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Muramasa Review

by: sothis
May 11, 2008

story 8.5/10

Muramasa screenshot

Osamu Tezuka's short film Muramasa seems like nothing special at first glance. The animation is overly simplistic and grainy, the audio is a bit underwhelming, and the premise seems ordinary; however, the outstanding twist that follows makes Muramasa an absolute must-see.

At only nine minutes in length, it's nearly impossible to go into details when discussing Muramasa's story. Let's just say it involves a samurai, a sword, lots of straw men, and a kickass conclusion. Once you finally have an idea of what's going on, you can't help but grin - and that's an accomplishment. While the first few minutes may seem boring, it's definitely worth sticking around for its entirety.

animation 6/10

Muramasa has a paper-like appearance which is slightly reminiscent of the game Okami. In addition, little to no animation actually occurs, save for movement in the fields and water; scenes are linked together without fluid transitions.

Easily the best aspect of Murasama's animation is the backgrounds: they are beautiful, are composed of vibrant colors, and set the stage nicely for the turmoil to come.

While interesting and distinctive, the animation isn't necessarily outstanding or memorable. Six points for uniqueness, however.

sound 6.5/10

Traditional Japanese instruments make up Muramasa's minimalistic soundtrack - at times you may feel like you are in the midst of a Kabuki theater performance. While slightly annoying at times, the music is overall "ok" as a whole. The best part, by far, is a transitional song that occurs once the twist is started to be revealed; it is slower, melodic, and haunting - just like the content itself.

There is no dialogue in Murasama; and none is needed.

characters 7/10

Only two beings can be considered characters: the samurai, and in a way, the sword. We know little to nothing about the samurai, save that he finds himself becoming consumed by the mysterious powers of the sword. The sword itself is equally as mysterious - where did it come from? Whose hands has it passed through? In only nine minutes, major character development is impossible; regardless, the plight of the samurai is fascinating enough to put Murasama on your "want to watch" list.

overall 7/10

I'll admit it - I almost wrote off Murasama in the first few minutes; it's lucky that I didn't. Murasama is delightfully original in its story and ending, and that alone makes it worth a watch.

Anime Info

  • Movie (1 ep x 9 min)
  • 1987

A wandering samurai, in his travels through the forest, runs across a straw man with a majestic sword stuck into it. He takes the sword and feels within him a surge of great power – a power that soon begins to distort his mind and soul. The samurai continues to wander, striking down straw men in his wake; but what is really going on, and what will happen to the samurai?


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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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