At a Glance: Basilisk
The Kouga and Iga clans, rival ninja families, have fought each other for centuries. A tentative ceasefire in the hostilities came when both families pledged themselves to serve Ieyasu Tokugawa. However, this peace is shaky, considering that both sides still hate each other. Both are warrior clans, and each side has several members with fantastic abilities.
And then Tokugawa himself declares that the two families must directly compete against each other for his favor. And by compete, naturally he means "murder the fuck out of each other until there's one person/clan left". Who said all Battle Royale anime had to take place in a modern high school? And these are ninja, which means, if there's one thing they can do, it's kill.
Oh, and the female heir of one family and the male heir of the other are sneaking away to a cave to get freaky because they were childhood friends. Whoo! Forbidden love that's very forbidden!
You'll never get a darker, gorier version of Romeo and Juliet. Thanks, Japan!
Action, Romance, Tragedy, Historical Fantasy
Manga by Mesaki Segawa
There are a lot of stereotypical anime flashbacks, and the romantic lead characters themselves are not very interesting (Saddy McPlanktits and Broody McEyebrows, I call them). But the show's best aspect is the fighting scenes.
Not only are the fights beautifully planned and animated, but each character involved is one you will come to understand, care about, perhaps even love. If you're interested because you heard it's like Romeo and Juliet and think that means it will be sweet and romantic (actually read the Shakespeare play before saying/thinking that, looking at you, Taylor Swift), skip this one. But if you want an action-packed, brutal historical anime with lots of cool-looking fights, you've come to the right place. I'm not saying that Basilisk has no emotional impact whatsoever, but if you're looking for sentimentally romantic, maybe look elsewhere.
Basically, this would be dull as dishwater if it were just about Oboru and Gennousuke, our lovebirds. But the supporting cast is colorful and interesting, and the conflict between the families and their involvement in historical events is what makes this show worth watching. What I liked this show for was how much it got me interested in learning more about each family.