Blade of the Immortal Novel 01: Legend of the Sword Demon -

Manga Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 978-1595823380
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right
  • Series: Blade of the Immortal (aka: Mugen no Jyuunin)

Blade of the Immortal Novel 01: Legend of the Sword Demon

Blade of the Immortal Novel 01: Legend of the Sword Demon Review

By Matthew Warner     April 07, 2010
Release Date: February 10, 2010

Blade of the Immortal Novel 01: Legend of the Sword Demon
© Dark Horse Comics

Not terribly deep, but a very fun read nonetheless.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Junichi Sato and Hiroaki Samura
Translation: Camellia Nieh
Adaptation: Camellia Nieh

What They Say
The first novel based on the worldwide sensation! Rendered immortal by an infusion of mystical worms that can repair any wound, the masterless samurai Manji wanders the hillsides of feudal Japan, his quest to slay one thousand evil men to atone for his past sins. By his side is the young woman Rin, an orphan who seeks vengeance for the murders of her parents. Driven in a quest for absolution, the two have faced many deadly challenges, both natural and supernatural. But can they survive their greatest battle against the all-powerful Inugami?

The Review!

The cover here does a great job pulling you in, showing off the heavy, unique style present in all the illustrations in the book, with Manji looking back on you over his shoulder.  A particularly nice touch here is the small images of both Rin and Inugami in the Manji on his back.  Only the sharp looking title and a few tiny stray words are there to obscure the title, leaving you with a great view of it.  The back on the other hand is a small synopsis of the plot over a plain tan background, which works but certainly doesn’t draw you in.  The book itself has a great feel to it.  While the novel is a tad thinner than most manga volumes of its page count, the paper itself feels smooth to the touch and quite strong, and not at all cheap.  The images contained within the book are all striking pencil drawings that seem to fall closer to realism but possess a small touch of stylization, and they all look fantastic.  
The text contained within reads a bit abnormally, fragmenting its sentences a bit more than normal, but the style that it creates works very well and in no way acts as a hindrance.  Honorifics are maintained, and for that matter so are a good number of culture terms, particularly those of clothing.  They might have gone a tad too far in leaving certain words untranslated, but the glossary provided in the beginning of the book helps to minimize any issues you might run into. 
Rin is a young girl who has lost her family thanks to the Itto-ryu, a rather nefarious group of swordsmen.  As the story begins, we find her attempting to take revenge by attacking a member of the Itto-ryu, only to discover that she’s in over her head.  Just as it looks like things are over for her, a mysterious man using strange blades butts in and decapitates her assailant.  Rin thanks the man and learns that his name is Manji, and he is the one she was told to seek out to aid her in her quest for revenge (and that he’s immortal.)  After a little discussion on the matter, Manji agrees to be her bodyguard.   
The first opponent they come across in their quest is a man named Kuroi Sabato, a strange swordsman with a unique style who wears a huge amount of clothing.  It turns out that Kuroi has been sending Rin love letters ever since he aided in the murder of her father, and he wants nothing more than to express his love for her by taking her life.  An intense battle ensues between Manji and Kuroi, only to be cut short by the interruption of a mysterious figure.
From there, Rin and Manji are thrown into a whirlwind of battles that lead them to a mysterious giant named Inugami who also attacks the Itto-ryu, a mysterious man with a mask and spiky hair named Magatsu Taito, and eventually even the leader of the Itto-ryu himself.  
In Summary: 
While the plot in this novel might not be terribly deep (though they do at least delve a little into the motivations and drive of the characters involved) the action portrayed here is certainly top notch.  Even without the lovely images, the book does a solid job of helping you picture exactly how things are happening.   It’s also worth noting that the book works well as a standalone tale.  Even being entirely unfamiliar with the manga, I had no trouble keeping up with the story.  Feel free to give this one a shot, even if you don’t feel like committing to the already over 20 volume long manga.


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