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Last checked: July 13, 2014
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Sword of the Stranger (ストレンヂア 無皇刃譚; Sutorenjia Mukōhadan) is a Japanese anime feature film released in Sep 2007. It was directed by Masahiro Andō 安藤真裕 and produced by Bones. The film follows a swordsman with no name and a golden-haired assassin as circumstances draw them towards a mysterious young boy.
Hunted by a mysterious group from the Ming Kingdom from China, young Kotaro 仔太郎 and his dog meet a nameless samurai ("Nanashi" 名無し) who is haunted by memories of his past which have led him to avoid drawing his sword ever again. Among the Ming is a fearsome Western fighter named Luo-Lang 羅狼, whose only desire is to find a worthy opponent. When both groups clash with a Sengoku-era feudal lord, a proud general, and monks torn between faith and survival, the reason behind the Ming's pursuit tests the bond between Kotaro and Nanashi.
In year 2008, the film won the award for Best Animated Feature at FANTASPOA (International Fantastic Film Festival of Porto Alegre) in Brazil and was a nominee for the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
It was a time of war, when rulers are deposed, and the lower ranks overthrow their higher-ups with frequent impunity and got away with it. A young boy by the name of Kotaro 仔太郎, whose family and relatives back in China had all perished, escaped to Japan by sea with the help of a monk by the name of Shouan 祥庵. The tale thus began with the mysterious armed group from the Ming Kingdom in China, arriving on the shores of Japan, seeking the 'hidden secret' within Kotarou's body.
Upon losing Shouan's protection after his temple burned down, Kotarou became a vagabond, and wandered the streets together with his trusted pet dog Tobimaru 飛丸, until he chanced upon a man who has forsaken both his name and his sword at a certain abandoned temple, by the moniker of 'Nanashi'. As it happened, Nanashi was present when members of the mysterious Ming organization attacked the abandoned temple, and having successfully repelled the attackers, Kotarou took the opportunity to 'hire' him as his bodyguard. Initially both treated each other with animosity, but gradually the bond between Nanashi and Kotarou grew stronger as they continued on their way.
Meanwhile, the leader of the pursuing Ming organization, Byakuran 白鸞 secured the co-operation of the feudal lord of Akaike Castle in their quest for the boy, even as preparations of a suspicious ceremony for the boy was ongoing. After a chance meeting with Nanashi in a small town, both Luo-Lang and Nanashi were mutually drawn towards each other by their strengths. By the same chance fate that brought about these 2 men's meeting, the time for exchange of swords also drew near ...