By Mark Dolan,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Bloody anime series is well-written but unrelentingly bleak.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Gai's journey is a complicated one, and the tone of the show is so dark it's hard to extract much positivity.
Positive Role Models
Characters are violent and bloodthirsty.
Violence & Scariness
A dog is seen skewered by a sword; characters are stabbed, sliced, and decapitated by swords and spears, resulting in giant sprays of blood. One character attempts to rape another; possessed characters talk a lot about needing to kill.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character gets sexually aroused describing the craftsmanship and killing potential of a sword; a couple kisses and engages in some spoken innuendo.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sword Gai is a violent, bloody anime series about a collection of cursed weapons that possess people and turn them into obsessed killers. The violence is intense, even by anime standards: A dog is seen skewered by a sword; characters are stabbed, sliced, and decapitated by swords and spears, resulting in giant sprays of blood; and one character attempts to rape another. There's also a disturbing amount of weapon worship here, as the art of sword making is heralded as something akin to the creation of life itself. Expect gory battles and villains who are literally bloodthirsty. Older teen horror and fantasy fans who can handle violence and a super bleak outlook may enjoy this dark show.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 1 parent review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In SWORD GAI, the Shoshidai is a secret organization in charge of tracking down cursed weapons before they can possess individuals with their evil and eventually consume them. If they aren't able to retrieve the weapon in time, they capture the possessed individuals and put them in sleep pods, only reviving them when their powers are needed for future retrieval missions. In addition to the members of the Shoshidai, the story follows Gai, an orphan boy whose mother was possessed by a sword while she was pregnant with him but hanged herself after giving birth. Gai is raised by a master sword maker who fuses the cursed sword with his arm, making Gai his ultimate creation. As Gai tries to fight the evil power of the sword that's now a part of his body, the Shoshidai begin their search for him.
Is It Any Good?
Dark, violent, and disturbing, this anime series infuses intense horror elements into its fantasy story and can be a little hard to watch at times. Characters are impaled, innocents are executed, and more than one character repeatedly chants "Kill, kill, kill," or "I need more blood." Those murderous refrains aside, Sword Gai is well-written, and the tragic origin stories of the various cursed weapons, told in flashbacks using a different animation style, are told with efficiency and emotion. However, the overall tone is so bleak, it's hard to connect with the characters in any way except feeling bad for their cursed existence. No one ever seems happy -- even when a foe is vanquished, it's never celebrated -- contributing to a sometimes grim viewing experience.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about anime. What's fun about watching shows like Sword Gai? Why do you think it's gaining popularity in the United States?
This show has lots of bloody action scenes. Would the scenes carry the same impact without the gore? Does showing the blood make the action seem more real or more fake? Have you ever had to stop watching something because of the violence?
- Premiere date: March 23, 2018
- Cast: Khoi Dao, Billy Kametz, Kayli Mills, Greg Chun
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Action
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Anime Movies
Anime TV for Teens and Tweens
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate