Posts Tagged ‘Bleach’

A Crooked Zanpakuto…

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Ok, maybe not so much crooked as much… branchy… Is that even a word? Oh never mind. Anyway, the site I found it on did not explicitly refer to it by it’s real name, instead choosing to spout some philosophical fluff that had me scratching my head. However any fan of the anime Bleach will immediately recognize it:

Sougyo no Kotowari - First Shikai

Sougyo no Kotowari - First Shikai

This, my friends, is a Zanpakuto. Specifically, it is called “Sougyo no Kotowari” and is the Zanpakuto of Ukitake Juushirou, in it’s first shikai form. And a very unique form it is.

Sougyo no Kotowari is actually a double sword set, both joined at the pommel by a gold chain with a set of rectangular tags hanging from it. Above that the red wrapped tsuka looks fairly normal all the way up to the gold dragon Tsuba, but from there, things get a little funky. Above the guard we have a gold sheath that covers the base of the black blade, and forms a very large, long ricasso.

And as if that weren’t unusual enough, the sword has another blade that just out at an angle from the spine of the blade, midway between the hilt and the tip of the sword, and then proceeds to turn down parallel to the blade, back down towards the user and almost all the way down to the tsuba, leaving about a quarter of the ricasso area to spare.

the edge on the branch blade is facing inwards, towards the spine of the primary blade. Quite an interesting arrangement. If you factor in the chain, the rearward pointing blade, and the internal edge, it seems to be almost an adaptation custom made for capturing enemy weapons. But again it is an anime weapon, so logic doesn’t necessarily have to have been a factor in it’s design.

Either way, it’s quite an interesting design. Kinda of like the Chinese Hook sword. Except, less… logical?.. I dunno… 🙂

Sougyo no Kotowari (Dual Attack Twin Sword Set) – [True Swords]

Another Wonderfully Impractical Anime Humongoblade!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I was just looking through my archive wondering what to post about next, when I ran into a prop/replica of another great anime sword I’ve always found rather cool looking, if not really, really, over the top, like Clouds massive cleaver from Final Fantasy (aka Buster), or Ichigos over sized kitchen knife from Bleach (his zanpakutō Tensa Zangetsu) , or Inuyashas rather impressive doggie tooth (Tetsusaiga), or…

Well you get my point. The list of over sized anime swords is endless. You almost get the impression they are overcompensating for… Err… something. Or not. OK never mind.

Anyway, today I found another interesting example of over-the-top black smithing. This time from the anime Beserk:

Gattsus (aka Guts) Dragon Slayer

Gattsus (aka Guts) Dragon Slayer

Ain’t it a beaut? Now I do not remember where this pic came from, it’s been in my gallery for a while, and I thought I had even blogged about it before, but apparently not.

Basically, this thing, in the anime Beserk, is a good 6 foot or so slab of wide, massive steel with really, really sharp edges, wielded by this crazy black knight called Guts. Or Gattsu, if you want to use the Japanese pronunciation. Bad ass guy, big ass sword. And, of course,  completely and totally unusable by anyone but a fictional hero, a genetically enhanced human, or a cyborg. Or something along those lines.

And before you say “Pfft… I can wield that mate!” Let me remind you that the ability to swing a sword around is not the same as wielding a sword. This sword, like so many other anime weapons, would, in real life, wield you, not the other way around. I kid you not. Probably pop your arms out of their sockets too.

But It is still a very mean, and no nonsense looking sword. Just love it and had to share. What can I say. I have this thing for large pieces of dark, sharpened, pointy steel. Especially those with this kind of presence… 🙂

Gattsus Dragon Slayer – [Unknown]

Cool Replicas – Part 2: Benihime

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Welcome to the next installment of my miniseries about second gen replicas that are think are improvements of ones I have already posted about. Today we take a look at yet another Zanpakuto from the anime Bleach, Specifically that of Kisuke Urahara. This is another great weapon found by Mozza (thanks again!) called Benihime – The Crimson Princess:

Kisuke Uraharas Zanpakuto - Benihime Shikai

Kisuke Urahara's Zanpakuto - Benihime (Crimson Princess) Shikai

This sword is the Shikai form of Kisukes Zanpakuto Benihime (Crimson Princess), which is a sword cane with a curved handle in its unawakened form. In an earlier post, I had talked a little bit about how I thought this particular design actually had a lot of good practical design point.

I won’t go over its detailed physical attributes again, but I will point out that the other sword was not so much a sucky sword as much as it was not as detailed, accurate and meticulously finished as this one. In this design, you can see a lot more effort has been put into giving it more depth and character.

In this one the canted pommel is much more prominently featured, as is the unusual ricasso. The little triangles attached to the ricasso actually hang from a tassel in the anime, but I suppose it’s a minor detail that is not of much structural significance.

It is difficult to tell from this pic whether this shares the same full tang construction of the first Benihime I posted about, but if it does not it would be an inferior design, though it would make for an interesting contrast. Shame that the pictures are not particularly clear about how well put together this weapon is at a physical level.

If I were a betting creature, I would guess this build is structurally of lesser quality than the other. Which makes this kind of a bittersweet weapon to post about, since even though the it is a much more “accurate” reproduction compared to the other, the other one appeared to be constructed in a way that would still make a superior weapon.

So while It’s aesthetically clearly superior, and gets a good grade on accuracy, fit and finish, the practicality and the durability of it’s construction may leave something to be desired.

Why does it seem like there is always a trade off somewhere… ?

Kisuke Urahara’s Zanpakuto: Benihime Shikai – [Anime Castle]

Cool Replicas – Part 1: Zabimaru

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

The regular readers on this here blog thingy will know that one of my pet peeves is cheap, poor, inaccurate and otherwise needlessly mediocre reproductions of cool weapons that could very easily have been made to much more closely mimic the weapons they were inspired by.

Now I realize that cost is always a factor. And that many repro houses are simply out to make a quick buck off a blockbuster movie, anime or video game, but sometimes I think the lengths to which they go to save said buck makes no sense. A typical example was the first reproduction of the Zanapkuto Zabimaru from the Anime Bleach.

If you will remember, I was clearly not pleased with what they did to it. However I was pleasantly surprised to find another version of it that was a much better match to the anime weapon. And since I also had a couple of readers send me links to improved versions of weapons I had griped about in the past, I thought I’d make a little mini series of posts related to them.

So welcome to the first in the series: Cool Replicas – Part 1: Zabimaru

Renji Abarais Zanpakuto - Zabimaru

Renji Abarai's Zanpakuto - Zabimaru

[click on image to view full size]

Now THIS is a reproduction. This, my friends, is a solid steel version of Zabimaru, replete with all of the original evil spikes, points, and other bladed wickedness that Zabimaru tends to sport.

As you can see from the pic, this version is not a dumbed down version of the blade, as the other one was, and actually does a very good job of reproducing a design that would admittedly be very difficult to manufacture cheaply.

The pic below is of the hilt of Zabimaru, and it’s a good indicator of the quality of the build on this blade. You can see that there is a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of work went into the fit and finish of this replica.

Zabimaru - Hilt

Zabimaru - Hilt

[click on image to view full size]

However the most telling feature is how they captured one of the more difficult to replicate aspects of Zabimaru’s design: The blade spikes. In the Anime, Zabimaru is actually a sectioned blade, and each section is able to move independently, like a blade whip.

Each spike actually coincided with the transition between one segment of blade to the next, and created a very prominent ridge to visually make this distinction. Now the reality of it is that making a real sectioned blade would be almost impossible to manufacture at any kind of reasonable price point in real life.

The way the last repro I looked at handled it was to use a single piece of metal, and just carve out sections of the blade to form little bumps where the spikes were supposed to be… Yes, bumps. (BUMPS?!?! THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SPIKES!!! YOU HEATHENOUS WRETCHES!!!) OK, ok, just calm down… Whoosaaah… *sigh*

Zabimaru - Good Blade Spikes

Zabimaru - What Blade spikes are SUPPOSED to look like...

[click image to view full size]

Ok… So anyway, as opposed to what the last HACKS and CHARLATANS did, the pic above shows what those designers should have done. The smart thing. The good thing. The kind of thing that brings glory and honor to evil spiked weapons everywhere… 🙂 Add steel blade spikes to either side Zabimarus’ blade to replicate the ridges and spikes of the anime version! These guys are geniuses!

So overall, I’d have to say I’m pretty impressed with this rendition of Zabimaru. And work like this this clearly demonstrates something that I, and many blade enthusiasts like me, have said all along. There is really no need to go the dirt cheap route with a replica blade. Most folks will pay a little more for a well constructed replica, so there is a good business case for making high quality reproduction blades.

Zabimaru - A Replica with Soul...

Zabimaru - A Replica with Soul...

[click image to view full size]

All it takes is for a designer who is interested in quality, as opposed to just churning out trash. And if this replica is any indication, it means there actually exist living, breathing, thinking, non bean counter controlled replica houses who are just as interested in accuracy and quality as in making a buck.

It warms the glowing embers of my heart I tell ya. And that ain’t an easy thing to do…

Zabimaru – [Swords Swords]

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Friday, May 9th, 2008

In my last post I did a little gushing about how black blades are the greatest thing since sliced bread, all that and a bag of chips, etc. etc. etc. Well, I came across this interesting blade from the Anime series Bleach, and decided, to be fair, to blog about a sword from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I give you:

Rukia Kukichi’s Zanpakuto “Sode no Shirayuki”

(Sleeved White Snow)

Rukia Sleeved White Snow Sword

[view full size]

Now this sword, is a Zanpakutō, or soul cutting sword, and each is imbued with a sentient spirit that helps it’s wielder to battle otherworldy foes. This particular Zanpakuto is wielded by the co-protagonist Rukia Kukichi, who is herself a soul reaper. When it’s sentient spirit is activated, the sword becomes completely snow white, with a characteristic long white ribbon, and gains awesome power.

As swords go, this is almost as far as you can get from the sinister black swords I usually blog about. The sword itself is not particularly remarkable, it is a fairly standard katana, save for the extended white grip, and corresponding snow white saya and ribbon, which also happens to sport a kawaii little silver smiley…

Not particularly menacing… However in the series, it is just as lethal as any other… So don’t hate it because it’s white… and it’s got a ribbon… and a smiley… and it’s all Kawaii… errm… *cough*

I can feel my testosterone ebbing away with every additional word. So I’ll be ending this post here… I’m thinking I’m gonna have to blog about something particularly wicked next time around…
Rukia Kukichi Zanpakuto “Sleeved White Snow” – [True Swords]

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