Blade of the Immortal Vol. #22 -

Manga Review

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 17 and Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 978-1595824431
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Blade of the Immortal Vol. #22

Blade of the Immortal Vol. #22 Review

By Christopher Nadolski     July 12, 2010
Release Date: February 03, 2010

Blade of the Immortal Vol. #22
© Dark Horse Comics

It's a nice day to start again.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Hiroaki Samura
Translation: Dana Lewis
Adaptation: Dana Lewis

What They Say
Hiroaki Samura's latest Blade of the Immortal volume finds Manji and Rin recovering from their harrowing escape out of Edo's underground prisons and finally confronting their odd relationship. Doa and Isaku have something important to announce when Anotsu and the Itto-ryu reunite with their missing members, and Habaki Kagimura faces a death sentence! To atone for his failures and sins, Kagimura has one month to destroy Anotsu and his crew - or Kagimura must commit suicide. With his Mugai-ryu assassins disbanded, Kagimura enlists even stranger felons than before, creating the frightening, new Rokki-dan gang. With his colorful cast expanding, Samura's knack for creating memorable characters and his masterful ability to dovetail multiple plotlines into each other are evident in this new volume, which also packs a powerful surprise ending!

The Review!

Aside from the opening fracas between Itto-ryu and Rokki-dan, blades are not crossed with much conviction throughout, leaving more room for this volume's content to focus  on the newly unfolding arcs. Isaku and Doa depart amidst various tones of bitter-sweet melancholy after quitting the Itto-ryu. But hopefully those two will not fade away completely, they've seen Rin and Manji through some of the lowest, darkest plot valleys to date. Meanwhile, Kagimura—that overseer of numerous atrocities during the Edo Castle prison arc—is surprisingly able to draw our sympathy as he finds himself under a shogunate ultimatum which imperils his entire family. 
Rin fumbles at maintaining her vengeance driven convictions, appearing to  waver somewhat as she bungles several run ins with Anotsu who seems equally unwilling to meet her with lethal force—a poignant indication that perhaps they are mutually learning to simply live and let live. ManjiXRin fans will find it interesting that something amorous seems to have transpired between them in the bedroom, the details of which are (tastefully) left to the readers imagination. Apparently though, it's enough to have left Manji with a substantial nosebleed and conspicuous hand slap marks on his cheeks. That's a promising development which gives hope to the possibilities of Manji and Rin transitioning out of their employer-bodyguard relationship and into something more committed or official, as they have already proven their love in many ways most inspirational.
In Summary: 
Blade of the Immortal Vol. 22 is overall a deftly handled shifting of gears after the conclusion of our previous arc. It's a nice respite from the viciously raw, though masterfully composed earlier volumes of this title, and dear Lord, it has been brutal at times. Samura's exceptional samurai chronicle continues to demonstrate why it is genuinely worthy of the title "epic", both in ambition, breadth and sheer visual excellence. I'm a fan.


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