Basilisk (manga)

Basilisk (manga)

Infobox animanga/Header
name = Basilisk

caption = Kouga Gennosuke on the cover of Basilisk volume 1.
ja_name = バジリスク~甲賀忍法帖~
ja_name_trans = Basilisk - Book of the Kouga Ninja Arts
genre = Action, Historical fantasy
Infobox animanga/Manga
title =
author = Masaki Segawa
publisher = flagicon|Japan Kodansha
flagicon|Canada flagicon|United States Del Rey Manga
flagicon|United Kingdom Tanoshimi
publisher_other = flagicon|Germany Heyne
demographic = Seinen
magazine = flagicon|Japan Young Magazine Uppers
first = February 2003
last = July 2004
volumes = 5 [Ann manga|id=4772. Accessed 2007-02-21.]
Infobox animanga/Anime
title =
director = Fumitomo Kizaki
studio = Gonzo
network = flagicon|Japan TV Saitama, Animax, TV Kanagawa, Chiba TV, Mie TV, KBS, AT-X, Jidaigeki Senmon Channel
network_other = flagicon|Canada Razer
flagicon|United States IFC
flagicon|Malaysia NTV7
flagicon|Portugal SIC Radical
flagicon|Turkey MTV Türkiye
flagicon|Russia 2×2 []
flagicon|Mexico flagicon|Argentina flagicon|Brazil Animax
first = April 2005
last = September 2005
episodes = 24 [Ann anime|id=4318. Accessed 2007-02-21.]

nihongo|"Basilisk"|バジリスク~甲賀忍法帖~|Basilisk Kōga Ninpō Chō is a Japanese manga and anime series. The manga was authored by Masaki Segawa and published in Japan in 2003 and 2004, based on the novel "The Kouga Ninja Scrolls" by Futaro Yamada published in 1958. The anime, produced in 2005 by Gonzo Studios, closely follows the manga aside from a handful of distinctions. The manga won the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.cite web | url= | author=Joel Hahn | title=Kodansha Manga Awards | work=Comic Book Awards Almanac | accessdate=2007-08-21] The manga was later followed by a sequel series titled The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls which was also based on a novel by Futaro Yamada.

The story takes place in the year 1614. Two ninja clans, Tsubagakure of the Iga and Manjidani of Kouga, battle each other to determine which grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu will become the next shogun. The deadly competition between 10 elite ninja from each clan unleashes a centuries-old hatred that threatens to destroy all hope for peace between them.

Story background

At the dawn of Japan's Azuchi-Momoyama period (the late 1500s) two rival clan of Ninja, the Iga Tsubagakure and Kouga Manjidani, are engaged in a bitter blood feud that has spanned for centuries. The fighting finally ends when Hattori Hanzo the 1st succeeds in forging a cease fire between the two clans by conscripting both into the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu (the man who seized power to become Shogun and form Japan's first truly stable form of centralized government). Regardless, hostilities and bad blood remain between Kouga and Iga, ensuring a tenuous co-existence at best.

Fast forward to the year 1614; Ieyasu has retired from power (although he still wields considerable influence within the government) and passed the torch to his son Hidetada. Unfortunately, a succession dispute has risen concerning which of Ieyasu's grandsons are destined to take up the reins of power when their father finally decides to step down. The various government retainers are beginning to take sides and the Tokugawa Shogunate is on the verge of tearing itself apart.

In order to solve the problem before it spirals out of control, Ieyasu orders the no hostilities pact between Kouga and Iga canceled and promptly commands each clan to send 10 of their best ninja to enter a ruthless and bloody competition of kill or be killed.

Each clan will represent one of the two factions supporting Ieyasu's grandsons; the names of their selected fighters recorded on two identical scrolls to be marked out in blood upon their death. The clan that slays the chosen ten of the other will be given favor for a thousand years while the grandson they represent will be pronounced the undisputed heir to the Shogunate.

But not all parties involved are willing to seek blood in the name of ancient grudges. Prior to the conflicts renewal, Kouga and Iga's two young heirs (Gennosuke and Oboro respectively) were betrothed to each other in the hopes that their union would finally dispel their clan's long-seated animosity toward each other. Forced headlong onto separate sides of a conflict they want no part of, Gennosuke and Oboro must now choose whether to kill the person they love or lead their entire clan to annihilation. Against centuries old hatred and the horrors of war, is love even capable of surviving?


:"Main Article: List of Basilisk characters"

Kouga Ninja

The Kouga specialize in stealth and assassination with techniques that, for the most part, rely on subterfuge. Even abilities designed for battle, such as Gennosuke's Dojutsu, tend to be defensive in nature.;Kouga Gennosuke:anime voices|Kosuke Toriumi|Troy Baker:The grandson of Kouga Danjo. Becomes leader of the clan after his grandfather's death. Uses the Dojutsu Eye technique (Enchanted Vision) and is a capable swordsman. Prior to the truce's absolvement he was engaged to Oboro.;Kouga Danjo:anime voices|Kiyoshi Kobayashi|Grant James, Wataru Hatano (Youth Danjo/Japanese), Matthew Tompkins (Youth Danjo/English):The grandfather of Gennosuke and leader of the Kouga clan; specializes in the poisonous needle arts.;Muroga Hyouma:anime voices|Yasushi Miyabayashi|John Gremillion:Uncle and martial arts teacher to Gennosuke, whom he trains to use his Dojutsu Eye Technique.;Kagerou:anime voices|Risa Hayamizu|Stephanie Young:A beautiful, embittered young woman whose breath becomes poisonous when she's sexually aroused. Suffers an unrequited love for Gennosuke;Kisaragi Saemon:anime voices|Yōji Ueda|Jason Liebrecht:The older brother of Okoi; he is able to assume the physical appearance of others and imitate their voice.;Kasumi Gyoubu:anime voices|Katsuhiro Kitagawa|Christopher Sabat:Able to meld with the surface of his surroundings; he vows revenge on the Iga for killing his father.;Okoi:anime voices|Haruka Kimura|Monica Rial:The younger sister of Kisaragi Saemon. Once in direct physical contact with the skin of another, she is able to drain their blood into herself. Due to the need of skin-to-skin contact, she is dressed in a more revealing manner than the other kunoichi.;Udono Jousuke:anime voices|Katsui Taira|Jeremy Inman:Good-humored, lecherous, and a little dumb, his layers of fat give his body the resiliancy of rubber.;Jimushi Jubei:anime voices|Atsushi Imaruoka|Eric Vale:Has no arms or legs, but can slide across the ground at high speed using the scales on his chest. He also has a long, prehensile tongue that can draw a dagger concealed in his throat and stab his enemies with. He also possesses skill in fortune telling through astrology.;Kazamachi Shogen:anime voices|Ryusaku Chidiwa|Chris Cason:Spider-like in his appearance and movements; his tongue secretes a sticky glue-like substance.

Iga Ninja

Rather than relying on deception, the Iga prefer more direct methods and their techniques tend to be mostly offensive to better give them an edge in close combat situations.;Oboro:anime voices|Nana Mizuki|Laura Bailey (voice actress):Ogen's granddaughter. She becomes leader after her grandmother's death but loses control over the clan due to her passive demeanor. Was born with 'Mystic Eyes' that neutralizes the technique of any ninja who meets her stare directly;Ogen:anime voices|Hisako Kyouda|Juli Erickson:Oboro's grandmother and the leader of the Iga clan at the beginning of the series. She controls her hawk with deadly accuracy.;Yakushiji Tenzen:anime voices|Sho Hayami|Mark Stoddard:The series' primary villain. He wrestles control away from Oboro to become the Iga's de facto leader. Though he does not possess any special ninja technique, Tenzen is the host to a parasitic creature that prevents him from aging and allows him to quickly recover from nearly any injury. The only way to kill Tenzen is to burn him to ash, or completely sever his head from his body.;Akeginu:anime voices|Misa Watanabe|Jennifer Seman:Oboro's long-time bodyguard and confidant. She's able to control her own blood and is in love with Tenzen's apprentice Koshirou.;Chikuma Koshirou:anime voices|Wataru Hatano|John Burgmeier:Tenzen's student. He wields two hand scythes and is also capable of creating air vacuums with his breath. Highly protective of Oboro.;Amayo Jingoro:anime voices|Ken Uo|J. Paul Slavens:Contact with salt allows him to dissolve into a viscous liquid like form. Vulnerable to excessive dehydration while in this form.;Mino Nenki:anime voices|Kenji Utsumi|Jim Johnson:Able to control his hair to use as a grasping tool or even a weapon.;Hotarubi:anime voices|Miyuki Sawashiro|Colleen Clinkenbeard:Yashamaru's lover. She summons swarms of butterflies which can distract enemies or conceal her and others when fleeing. Carries around a pet snake that acts as her bodyguard.;Yashamaru:anime voices|Naoki Yanagi|Justin Cook:Hotarubi's lover. A master of garrote wires made of maidens' hair which can be manipulated by Yashamaru to cut through stone or momentarily bind an opponent.;Azuki Rousai:anime voices|Takeshi Aono|R. Bruce Elliott:Can extend and contort his limbs to kick or punch from a distance with tremendous force. Carries around a very deep hatred towards the Kouga and has a large gourd-shaped head.


;Hattori Kyohachiro:anime voices|Tomokazu Sugita|Robert McCollum:The nephew and adopted son of Hattori Hanzo the 4th (his birth father was Hattori Hanzo the 2nd). Kyohachiro was charged by Hanzo to monitor the duel between Koga and Iga and then report the results to him and Lord Ieyasu. Although he initially has his subordinates witness the battles, following Gennosuke's victory over the Iga at Tsubagakure, Kyohachiro eventually decides that the Koga/Iga duel is something he has to see for himself personally. Gradually, Kyohachiro begins to regret the slaughter caused for the sake of deciding the heir to the shogunate and because of this, Oboro in the anime entrusts him with Gennosuke's flute which she explains is their prayer for the future. After witnessing Oboro and Gennosuke's match alongside his father and realizing just what had been done to them, Kyohachiro leaves on a pilgrimage to Aekuni Shrine to present Gennosuke's flute as an offering, vowing that even if history forgot the sacrifice made by the twenty ninjas of Koga and Iga, he would remember them always. In the manga, he doesn't appear until volume 4 when he reports to his father that Lady Ofuku had departed in an attempt to sway victory in the Iga's favor.

;Kasumi Renbu:anime voices|Mugihito|Daniel Penz:The father of Kasumi Gyoubu who appears only in the anime. Under the command of the Koga elder, Renbu was ordered to hunt down and eliminate any Iga who escaped Nobunaga's assault, but was stopped by Lord Kouga Danjo when he attempted to kill Ogen in the forests behind Tsubagakure. Despite being a ruthless combatant, Renbu's deepest desire was for his son to live a life free of conflict and bloodshed and eventually became a supporter of Danjo's desire to build a lasting peace with the Iga. Sent by Danjo to meet with them as a representative, Renbu and his companions were ambushed by an Iga squad who sought revenge for the attack he led on their clan. Renbu was mortally wounded during the fight and his final words to Gyoubu before he died was to never pity any ninja.

;Ogen's Hawk:Ogen's companion and familiar. After fulfilling his master's final wish (delivering to the Iga their copy of the battle scroll) he travels alongside the Iga but for the most part remains neutral, preferring to watch the life and death battles of the 20 chosen ninja from the sidelines as an impartial observer. After Gennosuke and Oboro's duel, he delivers the battle scroll to Lord Ieyasu which states the victors of the ninja war. Although his name is never spoken in either the anime or the manga, the original Japanese voice actors stated that the script unofficially referred to him as "Polly."

;The Flautists:A father and son pair of travelling performers who appear only in the anime. Journeying with their troupe aboard the same ship as the Iga; the performers sought to entertain the other passengers with their music and juggling routines when they found themselves involved in the war between Koga and Iga. Seeking to avoid getting caught in Tenzen and Gyoubu's duel, the father dropped his flute as he fled which his son ran to retrieve before it could be broken. Tenzen, seeing an opportunity, intentionally positioned himself in front of the child and dodged as Gyoubu slashed at Tenzen with his sword. The boy was saved only when his father placed himself between his son and the feuding ninjas, taking the blow for himself and dying instantly. The son would continue traveling with the rest of the troupe and would later be befriended by Gennosuke when the two crossed paths on the road to Sunpu.

;Oboro's Nanny:anime voices|Naoko Suzuki|:Oboro's childhood caretaker who appears during the flashback of episode 16. The two had a close mother/daughter relationship and after she died, Oboro would frequently go to her grave to pray for guidance and strength. Her character design was based on Kuzuha Kuyou, one of the characters of Masaki Segawa's other Manga series "Onikiri Juzo".

There are also several historical personages who make an appearance in the series:

;Tokugawa Ieyasu:anime voices|Toru Ohira|Brice Armstrong:The elderly former Shogun, who appears to be suffering from some sort of throat cancer as evidenced by the bulbous growth beneath his chin. Although retired, he still possesses enough influence within the government to revoke the Hattori truce in order to resolve the succession dispute. Historically, Ieyasu is regarded as an efficient yet extremely merciless ruler. Basilisk maintains this image of him as he clearly considers both Kouga and Iga expendable in the face of ensuring political stability and his family's grip on power.

;Hattori Hanzo (the 1st) Masanari:anime voices|Fumihiko Tachiki|Kyle Hebert:The head of a prominent ninja family from Iga Province who would later become supreme commander of the Shogun's ninja. In the anime, he helped the people of Tsubagakure escape Nobunaga's attack. The peace treaty between Iga Tsubagakure and Kouga Manjidani was originally implemented by him.

;Hattori Hanzo (the 2nd) Masanari:anime voices|Fumihiko Tachiki:The first son of Hanzo the 1st who appears only during the flashback of episode 16 of the anime. He met Gennosuke and Oboro at his estate when they were both children and was the one who originally negotiated the arranged marriage between them as a means of finally dispelling the animosity between their two clans.

;Hattori Hanzo (the 4th) Masahiro:anime voices|Fumihiko Tachiki:The third son of Hanzo the 1st and the current leader of the Shogunate's ninja. Although he dislikes the thought of turning Koga and Iga loose, his loyalty to Ieyasu compells him to nullify the peace treaty to determine a successor to the Shogunate. He was among the audience that witnessed the duel between Yashamaru and Kazamachi Shogen at Sunpu Castle and would later witness the duel between Oboro and Gennosuke alongside his adopted son Kyohachiro and Lady Ofuku. While his demeanor can be considered cold and nonchalant, he was deeply moved by Oboro and Gennosuke's sacrifice and in the anime would later negotiate a new peace between their clans in which the promised spoils were evenly distributed among them both. He also recovers the battle scroll from Lord Ieyasu and secures it in a secret alcove of his manor so that the memory of the twenty chosen ninja would not be completely lost to time's passing.

;Nankoubou Tenkai:anime voices|Mugihito|Andy Mullins:A Tendai Buddhist monk and political adviser for the Shogunate. Tenkai was the one who suggested to Ieyasu that since the Tokugawas are a military family, the succession dispute should be settled though some sort of organized duel between ninja instead of valued samurai. As the duel between the Koga and Iga rages on, Ieyasu sends him into the inner castle to keep the peace between Ofuku and Oeyu. He later returns in Basilisk's sequel series, The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls.

;Yagyu Munenori:anime voices|Norio Wakamoto|Ed Blaylock:A Kenjutsu instructor of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū school of which the Tokugawa shogunate was a loyal patron. He was in the audience at Sunpu during Yashamaru and Shogen's duel and follows the war alongside the retired Shogun. Due to their barely-checked hostility toward each other and the awesome power of their techniques, he views the Iga Tsukagakure and Kouga Manjidani sects as being more akin to demons than humans. Like Tenkai, he also returns in The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls.

;Takechiyo (later Tokugawa Iemitsu):anime voices|Tomato Akai:The second (eldest surviving) of Ieyasu's grandsons; apparently somewhat of a dimwit. Represented by Iga Tsubagakure.

;Kunichiyo (later Tokugawa Tadanaga):anime voices|Izumi Koike:The third of Ieyasu's grandsons. Though younger, it's clear he inherited his grandfather's intelligence and cunning over his elder brother. Represented by Kouga Manjidani.

;Ofuku (later Lady Kasuga):anime voices|Kimiko Saito|Pam Dougherty:The godmother of Takechiyo and leader of the faction supporting his claim to the Shogunate. A cold and heartless woman who murdered her husband's mistress and illegitimate child, Ofuku's only redeeming grace is her devotion to her protegé Takechiyo whom she sees as a surrogate son, even risking her own life to save him after the Kunichiyo faction poisoned his tea. Knowing that if Takechiyo falls from power than so will she, Ofuku decides to personally interfere in the ninja war towards the series' end so as to better ensure her faction's victory. Although she orders her samurai to kill Gennosuke in the final episode, Gennosuke spares her life albeit more out of disgust for her greed and pettiness than any sense of mercy (to him she wasn't even worth the effort). Ofuku is crushed after the Iga's apparent loss and Hanzo the 4th decides to not immediately tell Ofuku how Gennosuke abdicated the Koga's victory as punishment for her scheming.

;Oeyo:anime voices|Hikari Yono|Laurie Steele:The sworn enemy of Ofuku and the consort to Ieyasu's son Hitetada, the current reigning shogun. Although she gave birth to both Takechiyo and Kunichiyo, she favors Kunichiyo and leads the faction supporting his claim to the Shogunate. Oeyo is just as heartless and manipulative as Ofuku and in the anime, is suggested that she or one of her supporters even attempted to poison Takechiyo's tea.

;Oda Nobunaga:In the anime, Nobunaga makes a cameo appearance during the flashback of episode 1 as he leads the surprise attack on Tsubagakure. His appearance is similar to his depictions in the Onimusha and Samurai Warriors video game series with thin features, ghostly white skin, elegantly groomed mustache and goatee, and a western-style cape draped over his shoulders.

Related historical events

*1579: Oda Nobukatsu (the son of Oda Nobunaga) attacked Iga Province and was beaten off.
*1581: Oda Nobunaga attacked and destroyed Iga Province.
*1582: Incident at Honnōji - Oda Nobunaga died.
*1603: Edo period started. Tokugawa Ieyasu re-established the shogunate (third and last in Japan's history) and became the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
*1605: Tokugawa Hidetada became the second shogun.
*1614: Winter Campaign of the Siege of Osaka - Tokugawa attacked Toyotomi Hideyori.
*1615: Summer Campaign of the Siege of Osaka - Toyotomi clan perished.
*1616: Tokugawa Ieyasu died.
*1623: Tokugawa Iemitsu became the third shogun.


Theme songs

Opening:"Kouga Ninpouchou" by Onmyouza, available on the CD Single of the same name. The single was published on 27-4 2005

Ending theme
# "Hime Murasaki" by Nana Mizuki (eps 1,9,11-12)
# "WILD EYES" by Nana Mizuki (eps 2-8,10,13-14):Both songs are published on the single "Wild Eyes", on 05 May 2005.


The series first premiered in Japan on the television stations TV Saitama, TV Kanagawa, Chiba TV, Mie TV, KBS, AT-X, Jidaigeki Senmon Channel, and others between April and September 2005.

The series has also been aired across numerous international regions, including Malaysia on ntv7, Canada on Razer, the United States on IFC, Russia on 2x2, Turkey on MTV Türkiye, and numerous others.


Differences between Manga and Anime

Although the anime follows the original manga almost exactly in storyline, there are a few slight differences. The most notable being flashbacks (such as the one in episode 1 as to how Ogen and Danjou's love came to an end) as well as additional scenes which occur only in the anime; both of which serve to expand on the characters and the backstory. One of the more prominent scenes added to the anime was an epilogue for the final episode which was intended to add a sense of closure whereas the manga ends immediately after Gennosuke and Oboro's duel.

Other differences include fight scenes happening in a different order (i.e. in the manga, Oboro uncovers Jingoro's attempt to assassinate Gennosuke before stopping Akeginu and Jousuke's duel whereas in the anime the situation is reversed), and exposed breasts being obscured in the anime by some form of covering whereas the manga tends to be less censored. Although, toward the end of the anime, bare breasts can be seen on a number of occasions.


* Fumitoro Kizaki (Director). Basilisk-Koga Ninpocho [TV-Series] GONZO/Kodansha/Japan Digital Concepts: Japan. 2005
* Masaki Segawa (Manga-Ka). Basilisk-Koga Ninpocho [Manga] Kodansha: Japan. 2003-2004
* Futaro Yamada (Author). Koga Ninpocho [novel] Japan. 1958
* Ten Shimoyama (Director) Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (DVD) Japan. 2005

External links

* [ Official Japanese website] ja icon
* [ Official Basilisk broadband site] ja icon
* [ Official FUNimation website]
* [ Basilisk - Koga Ninpocho] fr icon

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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