Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon) Vol. #05 -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 312
  • ISBN: 1-59307-506-5
  • Size: Bunko
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon)

Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon) Vol. #05

By Matthew Alexander     August 15, 2007
Release Date: February 21, 2007

Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon) Vol.#05
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kazuo Koike / Goseki Kojima
Translated by:Naomi Kokubo with assistance by Jeff Carlson
Adapted by:

What They Say
It's a battle of ninja versus ninja, with all the stops pulled out and every trick in the book. Well, almost every trick. Our protagonist/ninja, Hanzo's young ninja wife, Tsukumo, must avenge her father's death at the hands of another shadow warrior, but he's as crafty as they come.

The Review
Let the Battle of One Hundred and Eight Days begin.

At the end of the last volume, Hanzo and his wife Tsukumo had to leave Ieyasu for 10 months. During this time, they have been living with Tsukumo's family. Coming out of Hanzo's past, the deadly master ninja Kite Kato attempts to murder Tsukumo's father. This ultimately forces Hanzo's hand and pits him against the master ninja he barely escaped in their last battle. I have to say I can't think of any battle more diabolical than that between ninjas. After failing to take advantage of their surprise attack, Hanzo and Tsukumo are forced into a cat and mouse battle that drags on for days and eventually months as Kite Kato toys with his prey. The idea of a hundred day battle sounds monotonous and brainless, but Koike uses this as a vessel to wander the rivers of life and death, age and youth, and what true love actually means.

Dark Horse got things back on course with this volume. The print is solid throughout and the 'softness' of text and/or art from some previous volumes is absent from volume five. I have to say these DH translations of all the Koike/Kojima titles may be some of the best out there today. Sure, I knock the grade a little here and there for a misspelled word or two, but the text really does an awesome job of maintaining the historical ambiance. Along with Samurai Executioner and Lone Wolf and Cub, Path of the Assassin is a series that I highly recommend for any fan of Japanese history, samurai, ninja, or just well-written stories. Out of these three series, I think Path of the Assassin is my favorite because of all the political intrigue and ninjitsu.


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