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Genre Romance, Action, Comedy
Light novel
Author Nisio Isin
Illustrator Take
Publisher Kodansha
Original run January, 2007December, 2007
Volumes 12
TV anime
Studio White Fox
Original run January 25, 2010 – ongoing
Episodes 12
Anime and Manga Portal

Katanagatari (刀語?, Sword Story) is a Japanese light novel series written by Nisio Isin and illustrated by Take. The series is published by Kodansha under the Kodansha Box imprint. An anime adaptation by White Fox started airing on January 25, 2010 and is set for 12 episodes.


Plot and settings

Katanagatari centers on Yasuri Shichika, the seventh head of the Kyotō-ryū (虚刀流?, literally "swordless style") of Japanese sword martial arts. One day, a girl named Togame arrives on the island where Shichika and his older sister Nanami live with a favor to ask from him. She tells him that she is on a mission to find and collect the final twelve swords forged by a master swordsmith by the name of Shikizaki Kiki and that she needs his help. They both then leave the island together to seek out the swords.


Shichika Yasuri (鑢七花 Yasuri Shichika?)
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya
Shichika, the main character of the story, is the twenty-four-year-old seventh head of the Kyotou school of Japanese sword martial arts. After living on an island for twenty years, he is sought out by Togame with a mission to find twelve swords. As a practitioner of the Kyotō school of swordplay, he does not use a single sword when fighting, instead using his hands and legs as his primary weapons. In a sense, he is actually a physical fighter, but since he uses hand-chops, he considers it to be an art of the sword. The reason why he practices Kyotō is because the Yasuri family has no talent in handling swords, which dates back to as far as the first head of the school. He is in love with Togame and will do anything she tells him to do. However, sometimes he considers her orders a hassle.
Togame (とがめ Togame?)
Voiced by: Yukari Tamura
Togame is the self-named strategian that comes to the island where Shichika resides in order to seek his help in finding the final twelve swords forged by Shikizaki Kiki. Her father was Hida Takahito, the leader of the last rebellion and also one of the people Yasuri Mutsue had killed during it; this makes Shichika the son of the person that had killed her father. The reason why she seeks help from Shichika is because he has no reason to keep the swords for himself. She believes that people who work for love are the ones that can be trusted the most; that is why she tells Shichika to fall for her.
Nanami Yasuri (鑢七実 Yasuri Nanami?)
Voiced by: Mai Nakahara
Nanami is Shickika's older sister. She's depicted as gentle and weak. Despite not learning the family's fighting style, she has keen senses, fast reflex, and the ability to think ahead. Although her brother and Togame leave the island, Nanami eventually follows them. She is later a possessor of one of the Twelve Katanas, Bita.
Koumori Maniwa (真庭蝙蝠 Maniwa Koumori?)
Voiced by: Chihiro Suzuki
Koumori is a ninja from the Maniwa Corps, a group of ninjas that have interest in seeking out the twelve blades. He is the first person fought in the series, wielding Kanna, one of the twelve. Koumori has the ability to transform into an exact physical copy of any being. He's killed by Shichika while copying his appearance.
Ginkaku Uneri (宇練銀閣 Uneri Ginkaku?)
Voiced by: Mitsuru Miyamoto
Ginkaku is a swordsman that lives in a vast desert within Japan. He wields Namakura, the katana that had been handed down from his family, unwilling to surrender it to anyone. He has lived in the desert guarding the palace as he says, "a warrior must live to protect something". His fighting style is solely based on a sword-drawing technique called Zerosen, killing his opponent with one strike- an attack that his katana can do perfectly. His preferred fighting ground is the very room he stays inside the palace he lives in. He's a depressing figure who wishes to see the land he resides in return to its former beauty when it had once flourished with life, which is impossible according to Togame. He's killed by Shichika after the latter exploits the one weakness in his technique.
Meisai Tsuruga (敦賀迷彩 Tsuruga Meisai?)
Voiced by: Atsuko Yuya
Meisai is the third person Shichika fights. Meisai wields Tsurugi, a thousand exact copies of one sword of Shikizaki's doing. Meisai claims her real name had been long forgotten. Her current name had been taken from a priest she had killed. She was the daughter of a powerful kendo master who had died alongside all of his followers. She had later become a bandit leader, inheriting Tsurugi from them. Her killing spree had come to an end after meeting and killing the original Meisai Tsuruga. She is now the head of Sanzu shrine, taking care of a group of mikos that have been abused by men to the point of killing almost any man. The thousand Tsurugi blades are used by her mikos and two bodyguards. She hopes that their supposed magical properties could cure the abused girls of their dangerous nature, which had worked to a small degree. Despite her willingness to surrender Tsurugi to Togame, she is willing to fight them for the sake of the girls. Her fighting style is called Sentouryuu, which revolves around using many blades to her disposal- something Tsurugi provides. She's killed by Shichika in one last stand after he tells her that she possesses the real Tsurugi out of the thousand and that it was fate that had brought them (her and her sword) together. Before dying, she asks Togame a favor: in the case of her death, she wants protection over the shrine and the girls from the shogunate, to which Togame agrees.
Hakuhei Sabi (錆白兵 Sabi Hakuhei?)
Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa
Hakuhei is one of Japan's strongest swordsmen. He had been sent to retrieve one of the katanas but had ended up keeping it for himself. He proves to be a much more powerful opponent then the others Shichika had fought. He possesses the katana Hari.

The Deviant Blades

The main focus of the story is the gathering of the twelve katanas crafted by Shikizaki Kiki, a reclusive swordsmith. His bladework had been widely popular during the war, but only twelve out of the many he had done had been specially crafted via alchemy and other magical means. Although they are supposedly 'katanas', not all of them are such. The twelve have different forms, such as a suit of armor, a dagger, and a pair of guns. The reason for the 'deviant' label is because the people wielding them are prone to their power and will do anything to keep it to themselves, which is the case of most of their current wielders.
Kanna (絶刀「鉋」 Zettou Kanna?, [Plane, the absolute])
Kanna is the first blade retrieved by Shichika and Togame. It had been in the possession of Koumori, who had the habit of storing it inside him. The blade is straight, unlike most katanas. The hilt is neatly decorated with plum flower designs.
Namakura (斬刀「鈍」 Zantou Namakura?, [Blunt, the decapitator])
Namakura is the second blade recovered. It belonged to Ginkaku. The katana has triangular patterns around the hilt guard. It was made for unsheathing at an incredible speed. The blade's name ironically means 'blunt'.
Tsurugi (千刀「鎩」 Sentou Tsurugi?, [Blade, the thousand])
Tsurugi is actually a thousand exact copies of one original sword that only Shichika could identify. It belonged to Meisai. Its purpose was that the swords are to be used to your disposal, as there are many copies.
Hari (薄刀「針」 Hakutou Hari?, [Needle, the light])
Hari is an extremely thin blade, the reason it was given the name Hari, meaning needle. It was under the control of Hakuhei, Japan's strongest swordsman.
Yoroi (賊刀「鎧」 Zokutou Yoroi?, [Armor, the grudge])
Yoroi is a massive full-body set of armor belonging to Kanara, one of the shoguns of Japan.
Kanazuchi (双刀「鎚」 Soutou Kanazuchi?, [Hammer, the pair])
Kanazuchi is a rather large sword owned by a small, but strong girl, Konayuki.
Bita (悪刀「鐚」 Akutou Bita?, [Poor, the evil])
Bita is a rather small knife-like weapon possessing an interesting ability to sustain a dead body. It is wielded by Shichika's older sister Nanami.
Kanzashi (微刀「釵」 Bitou Kanzashi?, [Sai, the tiny])
Kanzashi is a four-armed doll that seems to function on its own. It is armed with four swords and one extra one in its mouth. Its appearance changes according to the situation, becoming more menacing.
Nokogiri (王刀「鋸」 Outou Nokogiri?, [Saw, the king])
Nokogiri is a wooden sword despite the fact it's called "King of Swords". It is owned by a girl named Zanki.
Hakari (誠刀「銓」 Seitou Hakari?, [Scales, the true])
Hakari is a sword with no blade wielded by a young girl, Rinne.
Mekki (毒刀「鍍」 Dokutou Mekki?, [Gild, the poison])
Mekki is a black, jagged, bladed katana decorated with iridescent designs. It is in the possession of Houou, the leader of the Maniwa Corps ninjas.
Jyu (炎刀「銃」 Entou Jyu?, [Gun, the flame])
Jyu is actually a pair of pistols, one a revolver and one automatic in appearance. They each are colored red and blue, respectively, both decorated with a long flowing mane with a bead on its end. Their owner is Emonzaemon.


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