Blade of the Immortal 31
September 20, 2015
Hiroaki Samura – Dark Horse – 2015 – 31 volumes
In the afterword, we find out that Hiroaki Samura doesn’t really like period dramas, and didn’t even read the novel series he based Manji’s looks on. He drew this series for almost 20 years. I feel bad about that. Hopefully he really likes drawing fight scenes.
This was what I expected. Makie fought some more, and was defeated Indiana Jones-style. Kagimura, incredibly, is not done fighting, so he and Anotsu go at it another round. And Manji fights one last time.
As does Rin, which I was not expecting. She’s not even awake at the end of Manji and Anotsu’s fight.
For some reason, Manji took the big, beefy arm off his last opponent and put it on his body backwards (like, left arm in right socket, though because of the way this series is flipped, I’m not sure which arm it is). Admittedly, he uses this arm well, but I’m not sure why…
Oh. Ooooh. I guess that’s why he was able to crush the colossus’s arm to a pulp with his hand? That makes sense. But, I mean, Manji being able to do it with his own arm makes as much sense as anything else in a Blade of the Immortal fight.
So, he has this backwards arm on his body that is huge and ridiculous. It bugged me in every panel it appeared in.
The resolution to the Manji/Rin pair was not what I expected. Rin did spell it out last volume, but… I don’t know what I was expecting. Manji is immortal, and Rin is not. So it was resolved, and that’s fine.
I liked the flash-forward at the end. That was nice. I would’ve loved to see him in a more modern setting, though.
And… that’s it. It was an amazing series, but ultimately, I wasn’t very interested after the prison arc due to the number of characters. But it still did what it did well (lots of intense, bizarre fights), and I loved that the strongest member of the Itto-Ryu was Makie, and not Anotsu. There’s a lot of philosophizing about revenge, and death, and a lot of other themes in the series at the end… but ultimately, Rin’s singular drive to kill Anotsu was what I was most interested in, and how far Manji would go to see that through. I liked the series for that, and that’s why the second half didn’t appeal to me. There wasn’t a whole lot of that to be seen.
But it is an intense, stylish period drama, and worth picking up if you’re into that. Not to be missed if you’re into that, actually. And perhaps you’ll be more interested in the miscellaneous characters and their politics than I was.