If you’re a regular at this blog, you’ve probably all heard me poke fun at various anime swords at one point or another, usually due to unrealistic sizes, or features, or functionality, etc., regardless of their cool factor. However today, I thought I’d review an anime based sword that has a decidedly down to earth bent to it’s design:

Urahara Kisuke Zanpakuto
Urahara Kisuke Zanpakuto
[view full size]

Now this sword is from the Anime Bleach, and is a Zanpakuto, or “soul slaying” sword. The Zanpakuto swords of bleach are unique because each sword actually possesses a sentient spirit. An interesting twist to be sure, but not what we are here to talk about today.

I posted this sword because, for once, it is actually a sword I might have blogged about even if it wasn’t an anime reproduction. The reason for this is two fold. First off, while this sword looks Japanese on the surface, it actually incorporates some design features that are not seen in traditional Japanese sword designs.

First off, and one of my favorite features, is the cool black blade, with the black coat on the edge ground out to where the hamon should be. This is interesting because although the blade of this sword has a mild curve that might indicate a differential temper, I was unable to detect an actual hamon. I’d be willing to bet there was none. Also, you will notice that the edge is ground straight across to the end of the straight section of the blade, but not up to the tip of the sword, which is atypical of Japanese design.

Another interesting feature not present in Japanese swords is the presence of a ricasso, or unsharpened section of the blade, just above the hilt. The edges of the ricasso is actually sheathed in a metal shell, and runs straight into the grip without the benefit of a guard, which is also very atypical of japanese design.

The grip is equally anomalous, in the sense that while it employs the traditional Japanese rayskin wrapped wood handle, pinned to a full tang blade, it is covered by a leather wrap, instead of the traditional Japanese cord wrap. The pommel is also not of a traditional Japanese design, having a ridged cap and a tassel, instead of an oval cap with a flat bottom, which in fact, makes it look more Chinese in aesthetic than Japanese.

Overall, an interesting hybrid sword design I thought was worth a post… 🙂

Urahara Kisuke Zanpakuto – [True Swords]