meta: Martial Arts


2019


'Katanagatari': The Amazing Adventures Of Sword(less) Boy And Strategy Girl 
From the pen of Nisioisin came this genre-bending and -busting samurai-era fantasy, adapted into a festive eyeful of an anime where there's as much wordplay as swordplay
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'Kamui Gaiden': Uncanny Valley Of The Ninja 
Get past the often terrible CGI, and you'll find a reasonably faithful movie adaptation of Sanpei Shirato's manga masterpiece
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2018


'The Legend Of Kamui': A Nearly Lost Ninja Scroll 
With only two volumes in English, and those out of print, Sanpei Shirato's ragged and earthy ninja epic needs as much of a reissue in full as can be had
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2017


'Wolf Guy': Bark At The Moon 
A truly strange specimen from Sonny Chiba's filmography, and an illuminating early example of how manga adaptations were a perfect fit for 1970s exploitation cinema from Japan
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Patreon 'Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran': Crouching Tigress, Nitwit Dragon 
It looks at first to be a mere genderswapped spoof of the samurai genre, but underneath it's actually a loving and observant homage to all the great things about those stories of lone wolves vs. corrupt power
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'Blade Of The Immortal': But That's The Way I Like It, Baby, I Don't Want To Live Forever 
With the first of the three-in-one reissues of Hiroaki Samura's epic fantasy about a nigh-unkillable assassin, there's never been a better time to rediscover one of manga's high points
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2016


'Thunderbolt Fantasy': Master Of Puppets 
This wild, stylish marriage of Gerry Anderson-style marionettes, wuxia cinema, and gnarly anime plotting may be tough to take in at first, but we all complained about big eyes and small mouths once upon a time
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'Tokyo Tribe': Last Night A DJ Kicked My Ass 
Sion Sono's freeform rap-stravaganza adaptation of the hip-hop turf-war manga splits down the middle between being silly fun and being too mindless for its own good
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'Die Wergelder': A Taste Of Blood Money 
After his samurai body-horror epic 'Blade of the Immortal', Hiroaki Samura now gives us a Nikkatsu-style, pulp-inflected action fable
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2015


'Noir': Killing At Their Own Pace 
The deliberate pacing of this fantasy thriller is both its most important attribute -- and the one thing about it most likely to give pause to today's viewers
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2014


'Ranma 1/2': Love Runs Hot And Cold 
After twenty-five years, this seminal anime comedy is still both funny and a reminder of how shows like this are harder to make than it might seem
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'Ikki Tousen': Another One Bites The Dust 
It's dismaying when a show like this can barely even deliver the action and titillation it promises
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