Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #14 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Translated by:Alexander O. Smith
What They Say
In the midst of Bontenmaru's fight to the death with Mibu assassin Firefly, Goyousei Chinmei suddenly appears. With his sights set on the Mibu headquarters, the time comes when Kyo and Muramasa must part... As the gang begins their hurried journey, Akira appears, carrying the ultimate prize... Kyo's true body!
Kyo’s quest is taken to the next level after he finishes his training with Muramasa and we learn of his true mission in life as a former member of the Mibu Clan.
The cover features the same character artwork as the original Japanese release, with sharp colors and the English logo along the top. The cover is semi-glossy, which does not look as good as the matte covers of previous volumes. The print job is quite good with sharp tones, although once again there are some alignment issues. Extras include chapter inserts from Kamijyo and the staff, character profile of Muramasa, as well as a couple pages of reader artwork.
Like I have said previously, I really enjoy Kamijyo’s character designs. They are full of personality and energy, with most of them being very good looking as well, including the eye-candy nurses and demon babes in bandages. The artwork continues to look excellent, with well put together panels and nice backgrounds. Great looking stuff.
SFX are not translated and there is no glossary for them. Honorifics are still used. I wish that the editing team would bring back the glossary of cultural terms and people. This is an historical fiction tale, so I would think that the glossary would be important. There is also one misspelling of Mahiro as “Mihiro”.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Finished with his training, Kyo emerges holding Muramasa and equipped with the final knowledge of the Mumyojinpu secrets. The first opponent to feel Kyo's new found strength is Hotaru, one of the Four Emperors who now is one of the Five Stars of the Mibu Clan. Kyo wastes no time in doing away with one of Hotaru's limbs, but the fight is soon stopped by another of the Five Stars, Chinmei, delivering a message that the former Crimson King wants all the Mibu to gather and that if Kyo will come to the Mibu Village, he will learn all about his mysterious birth.
The final training with Kyo however has left Muramasa with just enough strength to keep his body together until they leave for the Mibu Village. As he lies on his deathbed, he explains to Yuya a lot of the history of the Mibu Clan and his relationship with Kyo. The new information takes the story to another level, from simple shounen quest to something with more substance and political ramifications. Kyo's quest is not merely to get back his own body, but to change the Mibu Clan as well as the history of Japan. With Muramasa gone, Kyo now has quite the motivation to see his master's wishes come to be.
On the road to the Gates of Hell, Akira joins up with the group and in a show of solidarity gives Kyo back his body. However, there is a catch. A powerful seal, or Kinju, has the body trapped and is unbreakable. The strength of the power of the seal could only have been created by former Crimson King, so the group must make it to the Mibu Village in order to meet the former Crimson King and find out a way to break the seal. Standing in their way at the Gates are the tag-team pair of Saishi and Saisei, another member of the Five Stars, who send out their army of babes in bandages to stop them dead in their tracks.
About the only issue I have, and it's apparent in all shounen stories of this style, is that the strong story in the background can get stretched out a bit in favor of more fights, with some being quite pointless. The battle with the Saishi and Saisei nurses and their army of babes in bandages, while offering some nice fanservice moments for those interested, for the most part was quite silly and unecessary. It's purpose is to further this relationship between Kyo and Yuya, and does so in decent fashion, but the seriousness of that moment just doesn't quite fit next to the boobs and bondage moments that it follows. The fights in SDK are important, but I'd rather the story focus on the ones that have more meaning between the characters and serve a greater purpose.
Kamijyo still continues to web quite an engaging story here with more revelations that further changes Kyo, giving him stronger motivation and purpose that will have an impact on the future of Japan. The story has definitely progressed past just being about getting Kyo's body back, and into something with much larger ramifications. At the core though is still this story about friendship and sacrifices, as the pressure is put on Yuya with the Waterwyrm inside of her only hours away from death.
Despite my minor quibble, I'm still enjoying the hell out of this title at the moment. So many burning questions about character motivations and whereabouts, whose on whose side, where Kyoshiro fits into all of this, etc. The political historical fantasy soap drama continues on, and to keep riding this wave I’m really glad that the volumes are coming out once a month now. Recommended.
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left