Shigurui (シグルイ, Death Frenzy) is a Japanese animation based on the manga series written and illustrated by Takayuki Yamaguchi. The first 32 chapters of the manga series contribute to the plot here. There are no news if the rest of the series will be made into animation.
Shigurui is not for anyone with a weak stomach. It's by far one of the most graphically violent anime I have watched to date. Unlike other hack and slash anime, the characters in Shigurui spill actual guts when (pardon the pun) gutted, you can see the actual intestines and brains splat. Shigurui also contains quite a lot of graphically explicit scenes of nudity — no outright hentai though.
The story starts with two samurais in a final showdown at a sword tournament. One end stands Gennosuke Fujiki with only one arm, the other dragging his feet along is Seigen Irako who's a blind cripple. You know on the spot they are out for each others' blood. The anime depicts the circumstances that lead to the showdown using flashbacks mixing with storytelling. It's a moving and thrilling tale of how fate has intertwined the two swordsman, both disciples of the same sword master, competing for the right to his legacy and his daughter.
The artwork of Shigurui is filled with scenes of symbolic imagery, the pace is slow, but not draggy. The general look of the anime is largely done in lighter colours, very much like water painting, with fight scenes more vividly coloured because of the blood. Fight scenes are typically short, focusing on sword techniques rather than the number of corpses piled up.
While watching the series, the potential for a great ending grew with each episode I watched... except that, that ending never came. It left me wanting for more. At the end of episode 12, we are left with the scene where Fujiki and Seigen Irako prepare to face each other one last time.. and that is.. that.
This anime has good artwork, pace and fight scenes. The only short coming is the lack of a proper ending.
I give it 3/5 stars, it would have garnered a 4 if the ending was there.
A little disclaimer for the Youtube video below. The music's not from the anime.
Where to find it
Visit the links below to read more reviews on Amazon. There are other disc formats available also. Do note the region code for the disc and your player before buying.