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Blade of the Immortal

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Details
`To end his eternal suffering, he must slay one thousand enemies!` Manji, a ronin warrior of feudal Japan, has been cursed with immortality. To rid himself of this curse and end his life of misery, he must slay one thousand evil men! His quest begins when a young girl seeks his help in taking revenge on her parents` killers... and his quest won`t end until the blood of a thousand has spilled!

By Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal)

Category : Japan (Manga) , boy, action, magic

Characters
Main Characters

Manji
The immortal referred to in the title. While not lazy, he is very laid-back, often seen sleeping. Manji also has a strange sense of "honour" that is in many ways similar to the fighting-ethic of the Itto-Ryu. The fallen samurai Manji served the Hatamoto Horii Shigenobu, a local daimyō, enforcing his brutal rule (unknowingly) on the local populace until he found out his lord was corrupt and killed him. For that he was considered an outlaw and hunted down by the same daimyo clan, achieving the nickname "Killer of 100" after the body count. He planned to flee to his sister's house even though she had married an officer of the law, Saito Tatsumasa. Manji ended up killing his sister's husband out of self-defense when he attacked Manji. His sister witnessed her husband's death at the hands of her brother and went insane, reverting to a child-like mindset. Manji settled down to take care of her. At some point during this time, he met Yaobikuni (her name literally means "nun of eight hundred years"), a mysterious nun, who gave him the kessen-chu, or sacred bloodworms that make him immortal. Despite the obvious advantages of being nearly invincible, Manji dislikes being immortal. He tries to get Yaobikuni to remove the kessen-chu, finally making a deal with her.

Rin Asano
The sole survivor of an Ittō-ryū massacre at Anotsu's hand and heir to her father's sword school, the "Mutenichi-ryu". She has mediocre swordsmanship skills but an intense desire to avenge the brutal death of her family. At the beginning of the series is she portrayed as somebody who is trying to act mature, but is still very childish - as the series progresses she steadily "grows up" and loses much of her naivety. She hires Manji as her bodyguard in this quest. However, it's not as simple as that - Rin is constantly torn by doubt over the righteousness and validity of her mission and fears becoming a hypocrite as Anotsu claims she is more like the Itto-ryi, especially when he remarks she chooses to use throwing knives instead of a sword like the "Mutenichi-ryu" teaches. She comes into contact with Anotsu at one point, but his claim that she is becoming more and more like the Itto-ryu as she progresses down the path of revenge causes her even more doubt. When she finally encounters Anotsu in Kaga, she realizes she cannot defeat him and winds up travelling with him in hopes of catching his guard down.

Itto-ryu

Kagehisa Anotsu
Leader of the Itto-ryu and equal of Manji. This emotionally cold young man has prodigious skill with the sword, and leads the Itto-ryu in order to form a dojo dedicated not to form and rules, but to the simple test of superior lethality. Brought up by an abusive grandfather (a swordsman disgraced by the Asano dojo), Anotsu is as pragmatic and shrewd as he is deadly. He isn't as inhuman as originally believed, as he even allows Rin to live after she attacks him; even letting her follow him everywhere. While painted as the "villain" of the series at the start, he has had many scenes devoted to making the reader sympathetic to his views and goals. Is currently at "war" with Habaki Kagimura, the leader of the Banshu. He has two weapons. The first, his main weapon, is a Nepalese-based axe named Kabutsuchi (Head Hammer). The other is his rarely used sword of the same name. It is not much of a backup weapon, as even Rin referred to it as "pathetic" in Last Blood part 4. First appears in Conquest part 1.

Taito Magatsu
Among the Ittō-ryū's finest swordsmen. Of peasant origin, he became a swordsman to avenge his sister, who was killed as a child by a samurai. Taito is one of the few swordsmen who has fought Manji and survived. He has also fought by Manji's side as well. He can be considered a kenshi, a swordsman who is not from the samurai class. His lover of sorts, a prostitute named O-ren was killed by Shira. He quit the Ittō-ryū, although he is still friends with Anotsu. He ends up following Manji around due to the fact he knows Shira is after Manji. Although they argue a lot, Manji and Taito have a relatively friendly relationship. In the end Manji allows Taito to find Shira, and despite how much Shira wants to kill Manji, he lets Taito take him. Eventually Shira loses the one hand he had left to Taito and presumably falls to his death. Later concerned by something Shira said, Taito goes to meet up with Anotsu and eventually rejoins the Ittō-ryū. Taito's weapon is a gladius-like triple-sectioned sword named Grand Turk. The main blade is a gladius, the second is a smaller, shorter sword hidden in the handle, the last is a spear-head like dagger hidden within the second blade. The sword is curiously missing a sword guard. First appears in Conquest part 1, first named in Fanatic part 1.

Makie Otono-Tachibana
Master swordswoman and in love with Anotsu. Said to be Anotsu's match and saved his life with her deadly abilities when they were children. Born into a samurai family, Makie and her mother were disowned and cast away from the family by her father, Harukawa, when Makie's older brother committed seppuku after Makie was revealed to have inherited the family's famed talent and he was unable to defeat her in combat. She initially chose the path of the sword to avenge her mother's disgrace, but ended up becoming a geisha when Anotsu bought her freedom because she neither had the nerve to become a prostitute like her mother nor commit herself completely to becoming a swordfighter because she does not have the nerve to kill when her concentration in battle is broken. Defeats but does not kill Manji, apparently turning her back on Anotsu. Later found living alone, having bound her hand in an attempt to destroy her own skill in combat after her father's humiliating death. She reappears in Last Blood, having followed Anotsu since he left Shirakawa when she realized his body was weakening, and destroys the men under Iriya who were pursuing Anotsu. After Iriya's death, she leaves with Anotsu and Magatsu. As said by Anotsu, she is the only one that can beat him other than Manji. Her weapon, a double bladed three-section-staff, is named Haru-no-Okina (Old Man of Spring). She conceals her weapon in a hollowed-out shamisen, a mandolin-like instrument. She first appears in Dreamsong Part 1.


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