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File:Katanagatari2.jpg

  "Don't get me wrong. I'm doing this for your sake."

A twelve volume novel series by Nisio Isin and illustrated by Take. Later adapted into a twelve episode anime. Despite the similar name, it is not related to Isin's other work Bakemonogatari.

The legendary swordsmith Kiki Shikizaki made 1000 swords in his career. His skill was such that entire wars were won on the amount of his swords a given state had. When the Shogun emerged victorious, he collected the first 988 of those swords... but those were just practice for Shikizaki.

The final twelve swords were the pinnacle of the swordsmith's career. Each of them has powers so extraordinary that just a single man could defeat small armies while wielding one of them.

Shogunate strategist Togame has been ordered to recover them. She first hired a Ninja...but the worth of the swords is so great the entire ninja clan defected the moment they recovered one. Then she hired a swordsman... but he kept the sword for himself after finding it and went rogue.

Her last hope is Shichika Yasuri, the seventh head and last practitioner of Kyotouryuu, the No Sword School. He and his elder sister live on an island cut off from civilization, and as such they need no money. His fighting style doesn't use a sword, so the famous weapons are useless to him.

So why should he agree to help? Only one option remains -- to fall in love.


Katanagatari provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The power of the Zantou Namakura is being this.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Nanami is a female example, but she fits the trope to a T, especially in ep 7.
  • An Aesop: The ending. Episode 10 comes to the conclusion that fighting is meaningless. At the end of episode 12, almost everyone has died... and nothing of note has changed. Meaningless indeed.
    • Essentially the entire point of the ending sequence is reinforcing this view, with the show giving us a slow montage of the locations in which characters were slain or fought throughout the series before stating that the plan still never succeeded.
  • Anime Hair: And how. Also commonly Multicolored Hair.
  • Anti-Hero: Shichika could be viewed as type IV or even type V seeing as he has no hesitation whatsoever about killing any foe on his path (even if they are likeable, or women and children). It should be noted that this is because of his upbringing but still...
    • He got better.
      • To the point where his sister said that he had rusted.
  • Anti-Villain: All of the non-Maniwani villains, and even then the Insect Squad isn't too bad.
    • By episode six the Maniwa have cemented themselves as near Anti-Villains, being very Affably Evil, and mostly neutral. Houou takes alliances seriously, and the remaining Maniwa (except for one) all understand the path of the shinobi well enough to know that revenge will not prosper.
    • The Reveal in episode 12 retroactively makes Togame a protagonist example.
  • Anyone Can Die: This series is absolutely brutal with its character mortality. The body count includes the entire Maniwa Corps, seven of the twelve Deviant Blade wielders (not counting one who has been dead for centuries and the autonomous blade that gets destroyed), countless mooks, most of Shogun Owari's elite forces and the Shogun himself. Even Togame isn't immune.
    • In the end, aside from Hiteihime, only two little girls, a shogi player and a pirate are spared.
  • Arc Number: 12. There are twelve swords, the story takes place over roughly twelve months, and is comprised of twelve volumes/episodes.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Averted. Togame tries, but inevitably hurts her hands more than she does Shichika.
  • Art Shift: The entire seventh episode. It just keeps outdoing itself.
    • Done absurdly for Togame's fantasies in episode 9.
  • The Atoner: Meisai gave up the bandit life to care for the girls of the Sanzu Shrine after the previous Meisai Tsuruga used his dying breath, not to curse her, but to beg her to forgive the broken girls of the shrine. Because of this, she uses Tsurugi as a healing agent for the girls. Suffice to say, this is an incredibly unusual use for a spiritually poisonous Deviant Blade, and it's unclear how helpful Tsurugi even is for this purpose. But as Meisai is bound by the taint of the sword, this was likely the only way she could go on living without having to continue to kill people.
    • Also, Shichika for Togame at the end. He denies it, however.
  • Audience Surrogate: Shichika, during episode 11 due to a few fourth wall leaning comments.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Maniwa really shouldn't have sent the Insect Squad to attack Nanami. Now she has both the motivation and the means (thanks to her newly acquired walk-on-water technique) to get involved in the sword hunt -- which could also be bad for Shichika and Togame.
    • Certain events that transpire towards the end of the series make Shichika a prime example of this. Perhaps quite literal considering his stature.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: Nanami's main ability.
    • Episode 8 and 9 for Togame as well.
  • Ax Crazy : Anyone who wields Dokutou Mekki. Also, Shichika loses it after Togame dies.
  • Badass: Many characters, but particularly Shichika, Hakuhei, Nanami, Emonzaemon and Houou.
  • Badass Adorable: Konayuki, the opponent from episode 6. Extra points on the badass for being the first person to wound Shichika through the journey, while being a complete amateur.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Swordsman, but Kyotouryuu is basically this.
    • He's not a swordsman, he's a swordman.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Nanami didn't even get her kimono dirty the last time she fought Shichika to a "draw". In episode 4 the last Insect Corp ninja actually hits her with two barbed caltrops, but she simply digs them out without even flinching. There's surprisingly little blood too.
  • Becoming the Mask: Shichika and Togame really do fall in love with each other.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dear God, Nanami!
  • Big Eater: Shichika and Togame consume at least several thousand calories worth of rice dumplings and red bean soup while recapping the awesome battle they had with Sabi Hakuhei in episode 4.
    • Hey, beating the best swordsman in Japan, wielding one of the best swords ever forged, is pretty hungry work.
  • Big No: Togame lets one out when she discovers the true meaning of her Catch Phrase.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Invoked.
  • Body Horror: Oh goddess, Koumori's transformation ability... and to a lesser extent, being able to produce a full costume from his mouth.
  • Body Surf: Maniwa Kyouken's ability. Only it has to be a female.
  • Book Ends: The BGM "Togame" plays during Togame and Shichika's first meeting, and its near-identical twin "Is It All Right to Fall for You?" plays as Togame says her last words to Shichika 12 episodes later.
  • Boss Rush: The final episode has Shichika carving his way through the Shogun's retainers wielding the Deviant Blades, with Emonzaemon as the Final Boss.
  • Bottle Fairy: Meisai wields a BIG bottle of sake at that.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Entou Jyuu, which were created by Shikizaki Kiki using future technology.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During one of the dialogues between Princess Hitei and Emonzaemon in Episode 10, she stops him after he's about to reveal her motivation for collecting the swords. She then puts her fan over her mouth, looks at the camera, and says "I don't know who might be listening, so refrain from saying anything careless."
  • Calling Your Attacks: Sometimes followed by the attack names getting their own screen, written in badass calligraphy.
  • Catch Phrase: Togame will make you think that Catch Phrases are Serious Business in the world of Katanagatari.
    • "Cheerio!" Which doesn't mean what Togame thinks it does... she has a Freak-Out in episode 5 when Houou tells her what "Cheerio!" actually means.
    • "However, by that point you'll have been torn to pieces." Picked almost at random due to Togame's demanding he get one, and by the end of the episode Shichika managed to make it badass.
    • Sabi Hakuhei's: "I'll make you fall for me." To which the guy he kills responds: "So... cool..."
    • And now we have Nanami's "That's good.... Or is it bad?"
    • Hiteihime also seems to have adapted "I deny it" as her speech gimmick, which is a play on her name (Original Japanese: "hitei suru yo").
    • Emonzaemon has a morbid habit of asking what a person's last words would be.
  • Censor Steam: Always a staple of Onsen Houses, and the ending of the soak in Episode 5 portraying Togame is no exception.
  • Chekhov's Gun: On Hiteihime's mantle lies a matching handgun and revolver set. At first they look like decorative pieces when in reality, they're Deviant Blades, and actual working guns.
    • The poison on Mitsubachi's caltrops is not fatal. However the hidden poison, which Nanami took from Kamakiri's molar earlier, must be fatal, right? It's for suicide after all.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Togame shows signs of this in episode 8 and it becomes blatantly obvious in episode 9.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Togame, courtesy of Nanami.
  • Clothing Damage: Subverted - Ginkaku takes a swipe at Togame and luckily Shichika steps in and prevents the damage from being worse. All that is damaged is the top layer on Togame's bust area.
  • Combat Pragmatist: To Emonzaemon's surprise, he's actually completely unable to get through Oshidori's attacking whips/barrier combo. When she decides to stop playing around and go on the attack, he... shoots her to death.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Several of the swordsmen in the boss rush in the final episode completely miss the point of the swords they're supposed to be wielding and end up using them in an ineffective fashion as a result, especially the Maniwa ninja who negates the weight of the sword whose special power is supposed to be its weight.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Never attempt to fight Nanami.
    • Shichika mops the floor with every last one of the Shogun's bodyguards in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Togame bites the dust. Bonus points for the fact that they are wielding the Deviant Blades. Emonzaemon is the only one to put up a decent fight.
    • Well, he spares the little girl who can't use her sword to fight, only knocking her out.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Nanami feels this way. She claims to envy people who have to actually put in effort to learn abilities (she can learn a skill by seeing it once and master it after seeing it twice) and she hates that her body won't allow her to die no matter how much suffering she endures as a chronically Ill Girl (she's pretty much immune to most poisons as a result and doesn't even flinch as she rips a hooked caltrop out of her back).
  • Cute and Psycho: That sweet Yamato Nadeshiko Ill Girl of an older sister we see in episode 1? She's a powerful martial arts prodigy that even scared her father and forced her brother out of his nail-biting habit by tearing off his fingernails when they were both still children. In episode 4 she busts out Curb Stomp Battles, Slasher Smiles, and Cold-Blooded Torture galore against the unlucky Quirky Miniboss Squad sent to capture her. All with the same sweet tone of voice.
    • Then she goes on a little tour of Japan, leaving a bloody trail behind her.
  • Death Seeker: Nanami, since she is so strong that no disease nor wound can prove fatal, but her own body can't bear the strain and makes her physically ill as a result.
    • Arguably Uneri Ginkaku, who just wanted to be able to die like a warrior, protecting something dear to him.
    • Shichika in ep 12. It doesn't work out for him.
  • Delayed Reaction: Togame carries on monologuing as if Shichika had agreed with her after asking if he wanted to rule the country, or has heard of Shikizaki Kiki. It takes a minute to sink in because she just can't believe he's so dense and demotivated.
    • Also her Freak-Out after discovering the true meaning of "Cheerio".
  • Detached Sleeves: Shichika wears them. They don't seem to do anything except cover some part of his top half.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Togame in Shichika's arms. Doubles as a Dying Declaration of Love.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When you think about it, it's not the Shogun's fault that Togame wasted her life on pointless revenge; he didn't even know who she was.
    • It seems Shichika just wanted to make a really big example of using "Cheerio!" as war cry - to grant Togame's dying wish.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Even in the midst of fighting/torturing Maniwa Corps., Nanami maintains her soft-spoken and polite disposition.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Averted. When Shichika finally fights Emonzaemon, it turns out he was willingly taking all of the shots. See Made of Iron
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The back massage in episode 5, among other things. Played for Laughs.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Sabi Hakuhei, according to Togame, could be mistaken for a woman.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: When Shichika storms the Shogun's castle after Togame dies, in the last episode, his eyes turn dull and grey.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Inverted. Emonzaemon is mystified as to how he could completely fail to hit Shichika with Entou Jyuu. Shichika explains that he didn't miss- he took the wounds in order to get close enough to break the gun barrels. After an impressive display of speed to keep Emonzaemon from actually aiming those shots at anything vital.
  • Face Heel Turn: Everybody that worked with Togame before Shichika betrayed her the moment they got their hands on a sword.
  • Field of Blades: Meisai lures Shichika into a Forest Of Blades to give herself the advantage in their duel. Shichika just runs back out, forcing her to follow him.
    • The Shôgun's retainer Akatsuki Tomoe who is given Sentou Tsurugi plays it straight, though. Given, she did it indoors, and Shichika just carves through it and hits her into the wall. Fat lot of good it did her to "master" the fighting style Meisai used.
  • Final Speech: Togame gives a long one to Shichika. It could even qualify as a Final Conversation, given that Shichika says quite a lot as well. Emonzaemon even says that he deliberately aimed for non-vital areas to give them time to chat.
  • Flower Motifs: Dear God, Shichika's design has them all over the place: His hair looks like a maple leaf, his hakama, gloves, hair tie, and even his sandals have the same leaf motif on them. Not to mention the fact that all Kyoutouryu techniques are named after flowers.
    • Nanami has a theme of pink asters (she wears one in her hair), and Hiteihime covers her room, fan and outfit with pink roses.
    • Flowers of different seasons are a key element of the light novel artwork too.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The narration at the end of episode 6 tells the audience exactly how episode 7 is going to end.
  • Foreshadowing: In episode 3, Shichika asks whether Zantou Namakura, the sword that can cut anything, would be able to cut Zettou Kanna, the invulnerable sword, and Togame says that since it was made later she supposes it could. Sure enough, in the last episode, Shichika is able to break Zettou Kanna using Kyotouryuu, the final perfected Deviant Blade.
  • The Gadfly: There is a non-comedic example with Higaki Rinne. While he does have a fairly trollish personality thanks to Togame, his life is based around pointing out uncomfortable truths and things people would rather avoid.
  • Godiva Hair: First with Koumori's doppelganger ability to impersonate Togame; we then get to see the real thing in episode 4.
  • Grand Theft Me: Anyone who draws Dokutou Mekki is possessed by Shikizaki Kiki's memories. Maniwa Houou is on the receiving end of this.
    • It is hinted that this may be because he caught it with the hand of his trusted ally Maniwa Kawauso, who could read the past of objects as he touched them. How that is? Houou grafted that hand onto his body, of course.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: None of the characters are really good, but none of them are really evil either and their motivations, if not sympathetic, are at least understandable.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Both Shichika and Nanami.
  • Hartman Hips: Hiteihime and Togame get a lot of focus down there. Dem hips.
  • Holding Hands: Togame and Shichika do this in episode 11, against the sunset. Which makes what happens next all the more heartwrenching.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Shichika and Togame in particular. Also Togame and Kanara, if it had ever worked out. Oshidori and Chocho are an example of Huge Girl Tiny Guy.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Shichika, no longer bound by orders such as "don't destroy the swords" and "protect yourself", proceeds to completely curb stomp just about everyone in ep 12.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every volume/episode is named after one of the 12 swords.
  • Idiot Hero: Shichika plays this up, especially in the first episode, but he doesn't actually come across as an idiot so much as he has No Social Skills because of his upbringing. He still finds it troublesome to give more than minimal thinking effort.
  • Ill Girl: Nanami. Despite this, she's still insanely powerful.
    • Backwards. She's an Ill Girl because she's SO INSANELY POWERFUL that learning a new technique makes her WEAKER. So powerful that the human body can't contain it. Her efforts at Mega Manning actually make her weaker, read: healthier.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Delivered to multiple opponents by Shichika.
  • Infant Immortality: Episode 11 looks like this is going to happen with Pengin. Then he gets a gun shoved into his mouth.
    • Played straight with Konayuki and Saraba. Though Shichika probably would have killed them if he thought it fair.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Kyouto Yasuri in its "complete" form.
  • Informed Ability: Sabi Hakuhei was apparently the strongest swordsman in Japan. It was rumoured that he could even slice the sun in half. Then he gets killed off-screen by Shichika...
    • The sheer awesomeness of a duel between Sabi Hakuhei and Shichika is such that your brain would be fried if you witnessed it- so it's censored for your protection. It's non-fatal in small doses, so there are some snippets in the episode preview.
    • Togame's status as being The Strategist at first appears this way but is fortunately averted later on when she does show skill in coming up with clever schemes, surprisingly for anime 9/10 times they are Awesome Yet Practical.
  • Ironic Echo: Shichika's Catch Phrase, especially the first time it was used, but also for a few jokes. The context tends to change its meaning completely.
    • Also, Togame's jokey death speech from episode 6, which she repeats almost verbatim in episode 12 when she actually dies.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Subverted. Togame gives Shichika the order to protect himself, stipulating that she's not giving this order because she cares if he gets hurt, but because she can't gather the swords if he dies... she then immediately gives him a second order to protect himself, stipulating that this one is because she cares if he gets hurt.
  • Lampshading: Many examples so far, but one that hasn't yet been mentioned; when Dokutou Mekki is first encountered, before they know about the memory effect, Shichika and Togame mock it for actually being a katana, saying stuff like "At this point, I was expecting a liquid sword or something, that blade is way too normal".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Togame tends to make comments that'd be fourth wall breaking if it weren't for the fact that she's writing everything down for publication.
    • The light novel sometimes comments or references on the genre savviness of characters, and starts hanging the lampshades around.
    • Shichika in episode 11 as well, when the pair are speaking to Maniwa Houhou/ Shikizaki Kiki.
  • Lonely At the Top: Essentially how Nanami feels.
  • Male Gaze: In the first opening, the camera slides from Shichika's face to Togame's... then to her chest and things for no apparent reason than fanservice before moving to the sword. Her behind and legs also get plenty of focus later on.
  • Magic Skirt: Togame's impossibly tiny, decoratively torn skirt is nothing short of miraculous in its ability to conceal the goodies.
    • It fails in a few frames if you look closely enough.
  • Meaningful Name: Inverted. Shikizaki Kiki's sense of irony made him name some of his swords for what they are not.
    • Zettou Kanna, Plane the Absolute for the sword that cannot bend or be broken.
    • Zantou Namakura, Blunt the Decapitator for the sword that can cut anything.
      • Each Deviant Blade has a prime quality raised to the nth power, esp if you consider the readings of their kanji characters. Also, the qualities tend to mirror Shikizaki's progressive understanding of what an ultimate sword is, until the sword itself slowly disappears -- we start from toughness, to speed, then multiplicity, variability, defense, mass, reanimation, sword that wields itself, righteousness (Outou Nokogiri, the wooden sword), then physically removing the need for the blade with Seitou Hakari (transcendance of the opponent), then the wielder with Dokutou Mekki (possession), and finally, a weapon that renders swords obsolete, the pistol. The final one, Kyouto Yasuri in its "Completed" form, can transcend any and all of them.
    • Pretty much every character is carefully named after one of his characteristics. For instance, the strategian's nickname Togame refers to her peculiar left eye, basically meaning 'cross-shaped eye' in a very irregular Japanese.
    • When Togame vowed vengeance against the Shogunate she threw away everything, including her original name Youshahime; 'yousha' means forgiveness or mercy in Japanese, so in her quest for revenge she threw those things away too.
    • You will never get a straight answer out of Hiteihime, this is largely because 'hitei' means to deny in Japanese.
  • Mega Manning: Nanami can learn other people's techniques after seeing them once and master them after seeing them twice. She does this in order to become weaker. Her instinctive skills are so perfect that anything she might learn can only be called a step down.
  • Miko: Plenty about in the Sanzu Shrine, whose Shrine Maidens each own a Sentou Tsurugi. When Togame dresses up in their clothes however, the narrator comments that Shichika isn't attracted to "miko Moe".
    • Konayuki too, after she drops off Kanazuchi at the capital and joins the shrine.
  • Mind Screw: Episode 4... Just... episode 4. This series is seriously playing mind games with us.
  • Monster Sob Story: Nanami's life is one of continuous pain, alienation from her Martial Arts School, existential frustration and continued assassinations attempts (even from her own family!) that she would desire were successful. Even so, after seeing what she is capable of, is very difficult to empathize with her.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Insect Squad attacked Nanami thinking she was at best a "mere" Kyotouryuu practitioner weaker than her brother (who is technically the head of the family) -- a fatal mistake.
  • Named Weapons: All of the Deviant Blades.
  • Never Bring A Gun To A Swordfight: Defied by Emonzaemon, who killed Oshidori with a barrage of bullets from Entou Jyuu.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The next-episode preview in the third episode shows snippets of the battle between Shichika and Sabi Hakuhei... which then happens entirely offscreen in the fourth.
  • Normally I Would Be Dead Now: Shichika when fighting Emonzaemon. Despite being shot countless times and slashed to bits, he manages to come out of the fight victorious with only a scar on his face.
    • Let's not forget, his purpose for even going to the castle was to die.
    • The same could also be said for Nanami, who managed to continue fighting her brother after they removed the sword from her body. If you're wondering why that fight would fit this trope, she had a gaping hole in her chest.
  • No Social Skills: Shichika. Being raised on an island with just his family members, he is only able to tell people apart by height at first, and has little sense of when it's appropriate to kill people.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A running gag between Togame and Shichika. Episode 9 is full of this once Togame's imagination runs away with her.
  • Older Than She Looks: Togame, who is around Shichika's age (24) but looks much younger. Hiteihime even mocks Togame relentlessly for this after her Traumatic Haircut.
    • Nanami is an even worst example - she's pushing 30 but looks even younger and smaller than Togame.
  • Once an Episode: Each episode ends with the narration "the story of Katanagatari, on this month and this evening, has come to an end".
  • One-Man Army: Every member of Kyoutouryu. Shichika takes down dozens or hundreds of the Shogun's warriors, then his bodyguards, each wielding one of the Deviant Blades, and Hiteihime's Dragon with relative ease.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Nanami killed an entire city in half an hour.
    • Maniwa Houou when he's possessed by Shikizaki Kiki. Togame even points out the fact that Nanami isn't the only one capable of such a thing when she and Shichika come upon the aftermath.
    • Shichika himself. Or at least, if not an entire city, dozens (if not hundreds) of soldiers, plus eleven Elite Mooks, plus a Dragon. And at the very end, he punches a castle in half.
  • Princess Curls: Togame goes for broke by combining these with a Hime Cut and Rapunzel Hair with some shots of Godiva Hair, even. Oh, she's also a White-Haired Pretty Girl. Now what do you think the odds are she's a main character? Also followed by her rival, Princess Hitei.
    • Subverted, as halfway through the series, Togame gets a Close-Call Haircut. Hiteihime cuts hers too, although not until the very end.
  • Punny Name: The title is a pun on the katanagari ("sword hunt") issued by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, which stripped peasants of their weapons to prevent an uprising. However in this case, Shichika and Togame are hunting for a group of swords. There's also the fact that gatari can be read as "story", similar to Isin's other series Bakemonogatari.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Almost every plot-significant character in the series has hair down to their ankles.
  • Retirony: Used hard in ep4, where one of the ninjas goes on for several minutes about his plans to go home and get married after this last mission. His companion even starts to interrupt and tell him that saying all that is a bad idea... then stops, since there's a strong sense that they both know he won't survive.
    • Also, in a rare protagonist example, in episode 11, Togame talks about going on a sight-seeing journey with Shichika after all the action is over, she is shot to death one minute before the credits roll. Cruelly subverted when she admits in her Final Speech that it was all a lie; she was planning to kill Shichika to avenge her father.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Houou when he's possessed by Dokutou Mekki. More of a case of Red Eyelids Take Warning.
    • Inverted with Togame - it's when one of her normally red eyes turns purple that you should look out.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Togame was going to kill Shichika after their journey was over to avenge her father's death at the hands of Shichika's father. She admitted that she would have gone through with this even though she truly loved Shichika if she hadn't been mortally wounded. To her, everything -- people, swords, even her own heart -- were tools for her vengeance. When Shichika calls her an idiot for wasting her entire life on revenge like this, she readily agrees with him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shichika against the Shogun in the last episode.
    • Although, he says that he's not doing it for revenge. He's rebelling against Togame's last order and harboring a deathwish.
  • Ronin: Uneri Ginkaku, the owner of Zantou Namakura. Also technically Sabi Hakuhei, since he defected from the shogunate.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Shichika goes through this fighting eleven Shogunate warriors equipped with Shikizaki Kiki's swords in the last episode.
  • Schizo-Tech: Other than the third and ninth blades, the 12 blades are quite weird and unnaturally powerful for pre-18th century mechanics and forging skills. In the second to last episode it is revealed that Kiki utilized his soothsayer abilities to find new blade-making techniques, essentially making all the blades weapons from the far future.
  • Screw Destiny: Shikizaki Kiki forged the Deviant Blades for this purpose.
  • Second Hand Storytelling: The fight with Sabi Hakuhei, the strongest swordsman in Japan, is given massive buildup across multiple episodes, then played this way as a joke.
  • Secret Test of Character: Higaki Rinne's way of determining whether Shichika and Togame are worthy of taking his Deviant Blade.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Shichika admits in episode 3 that he killed his own father, the previous Kyotouryuu master. In episode 7, Nanami tells Togame that her father might have killed her mother to show Togame that it's not unusual for members of the Yasuri family to kill each other.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The entire series. Lampshaded by the narrator at the very end.
    • Subverted when you consider the Aesop qualities of the ending.
  • Shout-Out: Episode 7 has a scene where Nanami's attack on the monks in an overhead view very similiar to the game Pocky and Rocky (Kiki Kaikai) for the SNES and GBA. Earlier in the episode there's a conversation between three portraits of the characters as if it were a Visual Novel.
    • The few seconds before the meeting with Emonzaemon in the same episode may possibly be a shoutout to Muramasa: The Demon Blade, as the way the map is shown is similar to how the map is displayed when moving between areas in the game, and the exclamation mark and sound effect that accompanies it as they encounter Emonzaemon is the exact same thing that happens in the game right before an enemy encounter. Not to mention the side scrolling view it shifts to as they get off the boat.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Several characters, noticeably Shichika, have this.
  • Slasher Smile: When Nanami gets one of these, you know you're screwed.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Subverted with Nanami. Her father refused to teach her Kyotouryuu and decided to make Shichika the next head of the Yasuri clan -- not because she was a woman, and not because she was an Ill Girl, but because she was too powerful for him to properly train. Not that it mattered -- she mastered Kyotouryuu anyway by simply watching her father train her brother.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: "'Shirisagi talk-reverse' me call people." Much, much worse in the Japanese version, where the kana as a whole are reversed, as opposed to neat words in backwards order.
    • He speaks normally after Ginkaku cuts him in half.
  • Stronger Sibling: Nanami to Shichika. The last time they had a match, Shichika was battered and bruised and Nanami wasn't even scratched. It was only a "draw" because she gave up on account of her low endurance as an Ill Girl. Shichika even thinks that Sabi Hakuhei, the "strongest swordsman in Japan" who wielded one of the 12 swords and could supposedly cut the moon in half, wasn't as strong as Nanami.
  • Super Strength: The slender Shichika fends off a full blown charge from Kanara and Zokutou Yoroi, crashing through the ring's boundaries... and LIFTS both the armor and its occupant over his head for a good long while, finishing with a free trip into the air, crashing into the ground with great force. Subverted as Togame puts this down to him having trained virtually his entire life to hone his muscle strength.
    • And yet Shichika doesn't hold a candle to the Itezora Clan. The little girl, Konayuki, last of her kind and the only one left that can wield the insanely heavy Soutou Kanazuchi, is the first person in the sword hunt to ever hurt Shichika, and she was the weakest of all the village children. Still their Super Strength did nothing to save them from being wiped out by Nanami.
    • And now Nanami has learned the Super Strength of a fully grown warrior of the Itezora Clan.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Princess Hitei in Episode 10. "The way you put it, it almost sounds like I'm the descendant of the legendary Shikizaki Kiki who ruled over the Sengoku Era, and that I've kept track of all of the Perfected Deviant Blades and stayed one step ahead of that unpleasant woman to collect them. That's totally not true of course, so there's no need to say it." This may even be mockery of this trope - the way she says it, it's like she wants you to know.
  • Take Our Word for It: The fight between Shichika and Sabi Hakuhei was apparently 11 different kinds of epic. Of course, this all happened off-screen...
  • Talking Is a Free Action: A lot of the dialogue in this series is held in mid-air, or while descending at breakneck speed towards an opponent. Lampshaded somewhat by Shichika in episode one, who explains his inability to wield a sword to Koumori with a casual "by the way".
  • Technicolor Eyes: Lots of characters demonstrate this, but Konayuki, Meisai, Zanki and Pengin are perhaps most prevalent.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted hilariously in the final episode. Saraba, the wielder of Seitou Hakari decides to just chuck the weapon at Shichika, who proceeds to knock it back at her. At least she's the only one of the Boss Rush who doesn't die.
  • Tickle Torture: Togame with her collarbones. Highly suggestive of arousal too, from her Luminescent Blush. Tickling also proves enough to make her reveal her schemes. In both cases it was just Shichika being silly though.
  • Theme Naming: Both Shichika and Nanami are the seventh generation offspring of the Yasuri clan. Shichi and Nana both mean seven. Their father is Mutsue. Mutsu means six.
    • The founder of the style was Kazune Yasuri. Kazu can mean, among other things, one.
    • Also, they get plant theme naming as well. Shichika means seventh flower, Nanami means seventh fruit, Mutsue means sixth branch, and Kazune means first root.
    • Every Maniwa ninja is named after an animal, starting with Koumori meaning "bat" and Shirasagi meaning "white heron".
  • Too Dumb to Fool: A villain in the first season uses a complicated technique to take Togame's form... only to get foiled by the fact that Shichika can't distinguish between people at all anyway.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In episode 10 Kyotou Yasuri is revealed to be the completed Thirteenth Deviant Blade.
    • Not that it seems to bother anyone much at the time. In Shichika's own words "I guess it doesn't really change anything. It's just like, 'Who cares', you know?"
  • Tragic Keepsake: In episode 12, Shichika keeps a lock of Togame's hair that he loved so much. Princess Hitei also starts wearing Emonzaemon's mask as a hair decoration.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: TOTALLY averted with the end of episode 3/ beginning of episode 4. If you've read down this far, you'll have a good idea of what happens, but... yeah.
  • Tranquil Fury: Shichika after Togame's death.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Togame. AND HOW.
    • It's a Berserk Button for Shichika.
    • For the uninformed, please read the real life section of the page for the significance.
  • Tsundere: Parodied with Togame, who tries to act tsun-tsun towards Shichika every once in a while, but Shichika is simply too oblivious for it to work.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Yeah, like the technique they carefully discuss and demonstrate in advance in episode 5 is really going to work...
  • Villainous Valor: Almost the entirety of the fourth episode. Nanami is scary.
  • Walking the Earth: Shichika and Princess Hitei in the end, to draw a map of the country.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Shichika asks a dying Togame if their plans to travel together were just a lie, desperately trying to convince her to hold on to life. It was all a lie. She was planning to kill him to complete her lifelong mission of vengeance.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: A few of the Maniwani, namely Shirasagi, Kuizame and Kawauso, are killed off without being developed. Also goes for the shogun's Twelve Guardians, aside from Emonzaemon.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Lampshaded with bladeless sword Seitou Hakari in the final fight sequence; all the other fighters find at least some way to use their sword, but the little girl who gets Seitou Hakari can only say "this thing is kind of useless..." and is reduced to relying on Shichika for an idea on how to attack him with it.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Sabi Hakuhei, partially.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Togame, Hiteihime, and Kousha Saraba.
  • Wolverine Claws: Nanami learns how to grow long fingernails for this purpose after seeing a (male) ninja attempt the technique against her. Hers aren't quite as powerful since she only saw the technique once -- not that it matters.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Shichika had no real qualms with killing Meisai in order to get one of the Deviant Blades. Togame later makes an observation about how he doesn't distinguish between men and women.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Maniwa Houou's ability. He could learn other people's abilities by grafting part of their bodies to his own. Did this to Maniwa Kawauso's arm and implied to be done to Emonzaemon's FACE. It is implied as well that he could potentially gain immortality by repeatedly replacing his body parts like this.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Togame pulls this off with a tattered skirt.
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