Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga of the same name, which in turn was based on the original novel by Futaro Yamada written back in 1958, Basilisk is a twenty-four episode series that is all about ninja on ninja action. Taking place over the course of seven days, two ninja clans fight hard against each other in a fairly brutal violent way with plenty of sexuality infused into it as well. The manga won an award for best general manga back in 2004 and the anime series was fairly well received, though FUNimation's DVD release less so on technical merits during its original single volume release.
Taking place in 1614, Basilisk occurs at a time when the succession of the shogun is in dispute as two grandsons of Iyesau Tokugawa are at each others throats to become the one to ascend to power. Iyeasu has retired and is off at Sunpu castle where he observes a show of power between two rival ninja clans, the Kouga and the Iga. With the clan leader of each there along with one ninja, the two ninjas do battle with each other until Tokugawa is satisfied. All of this is for show in the end though as Tokugawa informs the Hanzo from that clan there that he intends to determine the succession of the shogunate by having the two clans fight each other. Each clan will represent a different grandson and the clan that wins will determine who will ascend. Ten names are written by the clan leaders on the two rosters which will then be sent to their respective clan villages in order to start the war.
The two clans have been at relative peace for some four hundred years after an anti-war pact was worked out between them by the first Hattori Hanzo. Several decades prior though there was an incident where the two clans were set upon each other and the Iga were nearly put to destruction by the Kouga through a manipulation few were aware of. What made the whole incident worse was that true peace was close to being achieved as the youngest of the leaders were in a relationship together. Those two are now the elders of the clan and even though they once loved each other dearly, they're now setting their clans to war against each other and eliminating any chance of peace.
To Read More Click Me!