Modern Visual Culture

Recommended Works

Blade of the Immortal


Mangaka: Hiroaki Samura 沙村 広明
Born: 17th of Feb, 1970
Original Publisher: Kodansha
English Language Publisher:
Published: June 1993 to December 2012
Status: Finished
Number of Volumes: 30
Serialized: Monthly Afternoon 月刊アフタヌーン
Genre: Martial Arts, Supernatural
Demographic: seinen

    An epic revenge tale set in 18th century Japan, Blade of the Immortal has an interesting twist: the swordsman Manji has been made immortal by an infestation of kessen-chu, blood worms that invade the body and knit together any injuries sustained afterwards. Manji can thus only be killed by losing his head, or by being dosed with a rare poison. His preternaturally long years have granted Manji an incredibly deep expertise in killing, and a deep and abiding cynicism.

    Granted the chance to regain his mortality if he kills one thousand evil men, he roams Japan, trying to figure out just who is evil and who is good, and killing whomever he decides is evil. Along the way, he becomes the bodyguard of Rin, a young girl who is seeking revenge against the renegade sword school whose members brutally slaughtered her family. Rin and Manji journey together through feudal Japan, hunting down members of the renegade sword school, fending off attacks from a range of villains, and making friends with a number of people, some of whom are themselves morally questionable.

    Hiroaki Samura’s artwork is incredible, particularly the fight scenes. Visually, the series strikes an interesting balance between historical accuracy, vivid anachronisms, and imaginative but mostly plausible weaponry.

    A great collection of supporting characters round out the excellent story.
    Background & Impact
    Bee Train studio along with Production I.G produced a 13-episode anime adaptation in 2008.