Blade of the Immortal Episode 5

Blade of the Immortal Episode 5

Act Five – Song of the Bugs

Happy Halloween! I was going to have a special Halloween post this year like I did last year, but then I just didn’t feel like doing that. And since I make the rules around here, we’re sticking to the schedule and reviewing episode five of Blade of the Immortal.

To start things off, I have to say this was a great episode. Not only did we learn a lot of new information about Manji’s immortality, but we also met another, very interesting character by the name of Eiku Shizuma.

Like Manji, Eiku is another immortal swordsmen, but he’s a member of the Itto-Ryu. However, unlike many of the other members we’ve met so far, he’s not exactly all that dedicated to the cause. Sure, he believes in what the Itto-Ryu stands for, but he also tries to ally with Manji to take down its leader.

Why exactly he wants to do this isn’t entirely clear, but I do have a guess. I don’t believe that Eiku was ever planning to help Manji defeat the leader of the Itto-Ryu, but I also don’t think it was a trap. Instead, Eiku was testing Manji for another reason — to see if he was a worthy opponent.

And I don’t think he simply wanted to fight a strong opponent. I think he was looking for an opponent who could finally defeat him. This is hinted at towards the end of the episode when he states that the reason he didn’t dodge Manji’s final attack was because he was tired of struggling like a worm to live.

I assume he would have finished Manji off during their first encounter if he had accepted his deal.

Sacred Blood Worms

Eiku is also the one who gives us a lot of new information regarding his and Manji’s immortality. For starters, it’s confirmed that the old woman Rin met in the graveyard at the beginning of episode one is the one who granted them both their power.

However, the source of their immortality is a bit odd. Eiku refers to the “sacred blood worms” as the active force which keeps both he and Manji alive. These seem to be literal worms inside of their blood which heal their wounds.

It’s a sort of symbiotic relationship. The worms have a host body to live in, and the host gains immortality.

We also learn that the sacred blood worms cannot be passed from person to person like a normal blood-borne disease. Eiku tells Rin this is the case at first, but it turns out he was lying. After all, if that were the case then he could have saved those who he cared about who died over the centuries.

And yes, I said centuries. Eiku is confirmed to be a bit over 200 years old which in itself is an important piece of information because thanks to Manji’s reaction, we know he’s nowhere near that old yet. If I had to guess, Manji has only been immortal for a few years.

We also have Manji’s confirmed kill count at 128 while Eiku claims his is no less than 1,000. But to be fair, Eiku also mentioned that he took part in a war which would have given him and his immortal body a lot of enemies to fight against.

Eiku Shizuma’s Blade(s)

So we know that Eiku is Immortal just like Manji thanks to the sacred blood worms, he’s older than Manji, and he’s killed more men than Manji. But what we also learn is that all of this means he has much more experience than Manji.

At some point during his life he discovered a special type of poison which works against the sacred blood worms. This means that an immortal human who’s poisoned by it won’t be able to regenerate their body. We see this when Manji is stabbed by Eiku’s knife.

Eiku Shizuma holding his knife from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
Eiku Shizuma holding his knife

However, that’s not all there is to the sacred blood worm poison. Not only does it stop the healing of wounds, but it reopens all of the person’s wounds which were previously closed. It’s not exactly clear though whether only wounds healed by the sacred blood worms reopen.

I would think that it only opens wounds healed by the sacred blood worms initially. But, Manji’s scars on his face reopen, and I don’t think those were healed by the worms because they wouldn’t have left scars if they were. Either way, the person who gets poisoned is going to die due to blood loss thanks to all of their past injuries.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Eiku’s blade(s) as this section is titled? Obviously we know he coats his blades in this poison, but did you notice the fur (or maybe feathers) attached to the back of his blade(s)? This actually serves a purpose — it soaks up the poison which would otherwise run off the blade.

That attention to detail alone is enough to make this a good episode.

Nothing in this World is Immortal

The last thing I want to discuss regarding this episode is the fact that Manji and Eiku’s immortality is not absolute. In episode three Manji mentioned that he could be killed by beheading, but we now learn there’s actually more to it than just that.

Yes, beheading would work, but there are a variety of other options as well. It appears that the sacred blood worms can only repair bodily trauma to a certain extent. For example, when Manji’s leg is amputated he’s able to reattach it because he holds it in place while the worms repair the wound.

So what would have happened if his leg was amputated and then thrown into a volcano so he couldn’t recover it? I know, extreme example, but still. My point is, if he can’t reattach whatever gets cut off, I don’t think the worms will heal the injury — leaving him to bleed out.

Eiku Shizuma dead from the anime series Blade of the Immortal
Eiku Shizuma dead

This is exactly how Eiku dies. His arms and legs are chopped off, and then his torso is pinned to a tree. Like this, there’s no way for him to reattach his extremities, and so he ends up dying due to blood loss.

But as I mentioned earlier on, Eiku also wanted to die at this point. If that wasn’t the case, he could have easily defeated Manji, which is kind of becoming a recurring theme. Manji, despite being immortal, isn’t that great of a swordsman. However, in his defense, Eiku has 200 years of combat experience.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts about Blade of the Immortal episode five? Did you find it as interesting as I did? Do you think we’ll ever meet another person with the sacred blood worms of immortality? And how old do you think Manji is? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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