This movie is one I went into having heard some great comments about it. However, as I usually do with animes I intend to watch, especially movies, I avoided reading any reviews.
On the other end of this movie, I really have to say, I don't know what there really is to rave about. The story begins with an excellent action scene, and continues at a pretty good pace from there on. However, there isn't much story to be had along that decently paced road.
The plot isn't all that well put together(or rather its put together in the most cliche and predictable way possible), in the first scene we know exactly who the main antagonist will be, and as soon as the second of two protagonists is introduced we can already picture just how it will end. Speaking of which, the second of the two protagonists is introduced sloppily, with no real explanation of how he happened across the place he meets our main character, which bothered me quite a bit. From there, the weak multitudes of antagonist's ambitions are revealed, which actually raise more questions, and seeming logical inconsistencies. Why are these extremely skilled fighters serving someone else? Why does the man seeking only a strong opponent even bother being a mercenary? And why does everyone seem to believe in the seemingly implausible goal of the villains? Regardless of the answers one could devise, it is executed in such wholly predictable ways you feel like you've already watched the scenes as they unfold.
Heck, the entire plot seems just uneeded, they might as well have said the main characters had a grudge and just made the final fight scene, which was clearly going to be set into motion from the get go. The ending was so sloppy however, it really brings even the end fights down, much of the bloodshed at the end being wholly uneeded.
Really really good. I cannot name off the top of my head better animated fight scenes. The animation is noticeably better at some times, but really, if you watch Sword of the Stranger it will be the reason you see it through to the credits. From fast arse whoopings to full blown sword battles, it is all perfect. The enviornments and every detail even out of combat are expertly detailed as well. This is one of those animes you really wish had the same animation with a better plot. Though, one issue I do have is the anime doesn't really know what it is, it's fairly light and up beat in art and feel, yet has massacres and murders left and right. Though I can't say a darker feel would have worked neccacarily.
Actually pretty good. Voice acting is adequate, but above that sound effects in general are very well implemented, and go great alongside the animation. No annoying voices, or generic repeating sword clashes here.
Another huge shortcoming of this movie. We have no idea why 'no name' meets our main character. Minimal details on what happened to our main character. Cliche all around: Helpless kid trying to hide from nefarious individuals looking for him. Laid back warrior who is insanely skilled when it comes to fighting. Invincible warrior who is searching for the ultimate opponent. Suspiciously homosexual warrior who looks up to the invincible warrior. Old man seeking immortality. And so many other side characters who are developed poorer than I can even stress. 'No name's ' past is weakly referenced a few times, though really to no end, as it doesn't elicit sympathy or give any real understanding into him. And by the end literally nothing is explained about ANY of the characters, when some enlightenment is the only reason the story gives you to watch on.
A movie I really cannot recommend, but also really cannot warn to avoid. It is very cliche in so many elements, and has some astoundingly bad characters, which match it's stale plot, but on the other hand only starts to outstay it's welcome as it winds up, and you begin to realize the culmination will be unsatisfying. If you can watch it for free, in a way that will show off its animation, by all means give strangers a try. 5/10