Sword of the Stranger was originally released in 2007 and was written and produced by Studio Bones (Fullmetal Alchemist, Noragami) and directed by Masahiro Andō. It is presented here on Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD with both the English Dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles.
“Those who have no skill require harsh instruction if they are to have any hope to get better…”
The film is set in Japan during the Sengoku era and follows the adventures of a young boy, Kotaro (Aidan Drummond – Powerpuff Girls Z) and his loyal dog Tobimaru. He has been looked after by a monk, Shouan (Hiro , Kanagawa – InuYasha), but everything changes one day when he is sent away and told to seek help from Master Zekkai (Richard Newman – Being Ian) at the Mangaku temple, many miles away.
He sets out, pursued for unknown reasons by a group of Ming warriors, lead by Master Bai-Luan (Ken Kramer) and his European second in command Luo-Lang (Scott McNeil – Dragon Ball Kai). Kotaro and Tobimaru take shelter in an abandoned temple, which is where they encounter No-Name (Michael Adamthwaite – Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage), a wandering lone swordsman.
When the temple is attacked by Bai-Luan, No-Name intervenes to save the boy and Kotaro hires him to be his bodyguard. A former Ronin who is still haunted by his past, he is not sure, but he reluctantly agrees to get them to the Mangaku temple.
Sword of the Stranger is a beautifully animated film, full of lavish fight sequences and packed with action. It is a good story, although not quite as in-depth as I expected and sometimes feels a little bit under-explained. However, that doesn’t really detract from this very interesting film. This re-release is a great package and well worth adding to your collection.
“We could steal, or become bodyguards. We can do anything! In fact, we could even become pirates!
Sword of the Stranger is available to buy now on Dual-Format DVD and Blu-ray.