Peacemaker Kurogane Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Megan Lavey
Review Date: Monday, February 14, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, December 01, 2004



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Nanae Chrono
Translated by:Amy Forsyth
Adapted by:

What They Say
The Shinsengumi Imon Peacemaker saga continues in Nanae Chrono's latest masterpiece of graphic historical-fiction, Peacemaker Kurogane. Hi-jinks abound when a collection of haiku becomes a conniving captain's captive, but discord finds its way into the ranks when the rules of the Shinsengumi are rewritten. Meanwhile, scheming Suru makes plans that will most
certainly invite conflict within the walls of Kyoto. The legendary exploits of these sword-packing samurai never cease to thrill in this latest gripping tale of Peacemaker Kurogane!

The Review
Packaging:
Like with volume 1, we get a white cover here with an orange-tinged portrait of Tetsunosuke and Yamanami with a bright orange kanji in front. The back is blank except for some kanji printed along the bottom, orange splotches and the summary. It's very clean and effective, but I found that I had to wash my hands before touching the book or else I would leave some smudges on it. It's easy to wipe off, but still an annoyance. There's some extras inside the book itself including some pictures of the characters in modern clothes, omake and ads for other ADV products.

Artwork
Since this is the second Peacemaker series, Chrono elects to draw Tetsu a little bit older, and it's his growth that will be the most apparent to people familiar with both series. There's a very rough feel to the characters and a lot of distortion to a series that is suppose to be grounded in history. It reminds me a lot of the art Nobuhiro Watsuki uses in his second manga series Gun Blaze West, and does have a very western feel overall. Most of the art is nothing to write home about, but I do like the very close facial expressions and have liked it a lot better since the last volume. The layout is clean and easy to follow, including the action sequences.

Text/SFX:
The overall story and translation appears to be solid.

Content (may contain spoilers):
Sometimes you read something that is so beautiful, so tragic that it sticks with you for a long time after you've read it. I first read this volume of Peacemaker Kurogane last month, but it got lost in the pile of stuff to review as the holidays arrived. But when I picked it up again, I was able to remember the sheer emotion I felt when I first read it.

The book starts off with a light-hearted one-shot involving a good bit of Okita and his hi-jinks. As Ito settles into the Shinsengumi, Okita relaxes by reading a volume of haiku that he shows to Tetsunosuke. Tetsu winds up talking about it to Hijikata, who suddenly goes beserk when told the title. Apparently the haiku was written by Hijikata before becoming part of the Shisengumi. The result is a hilarious chase through the compound as Hijikata attempts to get the haiku back from Okita.

The levity is needed because things start turning serious in the next chapter. Rule changes are handed down to the Shinsengumi and it's something that Yamanami can't agree with. It's compounded when the decision is made to execute a fellow Shinsengumi officer and Yamanami finds himself more and more unwilling to remain with the group. Okita nearly convinces him that everything will be okay, but when Yamanami stumbles in on Hijikata and Kondo talking about eventually killing him, he decides to disappear.

The Shinsengumi begin to search for Yamanami, but with heavy hearts. Yananami does his best to keep hidden but knows what he has to do. He knows he will die either way and decides that it must be on his terms...

Comments
Yananami's fate is something that has been building up since the latter half of volume one, but the final chapter of this book is simply beautiful. The tension and emotion seem to just ring from the pages and I get choked up every time I read it. The second time reading through the chapter, I even began to cry - and that's something I've rarely done when reading a book. Peacemaker Kurogane is one of those series I had trouble getting into because the first volume relied on knowledge of the previous series. It was somewhat confusing. But Nanae Chrono gets everything right in this second volume and even if you didn't care for the first volume, you'd probably want to go back and read it again with a deeper appreciation for it. It's so beautiful and moving that you can't help but be affected.



Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 184
ISBN: 1-4139-0192-1
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left