Katanagatari

katanagatari

Shichika Yasuri’s was exiled alongside his father and sister to an island when he was just a young boy. Since then, he has lived on that island, learning Kyotouryuu, a technique that uses the human body as a blade, from his father and eventually succeeding him as the seventh Kyotouryuu head. He is content to live in exile with his sister, until one day a woman named Togame barges in. She’s a strategist on a quest to gather the 12 swords known as the Deviant Blades for the shogunate in order to increase her own standing. To that end she’s sought out the Kyoutarou head, as he’s both powerful enough to do so and should have no desire to keep the swords, which is what led those that she previously worked with, the Maniwa Ninja, to betray her. And to that end, she arrogantly commands him to fall in love with her. And he does, kind of. Living on an island with only two other people, he knows very little about the world, and even less about how to deal with his own emotions. But as he journeys with Togame, he slowly opens up to her, and discovers the feelings truly driving him, making him more than just a sword, for better or for worse.

***

This anime is the tale of a journey. While the ultimate goal is to collect twelve swords, why they’re collecting them isn’t the focus at all for most of the anime, but rather how they go about collecting them and what happens to them while doing so is. This primarily means the focus is in regards to the character and relationship development of the two main characters, and growth definitely does occur in both of them. However, just because a character goes through growth doesn’t necessarily make them a good character, which is a major problem with Shichika. I found Shichika not likable at all. He wasn’t in the beginning because he pretty much lacked character completely, and though that changed in that he definitely has a character and personality by the end, it wasn’t one that I was all that fond of, especially in the context of the overall story. Hence, I was not invested in his journey at all. Regarding Togame, she’s much more likable and she too does go through some growth, but how the end of her character arc went down left me immensely bitter, and thus I have nothing but negative feelings regarding her role in the story as well. As for the their relationship, it was cute at times, but largely felt like it just sort of happened rather than something that was actually developed. So I didn’t feel all that much investment there either. Now on top of that, add in that the people that they were taking the swords from, often by killing them, were interesting and often likable, meaning more so than the protagonists themselves, and in the end I just couldn’t find any reason to be rooting for the protagonists or find any satisfaction in their victories, successes, or growth. This is sort of acknowledged at one point, where even Shichika is shown as feeling regret, but his response to that, that its fine because he’s doing it for Togame, may be fine for himself, but did absolutely nothing for me. Now, while the overarching story isn’t all that important other than the ending, I would like to mention that it isn’t very good, in that it gets overtly convoluted at the end and pushes into an ending that is tremendously unsatisfying. The ultimate point seems to be that in the end there was no point, which I am really not all that fond of.

In general, the humor was decent but it got somewhat repetitive, mainly due to the fact that it generally involved the relationship between Shichika and Togame, which I was getting tired of. The action was pretty solid, and essentially every battle involved a strategy or trick that was pretty well done, so in that regard I think it did a great job. The last episode especially was amazing in that regard. A major problem surrounding that though, is that the show felt so incredibly slow. This is a monthly series with 50 minute episodes, but it really felt like they could have fit it into a standard 25 minute episode. There were a lot of parts that were both dull and seemed entirely pointless, at which point I felt I had to force myself to keep going. But even for the intense emotional moments that they mostly did a great job with and had a lot of impact, they were dragged out to be so long that the impact sort of fizzled out.

The art style is different from other shows but is mostly pretty solid with good animation. There was a random art style change in episode 7 though that I thought wasn’t very good at all. The music was kind of strange but it grew on me by the end, with the music playing during the final battle being worth mentioning as feeling perfect. The OPs were solid in terms of audio and visuals. The ED didn’t have much in terms of visuals, and had a different track for each episode, which were mostly good but not too memorable.

A really slow story about the journey of characters that are hard to get invested in leading up to a disappointing end.

6/10

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