Blade Of The Immortal Im sure if you were to seek reviews that solely aim to sell you on the series you could find plenty elsewhere. What I am trying to accomplish is to express my experience with this wonderful series. This expression hopefully conveys all of my thoughts on it. Both positive and negative. Blade of The Immortal is in many ways a different take on the samurais. One that abandons the vainglory of bushido that spits on the face of dojos and ignores the many tropes attached to samurai but above both these it is a story that decries those who oppose the inevitable change that comes when Father Time sets foot on your land. When viewed under this lens it becomes clear what the story is really about and what the immortal protagonist Manji is all about. Manji is time. He is the irreplicable force that will put an end to orderthe Bakufu and chaosIttoRyu alike. The two antagonistic forces of the story the Bakufu and the IttoRyu are exactly that. The IttoRyu is anarchic in its philosophy of the blade their methods and hierarchy all point to being an organization that wreaks havoc and maintains order purely through the chaos. The Bakufu is fearsome but also fears the agent of chaos that plagues its governance. We get to see how it uses the fruit of order to quell rising chaos. In between this rising conflict is Manji accompanied by a kind weak and troublesome child known as Rin. The action in this manga is nothing less than stellar. Utilizing several unique visual choices to create a memorable identity to its battles. In fact Id go to the lengths of saying Blade of the Immortal has some of my favorite battles of all manga. Its not balls to the wall crazy with how exaggerated the action is but it does take some leaps in realism to craft unique martial arts and weapon styles. I welcome it dearly for this is where Samura gets to play with his personal love for weapons and combat and his creativity comes out in full force. Yet all this would mean very little if the plot and the actual characters were not worth reading about. The plot is loose a revenge story is what drives us forward but its rarely the point the actual story is discovering the fate of the two antagonistic forces when this meddlesome intruder Manjiand Rin steps into the fray along with them. And thats a wonderful story to see play out. The protagonist duo is beyond fascinating in how the story uses them. Rin has her frustrating moments with her being naive weak and indecisive but she seeks vengeance and asks the question many protagonists ask when they set for the quest of vengeance. Questions about morality the value of life and more. However the answer Rin finds and the lack of preaching to the reader left a huge impression on me and by the end what she chose to do made me respect her greatlyalthough by then I respected her well enough. Manji is one of a kind his personality is not entirely unique but the narratives choice to be so unforgiving to him is one that makes him really endearing. His immortality has never been kind to him. It comes with terrible costs that make the ending of the series something else entirely for me. His motivations grow to be more nuanced as time goes on and his personality more loveable. The antagonists sometimes are the protagonists. Their goals are the central conflicts of the larger story so when Samura decides to shift from Manji and Rin to Anotsu or Habaki we do not question it. Its a natural choice to do so. The antagonists go through their own series of successes and failures. All these characters come across each other form interesting relationships grow from those relationships and take actions that reflect the point at which they are in their journey to selfactualization. Well that is how a character arc should play out but I wanted to stress it because all these things happen with an accentuation in those respective stages. So many interesting relations so many interesting developments and such memorable courses of action. Blade of the Immortal is just a series of this that goes up to its climax. And then it ends spectacularly leaving me in catharsis and melancholy. There is very little I do not like about BOTI. Yet there are some that I feel I must mention. The pacing is off at times. Notably in the beginning when we venture into this faux villainoftheweek format the arrival of a particular character completely changes this and we are now on a rollercoaster of excitement. There are some possible dull moments in the future but I believe their payoffs are immensely worthwhile. The art may not be for everybody. I personally had some gripes early on but Samura evolved and really elevated his style. Now BOTIs unique look gives me life. You might have to pay attention to the glossary a bit since a lot of Japanese terms and names pop up and they could get confusing. The English volumes released by Dark Horse are mirrored. You read left to right like a normal comic book this could take a while to get used to but I have faith in you. Dont be a wimp and back off for something silly like that. I urge anyone who reads this to stop reading this and start reading BOTI.
94 /100
26 out of 27 users liked this review