The last volume has finally arrived, and none too soon.
Writer/Artist: Akira Segami
Translation: Satsuki Yamashita
Adaptation: Nunzio DeFilipis and Christina Weir
What They Say
OVER TOO SOON?
Kagetora has finally won the heart of Yuki, his master's daughter. Since their love is forbidden, they've kept it secret. But now it's all coming apart. Having declared Yuki's martial arts training complete, Yuki's mother has ordered Kagetora to go home. Will his duty as a ninja put an end to a love that took years to build? Find out in this final volume!
The final volume of any series is tough to grade and it usually bums me out knowing there will never be any more stories with those characters. Even though I thought the Kagetora series was mostly meh, it still had it’s moments in the second half of the series. To make things even more difficult, this last volume is half the end of the series and half the Kagetora prototype the author used to sell the series to the publisher. It is interesting to see this early version of Yuki, as she is completely different from the final version. This is the first time I have seen the inclusion of a story’s prototype in an American released manga, but I wonder how prevalent this is in Japan.
As for the conclusion of this series, Kagetora has to deal with the bitter realization that he has lost his job as Yuki’s Oyakume. Kaya will replace Kagetora, and he must return to his home to await his next mission. No matter what he says to Yuki’s mother or his own family, it seems his fate is sealed. I think the way he deals with this situation is well done. At first, he decides to run away with Yuki, but after sleeping on it, he accepts the fact that they belong to different social classes and can never be together. He is only a ninja after all. Instead, Kagetora returns home to brood about his situation. He decides his only choice is to wait for his next mission or renounce his life as a ninja. Can he really give up everything he is, and would Yuki’s family accept him as a suitor if he has no family or future? Ultimately, I am very happy with the way this series ended, but you are going to have to read it yourself to find out what happens to Kagetora and Yuki.
Many romantic comedies take too long to develop; too much time is spent on the protagonist being unable to profess his love. However, there still needs to be enough character development so readers feel attached to the characters. That balance is very tough to achieve and everyone will feel the balance lies in a different place. Sometimes the story and characters are so lovable that the reader accepts the ridiculous situations just to see where things will go. Unfortunately, Kagetora is not one of the series. If the series had fewer volumes, like maybe 7 or 8, then it would have been much more enjoyable. As in earlier volume reviews, the second half of this series is pretty good as things start to happen for Kagetora and Yuki.
Overall, I give this series a B- for its comical use of a ninja guardian and future head of the family love scenario. If you are still on the fence after the first six or so volumes I would say keep reading since the second half of the series is better than the first.