Lady Snowblood (aka Syura Yukihme) Vol. #03 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 14.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 1-59307-458-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Lady Snowblood (aka Syura Yukihme) Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     April 18, 2006
Release Date: March 29, 2006

Lady Snowblood (aka Syura Yukihme) Vol.#03
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kazuo Koike / Kazuo Kamimura
Translated by:Naomi Kokubo
Adapted by:

What They Say
Lady Snowblood is a woman born with a singular purpose, revenge. Revenge for the death of her father at the hands of greedy criminals. Revenge for the life of her mother, who birthed her in a prison to continue this demon's path of death. Sometimes this path is odd, sometimes sexy, often painful, and always violent. By means of a world's worth of skills, Lady Snowblood will find her revenge. But who knows what lies at the end of this path.

The Review
A real important volume here before the finale, as Koike reattaches Yuki with humanity, in turn attaching the reader to Yuki in a deeper way than before. A classic, sexy tale of vengeance!

Unflipped Koike is a good thing! The cover art is the same as the Japanese release which features the Kill Bill style lettering and colors with a great illustration of Yuki that looks smoking hot on the matte finish. This title was shrink-wrapped with a Parental Advisory sticker on the cover. The print reproduction is solid, especially given the age of the source material; everything looks relatively crisp and clean.

Kamimura's artwork is very much an older style, but it's wonderfully detailed work. Yuki's designs are very elegant and pure, with her revenge-filled eyes giving me the chills. On the flipside, most of the men are very grotesque which does fit the content quite well, as most of the men are the thugs and yakuza that roamed the streets during this time. There is a lot of sex and violence in this story, all of which is handled in a poetic fashion. The panel layouts and direction are also quite cinematic at times.

The SFX are translated and subbed next to the originals. The subbing job is great, small text mimics the original and never feels like it is cluttering the panels. In panel text is usually translated with boxed overlays. The translation reads very smooth, harsh in tone when it needs to be, with a glossary in the back that helps explain a lot of the cultural terms.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
What's this? A volume of Lady Snowblood without Yuki enacting her mother's revenge? Well, okay, she does get to swing her blade around at yakuza with her swift and acrobatic moves, but Koike takes a break from the revenge motif in order to bring out a side of Yuki that has remained hidden under the bloodbaths so far. She is not only a cold-blooded, steel-eyed assassin, but also a compassionate woman who is able to see the good in those who have fallen into the gutters of society.

While the conclusion of the first story did show me a variety of creative ways to cleverly illustrate a phallus, in the end Koike illustrated a woman who was able to see past the outer horror of a man who society groomed to be monster. When Yuki visits Kiku, her pickpocket sensei, she makes a gamble for a young woman who is about to be mutilated for going against the pickpocket's code. There are a few more scenes in this volume that portray Yuki as one who is still in touch with humanity, rather than one who is detached as a robotic killer. I liked Yuki for how badass and cold-blooded she was previously, but now I like her even more for those reasons as well as her kind and compassionate side of her personality.

The last chapter in fact only has Yuki swinging her sword at a sake bottle, as she uses her wits and charm to convince a famous writer to publish her story in order to catch the attention of the two remaining victims of vengeance. The chapter starts off with a much more subdued mood as she aimlessly follows railroad tracks along the countryside. The story is overall more comedic and charming than the violent ones before it, which is a nice welcomed change of pace. However, I'm quite certain that we'll get back to the blood letting very soon, so enjoy the quiet moments while they last.

Koike turns down the violence and vengeance, but not the sexiness, in order to allow his femme fatale to reconnect with humanity. Seeing Yuki as one who is capable of compassion and kindness, even while in the face of a monster, gives her more depth as a character. This should definitely prove to be important as we go into the final home stretch with her mother's thirst for revenge still waiting to be quenched. I feel now more attached to Yuki and her trials; it's a more personal feeling rather than admiration at her amazing skills and cold-blooded tactics.

Dark Horse's treatment continues to be top notch. Due to the graphic nature of the book this probably is not a title for everyone. But for those who dig revenge stories, this is turning out to be the classic I had hoped it would be.


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