Are you a fan of the older Kung-Fu movies? The ones that featured Bruce Lee? Did you enjoy Kill Bill vol. 1 and 2 films? I am a huge fan of Kung fu, Samurai anything, everything. No, I did not watch that Tom Cruise movie where he played at being a Samurai warrior. However, I did read and enjoy Blade of the Immortal (Blood of a Thousand), vol.1 by Hiroaki Samura. Here is a Samurai epic for you full of intrigue and suspense. In the opening sequences, we learn about our protagonist. He is a cursed hero who must slay 1,000 criminals to release himself from the curse set upon him by a vengeful witch. That hero is Manji . He is a powerful warrior in Feudal Japan, who is cursed with immortality. His lonely journey crosses paths with Rin, a young woman whose family was slaughtered by members of the Ittō-ryū. Rin is committed to revenge and Manji agrees to help her. She employs him as her bodyguard. Together, they travel across Edo, meeting other criminals and other people who are looking to hire Manji as an assassin while battling enemies.
I’ve only read up to volume 3 and no hint of a romance thus far. Rin and Manji seem to have more of a brother sister relationship. Sometimes a father-daughter relationship. However, I’d have to assume that there will be some type of romantic relationship developed later on because for the first three volumes, they are inseparable and Manji is very protective of her. A few comments on the packaging. The artwork is clean and the dialogue is clear, crisp and easy to read and follow. This manga does not utilize the “right to left” format. There are currently 16 volumes out right now. There are varied story arcs within the series. The fifth and final arc to the series has already begun in Japan but has yet to be translated to English. No worries. I’ll probably be caught up by the time it is made available in the United States. There is plenty of action laced with suspense with added bits of humor and levity. Put this on your “must read” list if your a fan of Samurai stories, action stories, human stories. My grade, A for the three volumes I’ve read thus far. Yes, I do enjoy dark manga. Often, I seek them out. I have nothing against romantic, frothy, comedic work. I prefer dark over light remember? Meanwhile, Dark Horse Comics so far has several manga series that sit on my keeper shelf. Keep up the good work. Side note: This comic is rated T for Teens +18 years and over for violence.