Sword Gai: The Animation

Web (12 eps x 24 min)
3.046 out of 5 from 2,525 votes
Rank #14,365
Sword Gai: The Animation

A young man becomes host to a legendary infernal sword and, with the fate of humanity now in his arm, wields its demonic power against his enemies.

Source: Netflix

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In the interest of fairness, there is at least one good thing about Swordgai; it’s certainly entertaining to rip apart. Netflix’s library of original releases has been fairly consistent thus far, and while it’s easy to see why this title hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in the same year that Violet f*ckin’ Evergarden hit the net, I do think that it stands out, if only for the wrong reasons. Swordgai is, nominally speaking, about a boy called Gai whose mother committed suicide after realising that she’d been possessed by a demonic sword. Raised from infancy by a renowned bladesmith, Gai himself plans on becoming a master metalworker one day, but things are complicated when, after losing his arm in a possession-based accident, the same blade that was found on his person as a baby is turned into a replacement limb.  For reasons. Meanwhile, an organisation that specialises in using the wielders of such legendary weapons to eliminate those who have succumbed to the swords’ influences (a fate they will one day share) have to deal with a former administrator who has also succumbed to a sword’s influence. Yeah, the range of subject matter is fairly limited here. To be frank, one of the main flaws at play here is that Gai, despite being NOMINALLY the protagonist, doesn’t spend as much time in the spotlight as you might imagine. Part of this might be due to the fact that he isn’t particularly interesting or likeable and most of his personality boils down to “I hate life because my life is darkness and there is no light in my life and I don’t care”, but it’s also because the show continually tries to add in side or supporting characters and their sub-plots and this inevitably creates a dissonant, jostling effect. None of the characters other than Gai are especially interesting either, with the worst offender probably being Sayaka, a girl who grew up alongside him and whose dialogue seems mostly to comprise of saying his name imploringly. Probably the most frustrating part of the whole experience was seeing a lovingly-animated ten-minute backstory segment for Seiryuu, Gai’s blade, which ended up being more compelling than pretty much all the rest of the franchise; it’s to the point that you have to wonder why no-one said to themselves “you know what, maybe we should just cut our losses and make this into its own series”. I know that I’D have had a better time. Certainly, I could have done without the rich heavy-set female character who literally demands gold leaf and pearl dust in all of her beverages while propositioning staff members. Or the old man who inexplicably turns into a lecherous gay stereotype out of nowhere. Or the hairdresser who sends clients into raptures of ecstasy by telling them that they “don’t have the right to be called a girl” unless they take care of their follicles. Actually, come to think of it, Swordgai’s cast seems like an equal split between tedium and baffling lunacy. In terms of the story, it is usually quite difficult to ascertain what the overarching narrative in supposed to be and it frequently seems like the makers really wanted to just write an episodic franchise about different legendary weapon myths, but weren’t allowed for whatever reason. As it is, many of the characters describe their own or others’ roles in the narrative via tenuous sword metaphors (“with humanity as his sheathe… he may be able to slice open his fate”) and there appears to be an attempt to explore (in as much depth as you’d reasonably expect from a lowbrow action series) the philosophies and morals of armed combat, but none of this translates well into satisfactory plotting. A couple of twists that do work surprisingly well are related to the Shoshidai organisation’s manipulation of the weapons that they are supposedly both protecting  from themselves and, more pertinently, using to accumulate more weapons. I can’t say more without spoiling anything. Those few aspects that are interesting, however, are completely overshadowed by the flawed handling of practically every character and story detail, and a final episode which leaves pretty much everything dangling. Granted, another cour is expected later in the year, but this wasn’t so much a cliff-hanger as a Guinness world record attempt in Most Loose Ends. Action scenes don’t particularly impress, with fight-based anime clichés such as ‘character coughs up blood despite sustaining moderate damage to the shoulder’ and ‘character goes insane and wants to kill everyone due to minor slight’ being prevalent. Characters have a convenient tendency to turn up in the same place at the same time, so that all of their very disparate arcs may coalesce into an action sequence, which seems like very lazy writing. The voice acting and effects on a number of fight sequences are actually quite goofy, with possessed individuals roaring and grunting like monsters from a Saturday morning kids’ series, and the fight choreography itself seems highly basic. Combat in Swordgai appears to be a case of repeatedly parrying your enemies’ blows until suddenly rushing them, which, because it isn’t a strategy that lends itself to interesting tactical or individual weapon-related variation, becomes highly repetitive. The art style I would probably describe as boring; it doesn’t look bad exactly, but everything from the colour palettes to the character design is near indistinguishable from any other low-grade action series from five years ago. The implementation of CGI is actually better than in a lot of action series, as it’s basically reserved for the Busoma, who are supposed to be inhuman and otherworldy by type. The voice acting and soundtrack aren’t wholly terrible either but also nothing that elevates this series above the very low watermark that its plot, characters and writing have already left. Tl;dr Swordgai is one of those series which, because it has at least some production value and workable animation and isn’t complete gibberish in the way that certain action series from last year were, has the potential to fool viewers (on first watch) into thinking that it’s not actually all that bad. Personally, however? I’d say that the best word with which to summarise this unfortunate mess of pointless sub-plots, poorly-established antagonist characters, superficial exploration of theme and lacking emotional payoff, could only ever be “bad”.


There are no spoilers, the summary tells about the first episode, what is going on, and to give some story. Summary: Sword Gai: The Animation is a Fantasy Action anime based around demon swords. Our anime takes place in a city of Japan and along the outskirts of the city. The anime starts with a group of men looking for a sword called Zsoltgewinn in a tomb, which at the same time Miura Takuma and Sieya Ichijo, who are part of the Shoshidai, a company that helps with eliminating Busoma and assisting Chrysalis with living on, are also looking for the sword. When they arrive the boss of the men shows up with the sword and Seiya has to kill him. Afterwards the sword is contained at Headquarters, but Takuma ends up lusting for the sword's power due to the weapon calling out to him. He obtains the swords and leaves the building after killing some of his own men. During this event it seems that another demon sword, Shiryu, is calling out for blood and a monk starts to perform a hama ritual, a ritual to purify the Shiryu. Mid way through the ritual it goes wrong, with one of the monks mistakingly touching the sword with direct contact of his blood and then goes on a killing spree. A woman named Wakaba, who is pregnant and father named Takashi are walking through an alley when all of a sudden takashi is slain by the monk, after the monk takes to the street to claim one more victim. He then comes to his senses and realizes what he has done and then is stabbed by Wakaba with the Shiryu, she then retreats to the alleyway. Wakaba starts to hear voices and decides to off herself, but not before having her baby. A man named Amon Ogata is walking through the woods when he notices Wakaba hung from a tree, afterwards hearing a baby crying. The child is clinging onto the Shiryu and the man believes it is the childs protector. The child is then named as Gai Ogata. Story: (6/10)The main story is about Gai Ogata, while the story goes on about him there are also 2 other subplots in the anime. It is a bit weird and confusing at first, but it isn't that bad and they are explained as well, just not as much as you would like. So I think that the anime is good and I can also see that the anime creators might have gotten the idea of Sword Gai from Toyko Ghoul with the near resemblence that humans turn into "monsters". The story is enjoyable and the concept of a demon sword taking over the human with the desire to kill and have power is interesting. Animation and Design: (6.5/10)The animation and design are great honestly, there are a few drawbacks when it comes to the fight scenes, like there could be more effects and such as that. At other points there was stuff in the background that I didn't even know what it was and was wondering where they were even at. Sound: (6.5/10)The sound is great as well, but sometimes it feels like the sound was too quiet. Characters: (7.5/10)The characters are pretty well done, since this is an action anime I am not used to what happens to the characters. Gai Ogata (Chrysalis, Weapon: Shiryu)1) Main character, story primarily focuses on him.2) Feels alone and sees the world in a darker perspective. Sayaka Ogata (Human)1) Main character, is Gai's sister through adoption.2) Cares about Gai and doesn't want him hurt.3) Doesn't understand how he really feels. Seiya Ichijo (Chrysalis, Weapon: Chakram)1) Main character, works for the Shoshidai.2) Is a type of mentor to Gai and takes him to the Shoshidai.3) Pretty laid back, but can be serious when he needs to be. Amon Ogata (Human)1) Secondary character, is Gai's father through adoption.2) Impacts Gai's life early in the anime.3) He is Gai's master in the art of swordsmithing katanas. Takuma Miura (Busoma, Weapon: Zsoltgewinn)1) Seconday character it seems, was originally affiliated with the Shoshidai.2) He is extremly powerful and it can be seen throughout the anime.3) He might become more important in the second season. Overall: (6.5/10)Overall I would say that Sword Gai: The Animation is a good anime, it isn't the best, but it isn't awful. Sword Gai is also a netflix exclusive anime and such like that I was impressed with the anime, not extremly impressed, hold your horses. The thing that really bugged me about the anime I waited till now to say, is that there is a cliffhanger. Now a cliffhanger at the end of an episode is okay, but a cliffhanger at the end of a series that won't be continued till the coming up summer is pretty bad. A lot wasn't shown or answered on what is happening by the last episode and this honestly dissapointed me and made me a bit upset. Another thing that bugged me was that the fights were pretty short and usually done within 30 seconds. So, hopefully they fix it next season, other than that I will definetly be watching it and see if it improves on its faults.

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