Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #06 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Release Date: Thursday, April 01, 2004
Translated by:Alexander O. Smith
What They Say
Things are coming to a head as Yuya confronts Kyo about her brother's murder ... but before she can get an answer, the group falls into the trap set by the 12 God Generals. Forced into a win or die situation, Kyo does his best to defeat his opponent, but after 10 minutes of sustained fighting he is left weak and defenseless. Just as everyone thinks it is all over, Kyo suddenly erupts with newfound energy and Yuya realizes that for that brief instant, Kyoshiro returned to his body with a power unrivaled by anyone she knows.
The cover art is the same artwork from the Japanese release, featuring Kyo posing with his sword, with the only difference being the background, which looks better than the plain white background. The Tokyopop logo appears at the top, which I find much more stylish than the giant “KYO” logo found on the Japanese tanks. Volume number appears on a blood drop in the lower left corner, and the creator name is in the lower right. The back cover features a background illustration of Kyoshiro. The colors are bright on the glossy cover and it looks great.
This volume has one page of “Kamijyo Circumstances” along with a few pages between chapters featuring mini-manga from the staff. Extras include a character profile of Okuni and 3 pages of fan art, including a guest piece from Masashi Asaki. The print quality is solid and overall a very nice presentation.
Kamijyo’s strength is in his creative character designs. From the pretty bishie boys, to the curvy women, to the moe and the ugly brutes, it’s a wide range of different styles. They are clean and use a good mixture of both line and tone shading, looking really slick. We get to meet a few new characters, including three more members of The Twelve, which are very colorful and memorable designs.
The background art is nice when it is there, but there is less emphasis this volume due to the heavy action. The action artwork is pretty good this time around, with nicely laid out panels, but there is more of an emphasis on the posing rather than the actual action.
The SFX are left untouched and are not translated, with no glossary, and that is about my only gripe. Honorifics are left in place, which really helped understand character relationships in some spots. All the cultural terms are also left in tact and a glossary is provided. Starting with this volume, the names are kept in original format with last name followed by first name. A very nice change that was explained with an Editor’s Note on the Table of Contents page.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
When we last left Kyo and Yuya, a major plot bomb had just been dropped as Yuya realized the scarred man who killed her brother might be Kyoshiro or Kyo. It is Kyoshiro’s body that wears the scar, but was her brother killed while Kyo inhabited Kyoshiro’s body? Yuya threatens Kyo at gunpoint to get an answer, and Kyo replies by asking Yuya if she can trust him. After all, he is the killer of a thousand men. Yuya tells him she does, and the look in Kyo’s eyes after that moment is worth a thousand words. He sees Sakuya in Yuya, who might have been the only woman to tell Kyo she trusted him until now. The relationship between Kyo, Kyoshiro, Sakuya, and Yuya continues to build and I can’t wait for the moment that Sakuya finally enters the picture.
The majority of this volume is about the fights. While Benitora is searching the woods for Yuya, pulling Okuni along like her servant, he comes across a ex-fellow student of the spear who is one of The Twelve, Mekira. The interesting part of this battle is that Benitora unleashes a secret Shinkage technique, a move that he did not even use on Kyo. Benitora is a strong fighter, and it seems as though we haven’t seem his best material as of yet.
The other battle involves Kyo and another member of The Twelve, Kubira the puppeteer. Kyo and Yuya are tricked into entering an ice cavern and shown an illusion of Kyo’s body. It is actually Kubira, who is able to mimic his opponents and unlimitedly clone them. I personally found Kubira to be a very average and boring opponent, but he did push Kyo to his breaking point. Kyo hits his 10 minute limit and for a second it seems as though Kyoshiro will return. Will this be the end of Kyo as he loses his soul forever in Kyoshiro’s body?
While the action is at full throttle, what I missed in this volume was the constant plot twists and secrets revealed. There were a few nice tidbits thrown out there, but nothing as mind blowing as previous volumes. The most interesting twisting plotline concerns Ajira as he finally meets The Master and another one of The Twelve who accuses him of being a traitor in waiting. The meeting with The Master is quite horrifying, as he sits in the shadows of the sunlight sipping on the blood of the forest villagers he has killed. It’s definitely shiver inducing and does a great job at setting up the eventual showdown with Kyo. Also happening in the background is a little story involving Yukimura and Sakuya. It seems as though Yukimura does know where Sakuya is at as she is visiting him as his place in Kudoyama. They seem to already have a friendship going, which further thickens the mystery as to what Yukimura’s motivations are.
While the plot twists seems to have been turned down in favor of sword action, this volume still delivers exactly what I have expected to get from this story. The developing relationship conflict between Yuya and Kyo is getting more flushed out, making the anticipation for future events almost unbearable. The fights are pretty average, but we do get to see Benitora and Kyo get pushed to their limits. Even though the action scenes dominate, there are some great plot movements behind the scenes that should set up some interesting developments later on. Finally seeing The Master enter the picture helps provide an even more evil counterweight to Kyo, as he more and more is becoming humanized and less the demon he was portrayed as before. It is quite easy now to root for Kyo to get back his body before The Master does. Solid fun and I can’t wait for the next volume.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left