Writer/Artist:Kazuo Koike / Goseki Kojima
Translated by:Naomi Kokobu
What They Say
The fighting clans of pre-Tokugawa Japan are gathering their arms and are on the move. Classic historical warlords, such as Takeda Shingen, Oda Nobunaga, and a young Ieyasu Tokugawa himself take the field in this quasi-historical graphic novel series, Path of the Assassin.
Ieyasu is both fighting for his life and looking to the future. First, a couple of eerie and mysterious ninja try to take his life, but find themselves foiled by the increasingly able ninja Hattori Hanzo. Then, a nation's tribes face off and spin through intrigue and tactical webworks.
All my disappointment with volume 9 faded away after a few pages into this volume. The story really gets moving towards Ieyasu’s ascension to power, once Hanzo takes care of a pesky assassin. The Puppet Master ninja makes his final move on Ieyasu’s life, but Hanzo is prepared for him. Or is he? The Puppet Master falls to Hanzo’s ability to plan a step ahead, but what of the woman ninja with the Puppet Master? She pretends to hate the Puppet Master and even destroys his body with a knife after Hanzo’s men kill him. Hanzo allows the woman to live, but will he regret it? An old man and young woman, which one was really the Puppet Master?
Armies are on the move as powerful men try to gobble up as much land as possible. However, it is Ujizane, Ieyasu’s childhood tormentor, who has found himself standing in front of Ieyasu’s desire for more land. To Ujizane, Ieyasu is still just the punk kid that annoyed him. Besides, Ieyasu is married to Ujizane’s old mistress, so Ujizane should have little to fear. This final confrontation will have to wait until Ieyasu dances with the armies of Hojo and Shingen. Hojo has come to help Ujizane, so he doesn’t care if he fights Ieyasu or Shingen. The political intrigue prevalent through this series continues to shine as Ieyasu and Shingen play cat and mouse under the guise of a non-aggression pact. Ieyasu may be smart, but can he outwit Shingen, The Tiger of Kai, and Hojo while defeating Ujizane and taking the castle he spent his childhood living in as a political prisoner?
Sex, ninja’s, spying and political games keep this series, and this volume in particular, chugging along to its ultimate climax. Thank the heavens for seinen.