Kouga Gennosuke on the cover of Basilisk volume 1.
(Basilisk: The Kōga Ninja Scrolls)
|Genre||Adventure, fantasy, historical|
|Written by||Masaki Segawa|
|Magazine||Young Magazine Uppers|
|Original run||February 4, 2003 – June 15, 2004|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Fumitomo Kizaki|
|Written by||Yasuyuki Muto|
|Music by||Kou Nakagawa|
|Original network||TV Saitama, Animax, TV Kanagawa, Chiba TV, KBS, AT-X|
|Original run||April 12, 2005 – September 20, 2005|
|Basilisk: The Ōka Ninja Scrolls|
|Written by||Masaki Yamada|
|Illustrated by||Tatsuya Shihira|
|Magazine||Weekly Young Magazine|
|Original run||July 24, 2017 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Basilisk: The Ōka Ninja Scrolls|
|Directed by||Junji Nishimura|
|Written by||Shinsuke Onishi|
|Music by||Go Sakabe|
|Studio||Seven Arcs Pictures|
|Original network||Tokyo MX, tvk, Sun TV, KBS Kyoto, BS11, AT-X|
|Original run||January 8, 2018 – June 18, 2018|
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, closely follows the manga aside from a handful of distinctions. The manga won the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award for general manga. Segawa continued producing serialized adaptations of Futaro Yamada's novels with The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls in 2005, Yama Fu-Tang in 2010, and Jū: Ninpō Makai Tensei in 2012. Additionally, a two-part novel sequel titled The Ōka Ninja Scrolls: Basilisk New Chapter (桜花忍法帖～バジリスク新章 Ōka Ninpō Chō ~ Bajirisuku Shinfumi), penned by Masaki Yamada, was published in 2015; a manga adaptation, Basilisk: The Ōka Ninja Scrolls (バジリスク〜桜花忍法帖〜 Bajirisuku Ōka Ninpō Chō~), illustrated by Tatsuya Shihira with character designs by Masaki Segawa, began serialization in 2017, and an anime adaptation by Seven Arcs Pictures premiered in January 2018.
The story takes place in the year 1614. Two ninja clans, Iga of Tsubagakure and the Kouga of Manjidani, 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 Hanzō 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.
The first series (Basilisk: The Kōga Ninja Scrolls) 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 and Funimation Channel, Russia on 2x2, Turkey on MTV Türkiye.
The second series (Basilisk: The Ōka Ninja Scrolls) premiered in Japan on January 8, 2018. It is set 10 years after the original series and focuses in a group of young ninjas who endeavour to carry on the ninja traditions and techniques.
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 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). Also, breasts are more obscured in the anime than in the manga, although toward the end of the anime bare breasts are sometimes shown.
- 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