Blade of the Immortal 29
July 21, 2015
Hiroaki Samura – Dark Horse – 2014 – 31 volumes
Okay… so some of the ties between the Itto-Ryu make more sense in this volume. We get some backstory about Anotsu, Abayama, and Anotsu’s grandfather. Hilariously, in this flashback, Anotsu is a ridiculous badass even at 10 years old.
Just in case that wasn’t hardcore enough for you, most of the story here is about Kagimura raiding a port he thinks the Itto-Ryu will use. Because he needs to suspect everybody, he decides to slaughter every person on every boat in the port. While doing this, his underlings find some insane foreign fighters, who are of course Itto-Ryu, and Makie, Anotsu’s girlfriend. This volume doesn’t change my opinion of the fact that Makie may be the best fighter in the series. With TB, she manages to kill about 15 people who… well, are dead before they even realize it.
Aside from Makie, who does brutally slaughter people with a bizarre weapon, Kagimura is slicing heads and torsos apart here in comical ways. My favorite page is one where three men are talking to Kagimura, and in the next panel, their torsos are floating out over the water while their legs are standing up in front of Kagimura. One man is even looking back to the side towards Kagimura, like he can’t even believe that happened.
Anyway, the boring stuff managed to keep me entertained this volume, even before Manji showed up in the last third. Kagimura points out that all the characters are bloodthirsty killers, including Rin (who killed a bunch of guards and started a riot below the castle when Manji was locked up), and are thus “beyond good and evil,” beyond redemption or salvation. Kagimura condemns everyone to death, and a big brawl starts since all the characters are all in one place. Well, except for Magatsu and the Shinobi girls. Maybe they’ll come later. My favorite “evil” justification was for Manji, who did kill a bunch of people (100, as the story goes), but he was also evil because his immortality was “self-serving” and could not be exploited by the shogun. Excellent.
If we’re lucky, this brawl will last through the next volume, and we won’t have to hear many more sob stories about side characters. I’ll be so happy when we finish with that.
Another highlight in this volume is the reunion between Anotsu and Rin. It was AWESOME. Also good was the reunion between Manji and Kagimura, since I hadn’t thought about the fact they hadn’t seen each other since just after the halfway point in the series.
Two more volumes! So excited to read the end.