Nanashi, a skilled samurai who vowed never to draw his blade again is thrown into the middle of a war as he befriends a young boy Kotarou and his companion dog Tobimaru. Will he break his vows in order to save his friend, or will he let Kotarou become a sacrifice to the Chinese Emperor?
Sword of the Stranger is a 2007 action, adventure film that can be simply considered a masterpiece. It does nearly everything very well. Read on!
Sword of the Stranger Movie
During the Sengoku period, a wandering samurai named Nanashi saves a young boy named Kotarou from a kama-weilding assassin. Kotarou – an orphan boy – is being pursued by a skilled Chinese unit attempting to use him as a sacrifice in a ritual to obtain immortality.
Among the skilled Chinese, is a tall, blonde, blue-eyed fighter named Rarou who seeks to find and kill the strongest opponents. He is unmatched in swordplay and even the toughest opponents do not last long against his skills.
Kotarou hires Nanashi as his guard, and soon the duo – along with Kotarou’s dog, Tobimaru – set out on a long and dangerous adventure as they try to avoid the Chinese and inadvertently save Japan.
Wow, there is a lot to say here! Nearly everything was done well with this anime film.
The music is fantastic and adds depth to each scene. It is unique and not something recycled from a different film.
The fighting is unbelievable. It is very realistic, well drawn, and entertaining! If you search on youtube for best anime fights, the ending scene to this movie pops up a lot, and for a very good reason! I’ve seen that fight at least 30 times already, and writing about it now makes me want to watch it again!
The fighting is fast-paced and they show the differences between Chinese and Japanese style martial arts very well. It was awesome to see the styles pitted against each other in a death match scenario.
The languages were done very well. Not everyone is speaking Japanese (just because its an anime). The Chinese forces speak Chinese and the Japanese speak Japanese. It’s a little nuance that made the movie that much better.
There is a lot of character depth. We learn about Nanashi’s troubled past, and other characters make reference to it. Without giving away spoilers, there is a very good reason for him vowing to never draw his sword again. Kotarou is another compelling character, and we even start to learn and feel for the ‘bad guys’. Rarou was a great character to watch as well.
Lastly (I’m trying my best to keep this short), this story elicits a lot of emotions. It made me happy, angry, sad, and excited. You know a story is great when it can make you feel like you are a part of it!
For the first time, I really don’t have anything to put here. If i had to pick one thing that could be improved on, it would be a short 10 second clip of animation where I felt it was a little sloppy and shadows did not line up properly.
If you like sword fights, strong male leads, feeling many emotions, and great art, definitely check this out.
It is a little gory at times, so if you’re squeemish, you may want to pass this one up.
All in all, this anime film, does almost everything right. I would recommend this to everyone. If i had to pick one movie to show someone to get them into anime, this, Kenshin OVAs, or Princess Mononoke would likely be it.
It has a lot of re-watch value. Watching it once or twice will simply not quench your appetite!
Sword of the Stranger Film Review
Simply put, Sword of the Stranger is one of the best anime films i’ve ever seen. The action is like Kenshin Trust and Betrayal OVA’s, where people are killed ruthlessly in a split second. The music and scenery is wonderful like Princess Mononoke. And the emotions this movie makes you feel reminds me of
The movie starts fast, showing us the group of Chinese fighters slaughtering a Japanese bandit unit attempting to kill and rob them. The chinese, do not panic, and Rarou offers to handle it by himself. He is more than enough for a group of thugs, and the fight was really well drawn. We see some acrobatic moves, some arrow catching, but nothing that is too unbelievable. The entire movie does well in keeping a sense of realism.
Soon after that, we are introduced to one of the protoganists, the boy Kotarou. He is an orphan living with his dog and needs to steal food to survive. I can’t blame him, I would do the same thing in his situation. What’s a guy to do with no parents in Sengoku era Japan?
Kotarou is the target of the chinese for some reason we do not know about and is staying at an abandoned house on the top of the hill. Nanashi soon enters the picture, and while Kotarou is reluctant to let him share the space with him, the dog seems to like the wandering samurai. Nanashi looks like a regular man with ragged clothes and a sword on his side. We do not know anything about him, but that is probably how a ronin should look.
Soon a few men accompanied by one of the chinese fighters approach the house, only to be blocked by Nanashi. He claims he does not want to be involved, but they attack him anyways. This is the first time we get to see his skills, and he easily stops all of the men while keeping his sword sheathed. The art for this fight was fantastic as well, something you can watch over and over again.
The dog becomes poisoned while taking a hit from a poison kunai in order to protect Nanashi, and Nanashi now feels slightly indebted to them. Kotarou ends up hiring Nanashi as a bodyguard, and the story begins to unfold.
Later in the movie, we find out why Nanashi can’t unsheathe his sword, and why the Chinese are targeting Kotarou.
It’s an excellent movie through and through, and the ending is fantastic as well!
If you have any questions or comments about this review or the movie, please feel free to chime in below.
And if you’re interested in purchasing Sword of the Stranger, i’ve provided some links to the best deals as well!