What is “Basilisk”?
Basilisk is a Japanese Historical Fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Masaki Segawa.
The manga series was serialized in Kodansha’s Young Magazine Uppers from 2003 to 2004. It’s individual chapters were compiled and collected into 5 separate volumes. In addition to that, a sequel novel series titled The Ouka Ninja Scrolls: Basilisk New Chapter was published in 2015, which was written by Masaki himself but illustrated by Segawa. Basilisk won the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.
An anime television series adaptation produced by Studio Gonzo was released in 2005, consisting of 24 episodes. Sequel series ‘The Ouka Ninja Scrolls’ got its anime adaptation in 2018, with 24 episodes.
What’s the story?
“Kouga and Iga were two ninja clans. For a thousand years, they feuded with one another. Both clans were originally from the same tribe”.
Iga no Ogen, leader of the Iga clan, along with her disciple, Yashamaru, are joined by Kouga Danjo, leader of the Kouga clan and his disciple, Shougen. Supervising this meeting is the High Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Sword Master Yagiyu Munenori and Tokugawa Shinobi Leader Hattori Hanzo.
A show of skill begins between the two disciples. Both Yashamaru and Shougen display a tremendous level of battle tenacity with their inhuman abilities and strength.
The two seem an equal match for one another, trading blow after blow, when Ieyasu-sama orders them to stop. Both Munenori and Hanzo are impressed at their monstrous capabilities.
Ieyasu walks over to the two clan leaders and proposes a solution to their centuries old rivalry. Since the current Shogun will be retiring soon, and to let the country prosper in peace, Ieyasu proposes a death match to be held between the two clans. Ten Ninja from the Iga and Kouga clans must fight to the death in order to determine who will be the next Shogun.
Meanwhile, somewhere around the Kouga and Iga country borders, Kouga Gennosuke, grandson of the Kouga leader and Oboro-dono, granddaughter of the Iga leader, are enjoying each other’s company.
Although their clans are at war, Gennosuke and Oboro are head over heals for each other. The two hope that the present meeting between the clan leaders might form a treaty and end the rivalry, unbeknownst that the clans have just waged a war that will put the two lovers against each other in battle.
Back at the meeting, two scrolls including the names of the participants have been handed to the disciples to take back to their respective clans. As soon as the two leave, Danjo strikes up a conversation with Ogen about their past and how they used to be lovers. In the middle of that, Danjo spits a poison needle right through Ogen’s throat. As Danjo comes near to bid farewell, Ogen’s falcon distracts Danjo, allowing Ogen to stab him with his own needle.
The two die In each other’s arms, while Gennosuke and Oboro spend their time unaware of what has just begun.
Will their love prevail or will they die in each other’s arms as well?