Apologies for the lateness of this review, but more on that later. Let me first put up a warning: if you’re planning to watch this series and have some kind of little brother or sister: keep Shigurui AWAY from them. Nobody under sixteen should be allowed to watch this. Not only is this one of the, if not THE goriest anime I’ve seen, it’s also filled with over-the-top sexual reference.
Sure, a show like Elfen Lied may have had more blood, but that was also all it had: lots of blood and random limbs gushed over the screen, but it never really went further than that. Shigurui carries gore to an entirely next level. The amount of detail is astonishing; the creators have an amazing amount of medical knowledge, and they use al of it. When a finger gets broken, you see exactly which bones dislocate. When an arm gets cut off, you see exactly how the muscles grow back. And that’s what makes it such an effective horror-series.
Especially when you combine it with the storytelling. The pacing is very slow, but it uses the gore and very creepy sound-effects to create an extremely tight atmosphere. It’ll have you during its many and creepy climaxes. If it wasn’t for its flaws, this would have been one beast of an anime.
Because yes, it’s a shame, but there are a few things that went wrong here. Especially in the first half, the creators get carried away a bit too much and delve in pointless rituals, like cutting off a woman’s nipple and eating it. Only at episode six, the series gets back on track With a gripping and powerful second half. The role of women also isn’t too good in this series. Basically, every single guy in the series is a bastard, and nearly all the women are good for is to serve as sex-objects or helpless sword-targets.
My biggest gripe is with the ending, though. The ending, while it does resolve a few things, leaves huge amounts of plotholes open. The reason I’m so late with this review is that I kept hoping that there would be some kind of thirteenth episode that would wrap the entire series up, but there’s nothing. One of the two major questions asked in the beginning hasn’t even been answered, for goodness’ sake.
Still, despite this, Shigurui is a definite recommendation for those who can stomach the huge amounts of gore. The animation may be simple, and most of the series consists of still frames, but the art itself makes up for it, by being incredibly detailed, and it’s only when the creators turn to CG on very few occasions that it doesn’t look excellent. But seriously… isn’t there really not some kind of second season or OVA to wrap it up?