Everyone thinks they have the most to lose when Miharu and the others are confronted with a dangerous combination, a mind-reading, business woman shinobi.
Writer/Artist: Yuhki Kamatani
Translation/Adaptation: Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley
What They Say
The Hidden World seems less and less hidden as Togakushi Village approaches the ninjas of Banten with a proposition: In return for their help in taking out an eminent scientist-turned-weapons developer in the surface world, Togakushi will hand over their forbidden art scroll. But this job offer comes with strings attached, as Togakushi's mind-reading chief holds Banten's deepest, darkest secrets hostage and threatens to reveal all if they refuse to play nice! Will Kumohira-sensei's decidedly peace-loving way of the ninja allow him to cover his hands in blood?!
At the end of the last volume, Miharu had been kidnapped by Yoite, leaving Kumohira and the other Banten ninjas frantically searching for him. That is, until they walk back in on Miharu at the family restaurant. (There's a fantastic full-page panel of Kumohira's reaction, which may not be what the reader was expecting.) Miharu, of course, isn't talking about his experience but assures everyone that he's all right and the group reluctantly drops the subject.
All four of the Banten ninja are hiding deep personal secrets from each other. While probably a natural reaction for ninja, it leaves the group wide open during a strange confrontation with a business woman named Yae Oda. She, too, is the leader of a village of ninja, disguised in the normal world as a business. She calmly walks up to Miharu's group and begins to blackmail each member with their hidden pasts, effortlessly reading their minds. She then makes the mistake of digging too deeply into Miharu's mind and attracting the attention of his sentient power source. Kumohira steps in the prevent everyone from killing each other and agrees to her proposal. A trade, a copy of her village's technique scroll for the assassination of a nuclear scientist.
The Grey Wolves know about the plot as well, and make their own move. They send Yoite and his keeper as bodyguards for the scientist and, as expected, the two groups clash. Raimei excuses herself from the mission because of a new lead on her brother. Aizawa acts as a distraction for the conference attendees. Kumohira attempts to carry out the mission, forcing himself to go against his pacifist nature and strike out in the way he was trained. This mission turns out to be far more than just a job for Yae; she has a personal stake in wanting the scientist out of the picture.
Yoite and Miharu put on a show of fighting in front of the others, while working out a deal. Their secret alliance doesn't stay hidden for long, as Yoite gets in the way of a vengeful Yae Oda and Miharu shouts out a warning.
The mixture of ninja politics, personal vendettas, and fast paced fight scenes moves the story along at a brisk pace. There are still a few badly drawn panels that pop up occasionally and they can draw you out of the story. Yae is an interesting character but it's unclear if she's going to stick around any longer than this arc of the story. This volume maintains the same quality as previous volumes; if you enjoyed them, then you'll enjoy this one.