Title: Sword of the Stranger
Genre: action, adventure, historical
Released date: September 29, 2007
Running Time: 102 minutes
Director: Masahiro Ando
Animated by: Studio BONES
Comment: Sword of the Stranger appeared in many film festivals and it was highly praised from most of the places it showed. I am convinced that the anime must be good but I have never thought that it would be this fun. A boy named Kotaro is hunted by Chinese Ming dynasty but his luck has not run out because he meets a ronin with no name (Nanashi) who becomes his bodyguard. The situation gets even more complicated when the Japanese lord also wants to capture the boy for his own advantage over the Ming. Nanashi and Kotaro must find a way to survive through endless bloody war against both highly skillful Chinese assassins and the warriors sent by the Japanese lord.
The story is as simple and innovative as it sounds but, surprisingly, it works very well. The story is compelling and effectively ties all the characters and action sequences together making a perfect combination of action and drama. The real charm of the anime lies in the heart-stopping action scenes which are violent, fast, fluid and skillfully directed. The drama portion, although small, is also carried out well; the bonds between Nanashi and Kotaro is well established using only few scenes and dialogue. The animation and art direction are excellent and the soundtrack is really haunting. Sword of the Stranger never tries to be anything but action anime. It knows exactly what it wants to give to the viewers and it succeeds beautifully. Although it lasts only hundred minutes on screen, it will last much longer in the viewers’ memories.