Kouga Gennosuke on the cover of Basilisk volume 1.
(Basilisk - Book of the Kouga Ninja Arts)
|Genre||Action, adventure, historical fantasy, romance, tragedy|
|Written by||Masaki Segawa|
|Magazine||Young Magazine Uppers|
|Original run||February 2003 – July 2004|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Fumitomo Kizaki|
|Original network||TV Saitama, Animax, TV Kanagawa, Chiba TV, Mie TV, KBS, AT-X, Jidaigeki Senmon Channel|
|Original run||April 12, 2005 – September 20, 2005|
Basilisk (Japanese: バジリスク〜甲賀忍法帖〜 Hepburn: Bajirisuku ~Kōga Ninpō Chō~, lit. Basilisk: The Kōga Ninja Scrolls) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masaki Segawa. It was published in Japan in 2003 and 2004 in Kodansha's Young Magazine Uppers magazine, 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. 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.
At the dawn of Japan's Azuchi-Momoyama period (the late 16th century) two rival ninja clans, 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.
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.
Related historical events
- 1579: Oda Nobukatsu (the son of Oda Nobunaga) attacked Iga Province and was beaten.
- 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.
- Kouga Ninpou Chou by Onmyouza, available on the CD Single of the same name. The single was published on 27 April 2005
- "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 5 May 2005.
The series has also been aired across numerous international regions, including Malaysia on ntv7, Canada on Razer, the United States on IFC and Funimation Channel, Russia on 2x2, Turkey on MTV Türkiye, and numerous others.
|Title||Original airdate||English airdate|
"Sōshi Sōsatsu" (相思相殺)
|April 12, 2005||January 10, 2008|
|After a demonstration duel between two members of the Kouga and Iga clans, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the shogun, orders the truce between the two long-time feuding ninja clans to be canceled and promptly commands each clan to send 10 of their best ninja to enter a competition to eliminate each other. The surviving team would garner favor from the shogun for a thousand years, and their grandson will be the undisputed heir to the Shogunate. A scroll is used to indicate the competitors from the table. The episode goes into the back story of the two leaders represented at the demonstration being former lovers; however, in the present, they end up killing each other and mark their names on the scroll as eliminated.|
"Taidō Niba" (胎動弐場)
|April 19, 2005||January 17, 2008|
|Kouga Gennosuke of the Kouga clan and Oboro of the Iga clan are betrothed lovers, however, they soon receive news of the cancellation of the truce.|
|3||"The Onslaught of War"
"Kyōchū Muzan" (凶蟲無惨)
|April 26, 2005||January 24, 2008|
|With the no-hostilities pact ended, the Iga clan sets out to keep the news of war from reaching the Kouga.|
|4||"The Horned Owl"
"Yōkaku Yakō" (妖郭夜行)
|May 3, 2005||January 31, 2008|
|Gennosuke and Udono feast with the Iga clan under the false pretense of coming peace; forgiveness will end one ninja's life.|
|5||"The Surprise Attack"
"Ninja Rokugi" (忍者六儀)
|May 10, 2005||February 7, 2008|
|The Kouga begin to worry over the absent Gennosuke, and quiet steps are taken to study the lay of the land.|
|6||"Longing in the Rain"
"Kōrui Renbo" (降涙恋慕)
|May 17, 2005||February 14, 2008|
|On their return trip to the Iga clan holding, unexpected bounty is discovered in the wild.|
|7||"The Bloodsucking Seductress"
"Hitohada Jigoku" (人肌地獄)
|May 24, 2005||February 21, 2008|
|Gennosuke grows wary as hostility mounts; Oboro is called away to finally learn the truth.|
|8||"Cage of Blood"
"Chikemuri Mujō" (血煙無情)
|May 31, 2005||February 28, 2008|
|The Kouga remnants stand together in the midst of the Iga storm.|
"Aizetsu Rinu" (哀絶霖雨)
|June 7, 2005||March 6, 2008|
|Gennosuke possesses the secret scroll and Iga's elaborate deception has come to an end. Oboro makes the ultimate sacrifice.|
"Shinso Gojō" (神祖御諚)
|June 14, 2005||March 13, 2008|
|Lord Leyasu and the nobles review the carnage from a safe distance.|
|11||"On Their Own"
"Sekireki Mukoku" (石礫無告)
|June 21, 2005||March 20, 2008|
|Oboro stands united with her clan against the Kouga and her beloved Gennosuke.|
"Tsuisō Gentō" (追想幻燈)
|June 28, 2005||March 27, 2008|
|Gennosuke's challenge is accepted, both clans take to the road.|
|13||"A Swarm of Butterflies"
"Kochō Ranbu" (胡蝶乱舞)
|July 5, 2005||April 3, 2008|
|Kouga prepares for Sunpu Castle; Tenzen hopes to stop Gennosuke from reaching their destination.|
"Sange Kaikyō" (散花海峡)
|July 12, 2005||April 10, 2008|
|Words from the past haunt Gennosuke; servant torn between two masters.|
"Hatō Gokumon" (波涛獄門)
|July 19, 2005||April 17, 2008|
|Twenty ninjas must fight to the death for possession of a scroll.|
"Kaihō Tanga" (懐抱淡画)
|July 26, 2005||April 24, 2008|
"Konmei Rubō" (昏冥流亡)
|August 2, 2005||May 1, 2008|
|The surviving samurai must come to terms with the aftermath of battle.|
|18||"A Dawn Without Light"
"Mumyō Futsugyō" (無明払暁)
|August 9, 2005||May 8, 2008|
|Gennosuke is led to a safe haven after his mentor's sacrifice.|
"Mōjo Kanbō" (猛女姦謀)
|August 16, 2005||May 15, 2008|
|False voices lead to lies, deceit and death; impatience has goaded political intrigue.|
|20||"River of Mercy"
"Jinji Ryūryū" (仁慈流々)
|August 23, 2005||May 22, 2008|
|21||"With All Her Heart"
"Misatsu Kagerō" (魅殺陽炎)
|August 30, 2005||June 5, 2008|
"Kikoku Shūshū" (鬼哭啾々)
|September 6, 2005||June 12, 2008|
|With Kagero captive, Oboro issues a public challenge, seeking to draw Gennosuke out of hiding.|
"Mugen Hōyō" (夢幻泡影)
|September 13, 2005||June 19, 2008|
"Raise Kaikō" (来世邂逅)
|September 20, 2005||June 26, 2008|
|Gennosuke and Oboro face the final conflict with little care as to which one wins.|
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 artist). 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