Writer/Artist: Kazuo Koike / Goseki Kojima
Translated by: Naomi Kokobu
Adapted by: Naomi Kokobu
What They Say
An impenetrable castle must be defeated, the country's best samurai swayed, competing warlords politicked and tricked into line. All this sounds technical and textbook, so how does it turn out to be so sexy and dramatic and fun? Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima (Lone Wolf & Cub) are masters of samurai storytelling, and Path of the Assassin is no slouch when it comes to action, drama, tactics, sex, love, honor, and a terrific, engaging story.
With the character development and slower pace of the last volume out of the way, volume 8 kicks the warhorse of political mayhem right back into the lead. Nobunaga is still obsessed with conquering Mino and he will make all his pawns dance to his tune. Baldy Rat continually proves to be more intelligent than his master as he convinces Nobunaga that using Ieyasu to bolster his troops is a good idea. Naturally, as Nobunaga’s vassal, Ieyasu has no choice but to send his men to help build a fortress to act as a staging area for Nobunaga’s army.
But first, Hanzo must deal with a female ninja, named Kikko. She successfully infiltrated Ieyasu’s castle and tried to assassinate him. Kikko claims to be working for one clan, but Hanzo uses his knowledge of that clan’s techniques compared to what the she used to determine that she is lying. Hanzo’s intelligence impresses the woman enough to make up her mind that he is the best one to sire her child. Kikko belongs to the Ihoro Clan of ninja. Their clan has become weak with most children of the last two generations being born girls. Because suppa law states that captured women ninjas are to be raped before they are killed, Kikko planned on being captured so Hanzo could impregnate her and then she could escape. Hanzo is so impressed with her confidence in her ability to escape that he makes a deal with her. If she can escape, he will sleep with her until she becomes pregnant. If she can’t escape, he will send her home empty handed. What a sly guy.
Eventually Kikko get’s what she wants. In exchange, her clan guides Hanzo and Nobunaga’s men to a secret path that will allow them to infiltrate Mino’s castle. The castle has never fallen and Nobunaga’s frontal attack is failing. Because of this, Ieyasu’s position as one of Nobunaga’s more powerful vassals is cemented with the secret path and ultimate destruction of Mino’s castle. This should prove very beneficial to Ieyasu as he looks to his future.
This is another great volume in a series that has proven to be much better than I had initially believed it would be. Highly recommended.