This week LaNeysha and Kate dissect an anime live-action adaptation that they haven’t seen the source material for first: Blade of the Immortal. From epic battle sequences, great effects work, and just beautiful cinematography, did they knock it out of the park or fall just short? Find out now!
In this live-action review, we break down how Blade of the Immortal succeeds when the other live-actions we’ve seen didn’t. Embracing the long tradition of samurai films established by Akira Kurasawa, the filmmaking allows Blade of the Immortal to stand on its own, outside of its anime source material. If you’re not familiar, Blade of the Immortal stars Takuya Kimura and Hana Sugisaki and is directed by icon Takashi Miike. It is based on the successful manga series by Hiroaki Samura and the narrative focuses on the immortal samurai Manji (Kimura) who becomes the bodyguard of an orphan teenager named Rin Asano (Sugisaki) as they go on a journey of revenge against the members of the Ittō-ryū samurais who killed the child’s parents.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a faithful adaptation, with Miike exploring some themes with more focus than the source material did. Miike sees Manji as a “dark hero” while the team also found to difficult to write multiple fight scenes in the film’s time. The director chose Kimura for the role of Manji due to the actor’s large popularity something which he felt was similar to the original manga that he also found popular. Sugisaki, on the other hand, was chosen for her energetic role in a commercial. The film even premiered out of competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Grossing $8.40 million, the film did not manage to reach the expected success. However, the film got a generally positive response by critics for handling fight scenes and the relationship between the two protagonists. It also achieved good sales in Japan involving its home media products. Samura expressed satisfaction when watching the final product. It was promoted to two awards but failed to obtain either of them.