The story is fairly basic: a badass, nameless ronin
takes a young boy under his wing and at the end of the movie, he must save him. The main characters Kotaro and Nanashi are likeable enough, and develop a brother-like relationship that I thought was well-executed, but nothing unconventional. The bad guys, while equally badass, remain flat characters throughout the movie, and their reasons for chasing Kotaro are immaterial to the plot.
Where this movie really shines is in the visual department. The animation was done by Studio Bones
and itís right up there with the best of their other work. The swordfights are what samurai movies are really about anyway, and this movie contains some of the most well-animated fight sequences Iíve ever seen, all the way from the very first scene of the movie to an action-packed finale. The art is equally good, with some colourful and detailed backgrounds that are just pure eye-candy.
In short: if youíre a fan of action or samurai anime, I can heartily recommend this movie.