Monday, October 26, 2009


Basilisk is a Japanese manga/anime series. Written by Masaki Segawa in 2003 & 2004, based on the The Kouga ninja scrolls by Futaro Yamada published in 1958. The anime was released in 2005 by GONZO studios. Though this anime is not really historical it is based in 1614 in Medieval Japan.

 Basilisk won the 2004 Kondasha Manga Award for general Manga

Two rival Clans, the Iga Tsubagakure & Kouga Manjidani, who have hated each other since anyone can remember. But they have been forced by Hattori Hanzo I to cease their fighting.But tension between the two clans continue.
Shogun Ieyasu is ready to retire and wants to hand over power to his son, Hidetada but soon a sucession crisis appears and threatens to tear the shogunate apart. Ieyasu calls off the cease-fire between the two clans. Each Clan represents one of the factions of supporting Ieyasu's grandsons. They must choose 10 of their finest warriors to fight 10 warrior from the other clan in a kill or be killed manner. Which ever clan kills the chosen 10 from the other will be given favor for a 1000 years and the grandson the represent will suceed Ieyasu.
Before this conflict began, the heir to the Iga & Kouga, Oboro & Gennosuke are engaged in hopes that their marriage will stop the fighting between the two clans. But they must either choose to kill the one they love or risk the totally annihilation of their clans.


When all is said and done, and only Oboro and Gennosuke remain of the two clans. They must face off in a final frontation. Oboro unwilling to kill the one she so dearly loves, kills herself (uttering "I love you Gennosuke-sama" before dying). Gennosuke, hear-broken, decides to take his life as well. Before he stabs himself, he writes that the last person alive was Oboro.

Basilisk also has a live action movie counterpart called "Shinobi : Heart Under A Blade".The plot is basically the same except that instead of Oboro AND Gennosuke having the mystic eyes, only Oboro has the special eyes (the combined powers of Gennosuke and Oboro). Instead of 10 nin there are only 6. The drama between the ninja are not apparent in the movie (except for that of Kagerou and Gennosuke). The Movie ends with Gennosuke and Oboro in a final battle. Gennosuke lets Oboro kill him. The whole point of sending the shinobi off to fight each other so that their villages will be defenseless. When Oboro goes to tell Ieyasu that she is the sole survivor, she discovers that her village and that of the Manjidani are under attack. She begs him to leave them be but Ieyasu says he can not, claiming that the ninja are to dangerous, using her dojitsu as an example. Oboro then blinds herself to prove that she is harmless. In the end, Ieyasu relents and leaves the villages. I understand that when you make a book or TV show into a movie, you have to cut things. And I didn't mind the loss of some characters. But however, the story lost some of its good features during the cutting of characters. I give the movie a 3/5.  

I give this a 5/5 It was simply brilliant. The drama played about between all the characters was stunning. The timeless love story of doomed loved has never been more appealing. The story was rich with romance, suspense, and violence. I didn't like the art so much. The story plot could not have been better. Entertaining and Witty. I would rate is 16+ for its violence but other than that I would definitely suggest this for ALL!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Frozen Flower

A Frozen Flower is a 2008 Korean Film directed by Yu ha. A story particularly controversial is the characters’ violation of royal family protocol and their pursuit of love. I am not a 100% sure that this movie is based on a true story but the fact that it's historically based is just fine with me.

Set near the end of the Goryeo era (AD 918 ~ 1392). The story is about a love triangle between King, His Queen, and the Commander of the Kunryoungwe, Hong Lim.The King and Hong Lim are in the beginning lovers while the Queen sleeps in a cold bed with no hope of having children. Because the King does not have an heir, the Yuan Dynasty in China wants to put one of its members on the Goryeo throne. The King knows that he can not produce an heir because he can not get it up for a woman, so he asks his lover Hong Lim to impregnate his wife for him. Hong Lim first sees it only as a duty he must fulfill for this master but soon he grows to love the Queen.The King then grows jealous towards his wife for snatching his lover away from him, so he asks Hong Lim to stop visiting the Queen's bed chamber. But the bond between the Commander and the Queen has grown too strong and he continues to see her. When the King discovers this he flies into a fit of rage and has Hong Lim castrated. When the King discovers that his wife is pregnant, he decides to accept the child but to make sure that no one will question the legitimacy of the child he orders the executions of all the people involved. The Queen doesn't want Hong Lim to die so she send for him to go to a distant land but he comes back to rescue her. The King and Hong Lim engaged in a fierce battle. The King stabs Hong Lim in the heart and asks whether or not Hong Lim ever loved him. Hong Lim replies no. The King is temporary stunned and Hong Lim stabs him. In the end both men die.

I am giving this movie a 4/5. The plot in the movie was good and I did like the story but then ending was a bit unsettling. I myself am not a big fan of happy endings but this was just weird. I feel rather sorry for the King and wish things had worked better for him. As for the Queen and Hong Lim, I think that they were a bit too selfish. The Movie in itself had far too many sex scenes which in my taste was rather odd. But all in all the movie was fine and I would say if you like lots of drama and Historical Korean (I do) scenery go ahead and watch this. This movie is NOT for minors.    

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne

Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne is a controversial 2006 book by Ben Hills. The book drew criticism from the Men in Black (Imperial Household Agency) and Government of Japan. It is criticized because of its supposed inaccuracies of Princess Aiko as a test-tube baby, Crown Princess Masako is suffer from depression, and that the relationship of the Emperor and the Crown Prince is strained.

The Book is focused around the life of Crown Princess Masako of Japan. The Book begins by describing Princess Masako & Prince Naruhito wedding and how Masako is now part of the Imperial Family. Next the introduce the humble beginnings of the Masako Odawa & the Restricted life of Prince Naruhito. Third, it shows the brief courtship of Prince Naruhito and his future wife, Masako Odawa. After, It shows the married life of Masako and her husband before the birth of Princess Aiko. A chapter is devoted the Princess' problem of not producing an heir. In the book, Ben Hill implies that Princess Aiko is a test-tube baby. The Book ends with Masako's life filled with stress and how she is suffering from depression.

I give this book a 4/5. I thought the book was ok but it was indeed offensive. I know that the stress of being a royal bound by tradition is indeed tiring and thought Hills ranting on that wasn't that bad but I found his claims that Princess Aiko was a test-tube baby was just too outrageous and I don't think that the Japanese Government was overreacting. The book does get a bit boring about 5/8 into the book. I suggest that if you like Japanese History you should check this book out but I would not suggest it for any other History fan.