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EP. REVIEW: Blade of the Immortal


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Panino Manino



Joined: 28 Jan 2018
Posts: 463
PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:27 pm Reply with quote
#14
Now this is an episode that I can't defend.
Why they did this?
If you're going to cut so much, if you have to cut so much because the number of episodes is so limited, I can't understand. But focus! Why they didn't made this episode solely about that prison cell and the experiments, making Burando the protagonist and villain? Forget Rin for a time, what about that "stand alone" format from the beginning? This could very well be one of those episodes, and be a memorable one, with a strong style about that disturbing situation. The "humor" with those guards that wish they didn't had that job worked well, but this arc is not for laughs, it's about pain and despair, and mad barbaric obsessions.

Instead, half of the episode was about Rin, not giving enough time for her to develop a new relationship to Doa and Isaque, and also to reminds us that yes, they'll cut all of Hyakurin and Giichi's story!

Why?!
It's not that this adaptation is bad, on the contrary, it's that it's going bad, and by not doing what was doing before.

Didn't you also felt that this episode ended in the middle of a scene out of nowhere?
And why show us that post credit scene? Who is interested in knowing about that now?
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RedSwirl



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:26 pm Reply with quote
Panino Manino wrote:
#14
Now this is an episode that I can't defend.
Why they did this?
If you're going to cut so much, if you have to cut so much because the number of episodes is so limited, I can't understand. But focus! Why they didn't made this episode solely about that prison cell and the experiments, making Burando the protagonist and villain? Forget Rin for a time, what about that "stand alone" format from the beginning? This could very well be one of those episodes, and be a memorable one, with a strong style about that disturbing situation. The "humor" with those guards that wish they didn't had that job worked well, but this arc is not for laughs, it's about pain and despair, and mad barbaric obsessions.

Instead, half of the episode was about Rin, not giving enough time for her to develop a new relationship to Doa and Isaque, and also to reminds us that yes, they'll cut all of Hyakurin and Giichi's story!

Why?!
It's not that this adaptation is bad, on the contrary, it's that it's going bad, and by not doing what was doing before.

Didn't you also felt that this episode ended in the middle of a scene out of nowhere?
And why show us that post credit scene? Who is interested in knowing about that now?


Personally, I can understand why a lot of viewers today might have issues with the Hyakurin & Giichi scene. I wouldn't be surprised if they cut that whole plot point now.
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Panino Manino



Joined: 28 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:25 pm Reply with quote
RedSwirl wrote:

Personally, I can understand why a lot of viewers today might have issues with the Hyakurin & Giichi scene. I wouldn't be surprised if they cut that whole plot point now.

Episode 13 showed that spoiler[Hyakurin is pregnant (in a subtle way)], but why keep this is they will not keep her story with Giichi? It's pointless.
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Panino Manino



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:46 pm Reply with quote
#15
I'm very, very disappointed by this second half.
They had a wining formula in the first half, why they changed?
Not concentrating at one plot at a time is hurting everything, and the lack of animation during Rin's parts are painful to watch.
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Panino Manino



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:52 pm Reply with quote
#16
I'll not translate this a third time to post it here, I'll just say that yes, I'm very disappointed by this second half. It's being wasted.
Would be much better to end the series with this arc and do the rest in 12 more episodes if there was any interest.

@Gina Szanboti
As you can see, Rin isn't crying anymore.
But who cares now...
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:38 pm Reply with quote
Good grief, this most recent arc is grisly. I suppose that shouldn't surprise me given past arcs, but I feel like they've really dialed ``Yes, yes, the viewer will be uncomfortable'' up yet another notch. Have to imagine that it's also not a great sign we haven't seen Manji roughly since his lovely medical doctor's psychotic break...
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Panino Manino



Joined: 28 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:07 pm Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:
Good grief, this most recent arc is grisly. I suppose that shouldn't surprise me given past arcs, but I feel like they've really dialed ``Yes, yes, the viewer will be uncomfortable'' up yet another notch. Have to imagine that it's also not a great sign we haven't seen Manji roughly since his lovely medical doctor's psychotic break...

You think this is "uncomfortable"? Meanwhile I'm complaining that the anime isn't making this arc isn't uncomfortable enough.

#17

The arc ende.
Could be worse?
It could, but even so, what's the point in adapting an arc from a story and cut more than half of the drama in it?
I understand that the staff does what they can with the "budget" (money and hands to work) they have available for the episodes, however "as a fan" is maddening seeing parts of the story being made on auto. The lack of "photography" and sakugas hurt this arc a lot, specially all these scenes inside the prison. Practically only the short fight between Doa and Asaemon looked like was decently animated. Too like for all the good and really good moments and panels that are missing. But this isn't the problem, the real problem is really all the story that was cut.

This arc didn't managed to portray all the drama and suffering, all the hard work and struggle that was necessary to rescue Manji. Everything was rushed when each corridor conquered was an achievement. And with all these cuts the anime left out a lot of dialogue with details that make the difference, that makes the drama and conflicts makes sense. They must have intentionally done this to end this arc fast and we ended with these episodes with almost not worth left.

Now we pray that the rest of the series will come back to that same level from the first half.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:15 pm Reply with quote
Yes, I find it uncomfortable to watch a man's body parts be iteratively swapped out with those of other men, until - presumably - very little of his original body remains.

I'm just starting on Episode 17 now, though, and they don't seem to have played up that aspect very much at all, which I find a bit startling -- and think is kind of an odd choice, given how they had structured this arc before this point. I pretty much expected that by the time we stopped focusing on the doctor's mental breakdown and finally got to see Manji again that he'd, mentally, be a [expletive] mess, because, bodily, he'd just be a mishmash of hundreds of random peoples' body parts that don't work terribly well together and leave Manji a helpless monstrosity.

That doesn't seem to be materializing, from the first minute or two of this latest episode, so maybe the growing sense of surgically-imposed body-horror dread I gathered during the last episode or two was just me getting grandly trolled.
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Cam0



Joined: 13 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:32 pm Reply with quote
I think the idea behind the experiments was to give Manji's body part to someone, have that body part transfer some of that immortality goodness to the new dude and then switch out body parts again (with the added bonus of the original mortal body part having been enhanced by Manji's immortality). This way they could potentially use Manji to create as many immortal people as they want instead of eventually running out of Manji parts. So Manji was just having his limbs cut off and reattached over and over again.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:40 pm Reply with quote
If that's so, I must've missed them switching Manji's limbs back to him. That is, I thought the process was:

1. Chop off Dewanosuke's hand
2. Chop off Manji's hand
3. Trade hands
4. Done (it's the blood that matters, not the exterior of the body part, so presumably the worm-things will reproduce and both people can be immortal-ish now -- but, Manji now starts losing parts of his body one-by-one, and becomes a mishmash chimera of person-parts)

But it sounds like you're saying the process was? :

1. Chop off Dewanosuke's hand
2. Chop off Manji's hand
3. Trade hands
4. Wait for worms to reproduce
5. Trade hands back again

I don't remember 5 ever happening, but maybe I just missed it?

I am not sure the doctor/Kagimura doing 5 makes much sense in context, though (even if this is in fact what the story suggests, and I just overlooked it). The doctor very, very clearly, after his mental break, did not see Manji as more than a dehumanized resource; in fact, this dehumanization seems to be very much the point of the doc's psychotic episode 'arc': he struggles balancing 'do no harm' with 'well, OK, but also I'm gonna use this Manji fellow and this lovable troupe of rogues-criminals as if they were frog cadavers', and he resolves this conflict by re-classifying Manji as a devil, except that he can't really honestly bring himself to fully commit to that, so he also has to destroy/craze/subjugate part of himself in order to get to where he ... wants? .. to go, psychologically speaking. And, of course, Kagimura never saw Manji as anything but an exploitable resource -- he doesn't even seem to harbor any serious ill will toward Manji, for all that he a single dispassionate time mentions Manji killing some of his men. Kagimura basically just treats Manji like an unfeeling rock from which he can drag immortality at blade's edge.

So, from the doctor and Kagimura's (deranged) perspectives, it'd seem natural to just leave Manji with whatever weird spare body parts he ends up with as they iterate (once they verify that his immortality persists despite this, in the early trials, anyway). As a bonus (again, from their deranged perspectives), it would also rapidly weaken Manji -- and, given that we see him nearly escape during the Dewanosuke "trial," before Kagimura shows up, that'd be an obvious advantage from his captors' perspectives.

That train of thought puts me in an awkward spot, though: I am incredibly glad they didn't do that, because .. y'know, wow, ugh.

But, I think it would have made more sense to go down that route, and would have made for a somewhat more well-structured story (though still with plenty of large problems in the show's structure in earlier arcs; it's already committed many show-sins). Doing what I feared they were doing would have, first, given clear purpose to not showing us much of Manji's situation for an episode or two (which should catch the viewer's attention, and James I think also wondered about it, from his review back in Ep 15: "Why does Manji get barely any screen time in an episode so focused on his torture and imprisonment?") while the doctor's psychotic break worked its way out: not seeing Manji but knowing what is happening to him contributes to a building suspense & sense of dread, which would culminate -- in my fictional Ep 17 --- with the sudden, visceral realization that.. oh god, look how much he's changed, what they've done to him, what they've taken from him.. This outcome would also have even more dramatically juxtaposed Rin and Manji's role-swap in vulnerability/weakness (although maybe ludicrously so, a danger if ill-managed), and would have clearly demonstrated just how ghoulishly awful the logical end of the doctor and Kagimura's attitudes is (which is maybe not in doubt in the sense that the show's made it clear they're bad dudes, but there's a bloody emotional difference between horror-surgeon and blasé generic shounen villain # 7). And, it certainly would have evoked more feeling (albeit mostly disgust and sympathy) from me in Episode 17: as is, it was just standard jailbreak adventure fare, which is generally cool with me and was engaging enough, but felt out of step with -- and did nothing notable to build upon -- the horrific tone set by the past few episodes, in my opinion. In short, in my disturbing and apparently wrong head-canon, which had been increasingly building up until Ep 17 popped it, not showing us Manji much for a few episodes was an incredibly purposeful artistic choice, not happenstance, and was done to make the reveal of Manji's final state all the more affecting.

Maybe the amount of thought the above hopefully illustrates that I put into this also makes it clear why I found the viewing experience so incredibly uncomfortable, heh. The way this played out in my forecasted head-canon, as of watching Episode 16 -- especially on seeing the literal hundreds of haphazardly dissected corpses, during Rin and her Itto-Ryu lady-pal's break-in -- was enormously more disturbing than what Episode 17 ultimately portrayed. Really, they did the very opposite of what I expected: not only was Manji basically in slightly anesthetized, a little bit weakened but otherwise bizarrely pristine shape, the show couldn't even commit to Isaku being dead!

That is not at all what I expected of this show, with its hyper-graphic ultra-violence and rape scenes and brutally murdered ever-suffering loved ones and general here-is-suffering-dear-viewer-now-deal-with-it (or maybe even revel in it, erm, as seemed to somewhat grotesquely be proposed by the framing in several cases--the show enjoys its intensely graphic murder, and even in its rape scenes it goes out of its way to show how attractive the female characters involved are) attitude, especially on the heels of the building sense of surgical body-horror I was getting from my understanding of the narrative in this latest arc.

Instead of .. all of the above, Episode 17 was .. almost saccharine? The transition from Episode 16 to Episode 17 felt as if I had lurched out of a terrifying horrorscape and suddenly into somewhere near the conclusion of a standard shounen anime world/story's endgame, right as our plucky, goofy, nakama-loving, never-genuinely-endangered-always-miraculously-surviving heroes are goomba-stomping the bad guys.

If I had to pick another show to illustrate what I had instead been expecting, as of the end of Episode 16, I would say that I was thinking Manji's state in Episode 17 was going to remind me of -- and perhaps even savage me worse than -- several occasions in Shin Sekai Yori, notably spoiler[the state of the overthrown, subjugated 'queen', and the eventual state of the to-goo-devolved main "antagonist", if you can call him that.]

Yes. That is why I was uncomfortable (<= Ep 16), and why I was surprised (Ep 17), and .. not exactly disappointed, but certainly pushed to deeper criticism. A bit odd, that I feel compelled to write so much about this show, which has been so deeply flawed and not-exactly-poorly-but-certainly-not-well told -- but, I guess this latest arc got especially under my skin. And, the show seems to house some complex ideas and characters, even if they never really were shared with us in the way the author may have intended.

Or I just have too much time on my hands. Razz


Last edited by NeverConvex on Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Panino Manino



Joined: 28 Jan 2018
Posts: 463
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:04 pm Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:

he struggles balancing 'do no harm' with 'well, OK, but also I'm gonna use this Manji fellow as if he were a frog cadaver', and he resolves this conflict by re-classifying Manji as a devil, except that he can't really honestly bring himself to fully commit to that, so he also has to destroy/destroy/subjugate part of himself in order to get to where he ... wants? .. to go, psychologically speaking.

We had complained about the poor subtitles earlier, but this amount of cuts gets to a point were the quality of the subtitles makes no difference.

I comment in a thread on twitter before stopping to write anywhere else.
Because I was very disappointed with the last episodes I didn't wrote much here. So if you're curious you may read what I was writing starting from episode 16.

Again, they should had adapted just until this arc, or them really ADAPT the story cutting out this arc somehow and Shira's remaining participation in the story.
That episodic format was working very well and could be used to better explore and expand some characters. For example, wouldn't be wonderful if episode 16 was really about Doa and Isaku? He being a failed christian priest and she a "pagan", he having to deal with someone that kills so easily and he himself starting to kill going against his faith... so much potential, and everything could be tied to the theme of revenge and forgiveness.
Including Burando.
But no, they did this whole second half till now on auto cutting all the juices for the story and character relationships. What's the point? How to make sense of this after having watched the first half?

This is specially painful for Rin.
Shouldn't she supposed to be the protagonist? Her growth, specially her psychological growth, matters tremendously. There's scenes and dialogues here that are tied with her relationship to Anotsu. Everything was compromised, how to have high hopes about the rest of the episodes after this?

I understand, they had to do what they could do given the circumstances, but we are discussing the results here. This adaptation is failing.

NeverConvex wrote:

Really, they did the very opposite of what I expected: not only was Manji basically in slightly anesthetized, a little bit weakened but otherwise bizarrely pristine shape, the show couldn't even commit to Isaku being dead!

First, Rin remarks (not in the anime, of course) how strong and well Manji is after everything they did with him FOR MONTHS. This is the power of the worms.
Second, Isaku of all people turning immortal and remaining sane should be a very interesting detail and something that they could have explored in a hypothetical better adaptation. He died, and resurrected, just like...

Sonic understands.

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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:13 pm Reply with quote
I think the "Isaku came back to life like..." symbolism is kind've neat but not nearly enough so to justify it. I think I could have appreciated that detail a great deal more if someone I cared about had died or suffered in Episode 17 -- the absolute about-face in tone and vulnerability of characters was both unexpected and ruinous to a narrative that had been built on an overwhelming atmosphere of brutal suffering prior to that point, and had provided no satisfying reason to expect that to end.

As is, I just feel artificially emotionally manipulated & cheated, on several levels:

- misled by the surgical body-horror thing I very clearly got worked up and freaked out about
- misled by the "Isaku's dead! Haha j/k" shounen 'twist', including a total lack of consequences for his vivisection (he doesn't even show any signs of loss of self from his death, unlike the other 'not quite live but not quite dead' background zombie-characters...)
- misled about the state of Manji's health and suffering ('B-but magic blood-worms!' within-universe explains him being friggin' genki as heck, but unfortunately it doesn't justify or explain that as an out-of-universe narrative choice made by the author, which is the actual issue)

Also, uh, I think I had a fourth bullet, but I suppose arithmetic's not my strong suit tonight.

EDIT: I do completely agree that a deeper look at Isaku and Doa would have been awesome. I thought even the brief look we got at their story was both well done and compelling. Although, well, it may be that I found it well-done and compelling because it was brief, I guess---a more thorough telling tends to expose holes.

I really enjoyed them as characters, anyway, especially Doa.

EDIT2: In fact, perhaps my primary disappointment in Episode 17 -- aside from the wall of words of disappointments I listed above, heh -- was that Doa wasn't the one to wreck the sadistic baldie. Oh, and as a minor aside, I was super confused: just how did she get away after he chopped her iron head-plate in half? And, uh ... isn't that thing welded on to her head? I had assumed it was itself some sort surgical implant, not a removable fashion accessory...
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Cam0



Joined: 13 Dec 2009
Posts: 4100
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:06 am Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:

1. Chop off Dewanosuke's hand
2. Chop off Manji's hand
3. Trade hands
4. Wait for worms to reproduce
5. Trade hands back again

I don't remember 5 ever happening, but maybe I just missed it?


They did trade back hands again, sort of. In episode 15 Mad Scientist dude says "There were two surgeries today. The return of both subjects' right arms, and then the stitching of their left arms." Right after that (I think) they test the healing powers of Dewanosuke's (original) reattached right arm and notice that it has healing powers. After seemingly trading left arms Dewanosuke is seen recovering in bed. The nurse comments "Even with his fever this high?" and the Mad Scientist tells her to get smelling salts. After that there's a "final test" so I made a leap of logic and assumed they traded back the left arms or traded more limbs and just left out all the part of waiting and reattaching original limbs because of frantic pacing. Since Mad Scientist celebrated how Dewanosuke's original right arm had gained healing powers I assumed the idea was to make Dewanosuke's original body immortal.

As for why would the Mad Scientist bother returning limbs to Manji after going psychotic, I dunno. Probably the writer just wanted to be a bit merciful. Manji not being at least a bit mind broken after all this does seem a bit too good to be true as well and I agree that "but bloodworms" isn't a satisfying enough justification.
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Panino Manino



Joined: 28 Jan 2018
Posts: 463
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:29 am Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:
Oh, and as a minor aside, I was super confused: just how did she get away after he chopped her iron head-plate in half? And, uh ... isn't that thing welded on to her head? I had assumed it was itself some sort surgical implant, not a removable fashion accessory...

Now you're seeing things... it's her hat! Is a helmet disguised as a hat.

If the episodes made you feel "things", this is good, isn't it? What was missing as a bit more of catharsis in the end.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:41 am Reply with quote
cam0: ah, thanks. Must've missed that now-we-swap-em-back bit. Doesn't fundamentally change how I feel about the story choices, but good to at least know what the intended story was.

Panino: yeah, I think I was just not paying much attention to her hat when it was introduced previously and filled in the details on my own.

Evoking feeling is definitely good. Part of my point above, though, was that I think they missed an opportunity to do that a lot more effectively. A dark, painful opportunity, but nonetheless.
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