A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
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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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love anime
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.
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