Historical Japanese Swords, as Seen in Rurouni Kenshin

*A guest editorial from our Funimation Brand Manager, Jennifu

Rurouni Kenshin Dojo Battle


From period samurai shows to magical combat fantasy, Japanese swords are hyper-prominent in anime, and the upcoming theatrical runs of the swordplay-packed Rurouni Kenshin live-action movies are a perfect excuse to talk about the coolness of Japanese swords!


Learn about the basics of Japanese swords and their historical basis as seen in the Rurouni Kenshin movies, based on the manga and anime of the same name, which take a fictional but decently researched and realistic* approach on the subject, for shounen manga.


(And if you’re really into sword combat, these movies have excellent action choreography from one of the biggest action directors in Asian martial arts cinema—get your advance tickets today and see it for yourself! The first movie, Rurouni Kenshin: Origins, hits theaters August 8, 9 and 10!)



Rurouni Kenshin Reverse Blade

The hero of Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin Himura, wields a very iconic sword immediately familiar to anyone who’s read the original series. His sword is a sakabato, or a “reverse-blade”—meaning that the outer cutting edge is dull, and the inner edge is sharp, contrary to the normal construction of a Japanese sword.

(If you think about a “double-edged sword” being dangerous because there is also a cutting edge that faces you, a “reverse-blade” is even more dangerous and impractical because only the cutting edge faces you. This impracticality makes it a “pacifist sword” and also explains why Kenshin is such a badass, giving himself a huge handicap.)


Combat sakabato never existed (according to any known records), but actually at least one reverse-blade has been found in Japan, although it is a kogatana (small katana) rather than a full-length one.




As we know, Kenshin’s blade is a katana Japanese sword, but although people often use katana and “Japanese sword” interchangeably, they aren’t the same. The katana is actually a more modern style that was popularized around the 15th century.


Prior to the katana, longer, heavier, curved blades called tachi were the weapon of choice. As long-ranged, robust weapons, these were effective for fighting on horseback across open fields.




As cities became more prominent and horseback plains combat less relevant, the katana became more popular, as a lighter, shorter sword, worn cutting-edge up (as opposed to down on the tachi), meaning samurai could potentially slice an enemy upon drawing the sword, and generally wield with more agility.


Most importantly, katana could be used in fights in the cities, with narrow streets, or even indoors, where long tachi were at risk of getting caught in the low ceiling rafters.




In the Rurouni Kenshin series and movies, Sanosuke Sagara wields a huge, old and rusted zanbato, or horse-cutting sword. This type of sword is from that older era of horseback warfare.


Actually, a horse-cutting sword is not meant to be swung wildly with one arm—a wielder would hold the sword with both hands while perched on a horse, and taken down enemy riders. This just shows Sano’s monstrous strength and wild personality.




Another result of the development of the katana is the custom of samurai wearing two swords—a katana sword and a wakizashi, or a short sword. Katana were used more for combat and wakizashi for more personal use.


If a samurai was invited to a castle, for example, he was expected to leave his katana at the door, so as to not threaten the lord, but he could keep his wakizashi in self defense.




Aoshi Shinomori, who appears in the second Rurouni Kenshin movie and gets some cool action scenes in the third, wields double kodachi, which are somewhat shorter swords similar to wakizashi.


The reason he has to use short swords is that double-wielding long swords is impractical—there’s too much risk of cutting your own arms. (Sorry, Roronoa Zoro.)



Are you a big fan of Japanese swords? What types do like, and what are your favorite famous swords from anime, manga, or Japanese movies? Let us know in the comments!

Be sure to buy your advance tickets to Rurouni Kenshin: Origins today—this limited theatrical run is only in theaters for 3 days! http://www.funimationfilms.com/movie/rurouni-kenshin/

*except, sadly, there are no historical Japanese swords that spurt flames when you swing them :(

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Acquisition Announcement




As announced during Anime Expo, we have acquired the rights for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence! At the moment, we don’t have release dates, but you can expect streaming and a home video release in the future. See below for more details about this movie from Anime News Network:


The film is a sequel to Oshii’s earlier Ghost in the Shell 1995 anime film, which adapts Masamune Shirow’s manga of the same name. Production I.G worked on both films.
The film premiered in Japan in 2004. Go Fish Pictures released the film on DVD with English subtitles in 2004. Manga Entertainment released the film with an English on DVD in the United Kingdom in 2006. Bandai Entertainment then released the film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in 2009 with a slightly modified English dub cast from Manga Entertainment’s.
Funimation debuted the Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie film last November. The film is the latest installment in the franchise. Funimation also licensed the Ghost in the Shell Arise OVA series in 2013, and streamed the OVA’s updated television broadcast version Ghost in the Shell: Arise Alternative Architecture last year. Both the OVA and the television broadcast tie in to the Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie film.



The year is 2032 and the line between humans and machines has been blurred beyond distinction. Detective Batou, an agent for a covert anti-terrorist unit, is given a new case about gynoids—realistic female robots created for companionship—that have begun malfunctioning and murdering their owners. But as they dig deeper into this case filled with depravity, they find a shocking truth behind the crimes.




Last night in a surprise announcement to fans at San Diego Comic Con 2016, Funimation® Films announced its acquisition of the live action film “SHIN GODZILLA” from Toho Company, Ltd. The agreement includes theatrical, home entertainment, video on demand and broadcast rights for the upcoming Japanese live-action feature film and covers all of the Americas (North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean). Funimation is currently planning to release “SHIN GODZILLA” in theaters in late 2016.


“Funimation is extremely pleased to be working with Toho to bring ‘SHIN GODZILLA’ to audiences across the Americas,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and President of Funimation.


“SHIN GODZILLA” (“Shin Gojira”) is a Japanese tokusatsu kaiju film – a live action science fiction monster movie featuring special effects. It is the 29th Godzilla film produced by Toho. The film is co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi. Both directors performed double duties as writer and visual effects director respectively.  Higuchi most recently directed the live action film adaption of “Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) which was released in 2015. “SHIN GODZILLA” stars Hiroki Hasegawa and Satomi Ishihara – both alums of the “Attack on  Titan” movie – and Yutaka Takenouchi.


“’SHIN GODZILLA’ represents a brand new chapter in the 62-year history of this iconic science fiction monster,” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation. “We’re excited to bring audiences this new vision of Godzilla from Toho as reimagined by directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.”


For future news and information on “SHIN GODZILLA,” please register for email updates at funimationfilms.com.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – Preview the Collector’s Edition and Season One Part Two

Whose side are you on? The humans or the vampires? We aren’t sure either after the events of Season One Part Two in Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign. It is difficult to really discern which side is more evil or right. However, that big question inspired the design of Seraph of the End’s home video releases.


Conventions 2016: Crashing in on Comic-Con!


Summer conventions continue, and this one is a biggie! We’re packing our bags for the one, the only, Comic-Con International: San Diego! Arguably the biggest and baddest of US fan expos, Comic-Con has a lot to offer — and so do we! Check out everything we’ll have going on in sunny San Diego this week!





Funimation Industry Panel |  Thursday, July 21st |  6:00p – 7:00p | Room: 9
From Akira to Dragon Ball Z, hear the latest news, info, and announcements from North America’s largest anime distributor—Funimation. Live tweet with us using the hashtag #FunimationPanel for a chance to win prizes!


Funimation Favorites Panel | Friday, July 22nd | 6:00p – 7:00p | Room: 23ABC
Funimation takes a look at some of our personal favorites from current anime and past classics. What’s your Funimation favorite? Share it with us using the hashtag #FunimationFave!



Anime Gateways Panel | Friday, July 22nd | 2:30p – 2:45p | Petco Park - Legendary Digital Networks’ Conival

Funimation & Geek and Sundry team up to talk about the newest anime discussion series to hit the web, Anime Gateways



EXCLUSIVES | Booth 4135


Flocked Chopper Pop! Vinyl Figure | 2016 Convention Exclusive

*Supplies are limited.  First come first serve.  Limit of 2 pops per person, per badge.




Metallic Beerus Pop! Vinyl Figure |  SDCC Exclusive

*Supplies are limited.  First come first serve.  Limit of 2 pops per person, per badge.




Free Swag

We will have collectible bags as a gift with purchase while supplies last, and we will be giving away FREE Sunday Cosplay shirts to our subscribers! All you have to do is:

  • Open the FunimationNow app on your phone
  • Show the settings screen to the booth staff wearing the Sunday Cosplay shirt
  • Get your free shirt!

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.37.30 AM



 See you there!

Anime Expo 2016 “Love Live! Sunshine!! Special Event: Nice to Meet You, We Are Aqours!!” Official Report

Love Live! Sunshine!! is already attracting attention, thanks to the simultaneous world launch of the anime series in July. That excitement grew even hotter at Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles, the largest anime event in North America with 260,000 attendees, when school idol group Aqours went up on stage at the expo’s Anisong World Matsuri event on July 2 to talk about the anime and what they’ve been up to so far.


FunimationNow has launched on Amazon Fire TV!

FunimationNow on Amazon Fire TV


Amazon Fire TV users, now you too can stream anime on your TV with the all-new FunimationNow App!  The FunimationNow App for Amazon Fire TV has a wide variety of awesome features including:


·         Access to our library of anime simulcasts, broadcast dubs, and past favorites

·         Show marathoning for non-stop watching

·         The ability to sync your queue and watch progress across devices

·         Find your anime with helpful sorts, filters, and search

·         Closed caption support

·         Pick up right where you left off


To download the app, just visit the Amazon App Store and search for FunimationNow!

To learn more about the other apps we currently offer, visit our Apps Page.





Summer 2016 Broadcast Dub English Cast Announcements

Summer Simulcast Season 2016


Summer 2016 Simulcast Season has a huge Broadcast Dub list, as announced earlier this week, which means that tons of shows are getting dubbed quicker than ever, and with that comes many English cast announcements! Stay tuned to this blog in the coming days to see what all we have announced as we’ll be updating this page with all of the cast listings.


Click here to go to FIRST LOVE MONSTER
Click here to go to Puzzle & Dragons X
Click here to go to Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance (Season 2)
Click here to go to SERVAMP



Announcing: Summer Broadcast Dub Line-up 2016!

Here it is, the Summer 2016 Broadcast Dub line-up — plus the new Dubbletalk line-up!




Summer Broadcast Dub Premiere Dates


The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance2July 19

Puzzle & Dragons XJuly 19 (U.S. & Canada); July 20 (U.K. & Ireland)


Love Live! Sunshine!! 2July 30

Show by Rock!! Short!!August 1

Cheer Boys!!August 2

Tales of Zestiria the XAugust 3 (U.S. & Canada); August 4 (U.K. & Ireland)

D.Gray-man HALLOWAugust 3 (U.S. & Canada); August 4 (U.K. & Ireland)

PlanetarianAugust 4

Handa-kun - August 5 (U.S. & Canada); August 6 (U.K. & Ireland)

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. – August 7

Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Future ArcAugust 10 (U.S. & Canada); August 11 (U.K. & Ireland)

Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Despair ArcAugust 11



1  U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland. Premiere date same for all countries unless otherwise noted.
2  U.S. and Canada only.
3   Carryover from spring season.