The most fascinating aspect of this volume is Hanzo’s successful old man disguise.
Writer/Artist: Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima
Translation: Naomi Kakubo
Adaptation: Naomi Kakubo
What They Say
In the politics, struggles, and battles that lead to the birth of a nation, sometimes even good people must die at the hands of allies. And now it's down to only a few warlords of Edo-era Japan. History already tells the story of the victor, but the real guts of Path of the Assassin lie in the characters behind the scenes-the ninja warriors doing the dirty work. Theirs is a story of families and war and intrigue, only far more mysterious and untold.
I’ve often read that much of the ninja’s brilliance was in his/her ability to read and toy with an opponents mind. There couldn’t be any battle of wits more entertaining than one ninja infiltrating another ninja clan.
Initially, things aren’t looking good for Hanzo as he faces Shingen’s ninja clan. They really put him through the ringer in an attempt to determine his true identity. In the end, they force him to walk through a maze of spikes and bare blades. Any ninja could avoid these dangers with more than a few scratches, but Hanzo is supposed to be an old man. He forces himself to stumble through the blades as an old man would. Sliced up and nearly bleeding to death, Shingen’s ninjas bandage Hanzo up and send him on his way.
It took so much work to get this far that it would be a shame to walk away from the clan, so Hanzo pretends he is too injured to leave and demands they feed him until he heals. It works, and Hanzo plays a grumpy old drunk too lazy to be of much use. I have always been impressed with Hanzo’s exploits in this series, but all the little things he does should win him an Oscar.
With time, Hanzo works his way into the heart of the clan’s leader, a beautiful woman named Tsukibue. Hanzo is so convincing that he slowly gains more access to Shingen in his attempt to assassinate him and save Ieyasu’s lands. The only problem is that Hanzo has fallen in love with Tsukibue and her with his old self. Will Hanzo be able to complete his mission, or will his heart and crotch betray him?
Another great volume in this highly recommended series.