Basilisk was one of those series you watch to capture some of the magic early animes had on your mind as a young kid. I excepted a series that played out like Naruto, but not as childish, and I certainly found that and more in this series.
Story: 7 out of 10
At it's heart, this is the most told tales of all time. Star crossed lovers, in love, but unable to be together. Romeo and Juliet, and the likes, etc. Two warring factions of ninja have a several hundred year feud being fought, even though none of the ninja seem to know why. The male heir to one family, and the female heir to the other fall in love, and have to battle responsibility, future idealism, and their own feelings as they try to be together.
Animation: 9 out of 10
As expected from a Gonzo gore series, the animation department is beautiful. Gratuitous gore, flowing, fantastical hair, well-thought out and authentic landscapes, and elaborate and peculiar character design sparkle in this series.
However, another trend of Studio Gonzo, the character animation can get absurdly choppy at not-so-important scenes. A giant fluid battle could be fought one second, and then a character can comically fall to the ground in a jerky, gravity-defying motion the next.
Sound: 8 out of 10
Against my better judgment, I watched the dubbed version (free on Netflix) and was actually surprised at how well I enjoyed it. Catchy theme and ending songs, stellar voice-acting, and wonderful action noise-effects made this series a sound victory in my department (weak puns are still cool, right?)
Characters: 7 out of 10
Although Oboro and Gennosuke were very strong, well-written characters, very few others were. The first half of the initial 20 ninja die off without ever revealing any serious back-story or likeable traits. Throughout the last half, the remaining characters open up to us, and we learn to actually enjoy them. The only problem is, every single character is a sob-story waiting to showcase their tragic lives and misfortune. This is endearing, but when you have to see 20 different variants of this, it gets real old, real fast.
(Editors Note: MAN is Tenzen a good "HATE HIM" character.)
Overall: 7 out of 10
Overall, a gory, cheesy guy flick, about love and war. Not an original dish, but a well-seasoned recipe delivered on a shiny platter.