The 12 Days of Christmas – Day 8: The Best Thing Bones Ever Did


The animation studio Bones and I have had a rocky relationship from the start. It began while I was just starting to consider myself an anime fan with the broadcast of Full Metal Alchemist on Toonami. I was thrilled with the story, animation, and characters enough that I began snapping the DVDs up even while it was still airing. In hindsight this became a mistake because the story of the second half just unraveled itself into incoherency and ended with a thud. Next came Eureka Seven and in a near exact repeat there was the great beginning, music, and animation that once again saw it all fall apart at the end.

Not every series from Bones suffered this problem – Soul Eater’s ending was “acceptable” for an ongoing manga adaptation, for example, and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood had the manga’s ending to crib from, so it was hard to screw that up – but, many other series like Daughter of Twenty Faces, X’amd, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and No.6 fell apart at the end. (And let’s just pretend Heroman never happened.)

I still give them the benefit of trying their series because they do have such nice animation. Of late, I’ve noticed a new thawing in our relationship. It began with the Un-Go OVA. I had actually liked the main series despite the problems with the story; however, the OVA worked as a prequel and filled in and explained the story enough that I came away really liking the series. Next came Eureka Seven AO. I found myself liking it despite the fans of the original series doing their best to tear it down. Most recently was their series Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster. Once again, I ended up liking it.

This actually puts me into the position of looking forward to their next work – Space Dandy – but that’s not the topic for today.

Instead, all this is preface to help explain my feelings towards seeing this gif:


Even in this rough form I was more pumped up from watching it then from the majority of finished anime I was watching at the time. A couple years ago I wouldn’t have bothered tracking down the movie it went to – Sword of the Stranger – this year, though, I was willing to give it a chance.

Good thing I did because this movie is perfect, utterly and completely perfect. It has the superior animation and action scenes I was expecting – turned up a notch since this was a theatrical movie – and the characters too. Bones also gets the ending right. Sword of the Stranger, aka Stranger: Mukou Hadan, is so good that I won’t hesitate in saying its Bones’ best animation work, movie or TV series, ever. I don’t understand why they haven’t made a sequel movie or series yet.

So for instigating my viewing of The Sword and the Stranger, I’m devoting today to the moment I first saw that rough animation gif from The Sword and the Stranger. And, seriously, if you’ve never watched this movie then do yourself a big favor and go watch it now. This is my early Christmas gift to you.

So, to pick up from yesterday:

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the best thing Bones ever did.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: pearls from amongst the swine.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the freedom to go with the flow.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: anime to get buzzed from.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: that final musical montage.
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: discovered gems during the Animusic Tournament.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the Time of Eve Kickstarter.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: that publicity picture.

Tune in tomorrow to see what’s next.


One thought on “The 12 Days of Christmas – Day 8: The Best Thing Bones Ever Did”

  1. That movie is also something I recommend to Western audiences that don’t get what anime is. They think it’s some cartoons for kiddies and immature ero gaki.

    The second time I watched it, I understood that scene between the monk and the yuusha a lot more, due to the book On Killing.

    The funny thing is, reviewing the sword fight scenes, their center line control is extraordinarily weak. Often it isn’t necessary to knock someone’s sword off and then come back with another strike. All you have to do is to stick to their blade, and divert it off their center line, then you just move your body weight in and your blade essentially cuts them apart in the same movement as your deflection. It’s often more magickal than the fantasy sword fights, because it looks like the enemy attacked, and then suddenly his head, armor, or torso broke apart from his own movement.

    Well, just that I can’t pick up any tips about sword fighting from anime, that’s not based upon traditional koryu arts. The fight scenes were still fun to watch. Technical details didn’t really matter in that context.


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