Familiar to fans of the long-running Japanese anime series Bleach, this heavenly blue katana recreates the personal sword of Love Aikawa. Simpler in appearance than many of the Bleach zanpakuto (or magical transforming weapons), the Heart Guard sword hid special powers to be released in battle by Love Aikawa’s chant or shikai.
The reproduction of this particular fantasy weapon presented fewer problems than many of the fantastic swords belonging to other Bleach characters. Since the Heart Guard’s sword resembles more ordinary katanas, the basic change here is the tsuba of cast metal in a heart shape with decorations representing rays of power. A cast metal fitting on the sword’s pommel allows attachment of a sash or lanyard.
This 41-inch katana sports a 27-1/2-inch high carbon stainless steel blade, finished to a high polish and ground with a single bevel the full length of the blade. The 11-inch hardwood handle is covered with simulated rayskin and wrapped with a blue cotton cord grip, woven in the traditional katana’s pattern. The hardwood sheath has a glossy coating of blue lacquer marbled with swirling black markings.
Overall quality of the sword is good, though tolerances aren’t as close as with a higher level combat sword. The stainless steel demands very little maintenance but should be lubricated with an occasional light rubbing of oil to prevent binding in the wooden sheath. The Heart Guard sword could be a welcome addition to any follower of this favorite story from Japanese manga and anime films.
You’ll see this sword sometimes, mistakenly, referred to as the sword of Lou Wo.
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