts living in Fushou Island with his sister Nanami. With the order from a female samurai general Togame, he sets out for a trip to collect the twelve treasured swords created by a legendary swordsmith Shikizaki Kiki.

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Review: Jaw dropping anime that took what series should be like to a whole new level. I couldn’t believe how magnificent this anime turned out. The screenshots show the beauty and elegance of this anime from day one, and these aren’t even the best scenes. I believe that I found a new love, and her name is Katanagatari.

The soundtrack to Katanagatari was excellent. I enjoyed listening to the openings and endings. The female singers were all lovely and had great voices. The background music gave a light hearted, comedic atmosphere and heart pounding intensity. I also enjoyed the details the authors put into the art of the opening and ending. As you can see, Togame’s hair changes from long to short due to certain events in the anime. The openings and endings also changed to compliment that. This gives the audience a sense of progression. Even though the songs weren’t the best I’ve ever heard, the fact that Katanagtari had so many in such a short period of time is something on its own. I’m contemplating getting the OST because there were so many songs that I missed or forgotten because there was so much going on. I’m sure that everyone will find at least one or two songs in there that they like. Ao Dai by Taku Iwasaki for example was a fly hip-hop traditional mix and probably one of my favorite of the tracks.

By looking at the screenshots you can see how visually pleasing Katanagatari was. I couldn’t believe how well the art style complimented the action, comedy, and romance. It was as if everything fit together like a puzzle. Even though the anime was very dialogue heavy for the first half I was still entertained by the lush backgrounds, bold lines, and strong colors. I really liked how the characters stood out from the backgrounds as well. It wasn’t an unnatural feeling like some anime because everything was drawn with precision. The lighting effects created a world that allowed the characters to move freely. As you can see the anime didn’t specialize in only one type of atmosphere like sunsets or nightfall; it had a wide range of different settings, each of them being equally astonishing. What really caught my attention were the different characters. There was not a single instance where any two characters looked similar. I was taken back by the variety of concept designs. More importantly, each character’s personality fit their looks. Shichika for example was a tall, simple dressed man with a strong color scheme. His character was just the same, simple and bold. All of the Manawani Corp. had their own unique costumes that reflected their ninjitsu. Just by looking at the character you got a hint of what special move they may have hidden away.

That brings us to our next point, characters. Every single character left a lasting impression on me. The anime did a phenomenal job giving detailed descriptions and development for every character that was introduced. Yet all of them had a mysterious side to them that kept them interesting. At first I complained about the heavy dialogue, but after a while I learned to appreciate it. Despite being called “Tale of Swords”, Katanagatari went above and beyond by talking about the different swordsman as well. I began to enjoy hearing about the different wielders and how they came to power and why. Each had their own mini-story embedded into Katanagatari, creating a rich tale about the different owners. Long-term characters like Shichika and Togame had clear signs of change that deserves an A+ in character development. Neither of their attitudes seemed to flip a 180 instantaneously. Each gradually began to understand the other and their relationship benefited from it. At the very end you can feel the passion Shichika and Togame have for each other, despite what they say. Even though the anime had long gaps between each episode I felt like I was there each step of the way. The episodes didn’t seem jumpy or incomplete. As you watch them on their travels, it feels as though you were standing right beside them the whole time.

The story was one of the best I have seen in a while. This is what an anime is all about. Before I knew it I was anxiously waiting for the next episode to release. Katanagatari is one of those anime that set a new bar for every genre it covered, and let me tell you, it had it all. I laughed when Shichika would tease Togame, or not understand the social situation. I sat at the edge of my seat as the fight hit a boiling point, the fighters focused and pumping with adrenaline. I cried, smiled, and clenched my fist as I watched Shichika and Togame grow closer and closer every episode. Katanagatari was something more than just a tale about two people on an adventure. It was more than just a bond between two people. It was more than just another action show. It was more than an anime. Katanagatari gave importance to the smallest details and emphasized big ones. The story wasn’t complex, but it was mind blowing. I can’t explain how great the story was without giving any of it away. But I assure that it is probably one of the best you have seen in a while. Sitting here right now thinking about it gets my hands shaking from excitement. It did take a while to get the ball rolling, but once it started it couldn’t be stopped. From the minute things started to heat up to the second before the final episode ended I was entranced. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen once the episode started. Once I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. Episode eleven sky rocketed my rating of the anime, paving the way to have the series end in a bang.

Final statements: This is a must watch for everyone because the story alone makes the anime worth watching. I warn you that it does start extremely slow and is dialogue heavy. However, as the anime progresses it balances out and ends on a high note.

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