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DVD Review

Volume 5 - The Shades of Night


Starring (voice): Kousuke Toriumi, Nana Mizuki, Atsushi Imaruoka and Katsuhiro Kitagawa
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 04 February 2008

As this bitter war draws to a close, those that seek to see it through dwindle in number. The cost of hatred weighs heavily on the remnants of both tribes. Confrontation in the night reveals Gennosuke's true intentions, as the hand of reconciliation is extended to the enemy. But death litters the road traveled by ninja feet. Impatience goads political intrigue to seek a more active role in this annihilation of two tribes, and the unseen finally comes to light as those that remain learn of the wager which unleashed this war upon them. But too much has been lost for either side to turn back. No mercy will be spared to the enemy...

Basilisk tells a story of star-crossed love set against the backdrop of a bloody conflict between two rival ninja clans. Based on the popular manga by Masaki Segawa, itself an adaptation of best-selling author Futaro Yamada's 1958 historical novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, and produced by Studio Gonzo (Speed Grapher; Samurai 7; Gantz; Burst Angel), Basilisk is a character-driven period piece packed with super-ninja combat action and plenty of graphic bloodshed.

Episodes on Volume 5 include:

Wandering Hearts: As the Koga clan continues to head towards Sunpu, Oboro's hawk is spotted as it flies by carrying one of the scrolls. As two of the Kouga ninjas pursue the bird, the Iga's Yakushiji Tenzen makes his move only to discover that things might not go as smoothly as he'd expected.

A Dawn Without Light: As the Kouga's Muroga Hyouma battles against Iga's Chikuma Koshirou, we learn that Hyouma was Gennosuke's mentor - it was he who taught Hyouma how to use his ability. We learn this via flashback - which is where most of this episode is set.

Conspiracy: Oboro and Akeginu, of the Iga clan, discover Hyouma's and Koshiro's corpses. Believing that Koshiro was killed by Hyouma, Akeginu does an unholy thing and leaps on Hyouma's corpse, stabbing it repeatedly in anger.

River of Mercy: Still enraged by the discovery of the corpse of Koshiro, Akeginu swears revenge against Kagero after it's revealed that Koshiro was killed by Kagero's poisonous breath.

Sound options available include 5.1 surround sound English dub, or the original Japanese in stereo (with optional subtitles).

Extras include two episodes of Behind the Scenes of Basilisk (First Press Extra #9 and #10 - each of which are 30 minute interviews with various members of the cast. This is hosted by two of the main Japanese cast); Textless Songs; and trailers for other shows.

If you haven't been following this show, then this is not the disc to start with. To be honest, I had a bit of a problem following these episodes - and I've read the manga several times. However, if you're prepared to concentrate then these four episodes add much to the ongoing plot.


Nick Smithson

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