Peacemaker Kurogane Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0197-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Peacemaker Kurogane Vol. #03

By Megan Lavey     March 16, 2005
Release Date: March 07, 2005

Peacemaker Kurogane Vol.#03
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Nanae Chrono
Translated by:Amy Forsyth
Adapted by:

What They Say
A dark cloud of uncertainity has settled over the ranks of the Shinsengumi, following the death of Yamanami. While waiting for the swift vengeance of an irate Suzu, Ito is preoccupied with the mystery surrounding Tetsunosuke's death, and works to find his killers. Old friends haunt and new enemies threaten the way of the Shinsengumi as the intrigue of this samurai saga turns deadly.

The Review
Like with earlier volumes, we get a white cover here with an grey-tinted
portrait of Tetsunosuke being embraced by Akesato (it's hard to tell) with a purple kanji in front. The back is blank except for some kanji printed along the bottom, orange splotches and the summary. It's very clean and effective, but I found that I had to wash my hands before touching the book or else I would leave some smudges on it. It's easy to wipe off, but still an annoyance. There's some extras inside the book itself including omake and ads for other ADV products.

However, there is a big problem with this packaging - the summary. The summary indicates that Tetsunosuke dies in this volume - which does not happen at all. Considering that this book is the same one currently going out to bookstores, I worry that readers will get the wrong idea from the summary.

Since this is the second Peacemaker series, Chrono elects to draw Tetsu a little bit older, and it's his growth that will be the most apparent to people familiar with both series. There's a very rough feel to the characters and a lot of distortion to a series that is suppose to be grounded in history. It reminds me a lot of the art Nobuhiro Watsuki uses in his second manga series Gun Blaze West, and does have a very western feel overall. Most of the art is nothing to write home about, but I do like the very close facial expressions and have liked it a lot better since the last volume. The layout is clean and easy to follow, including the action sequences. The color pages, however, suffer in the reproduction and come across as extremely flat and somewhat washed out.

The overall story and translation appears to be solid.

Content (may contain spoilers):
We start off this volume reeling from the effects of Yamanami's fate. Atsuko, the woman that Yamanami wanted to give up everything for, takes his seppuku out on Okita, who's still depressed over the matter. She decides to leave her companion, Suzu, and slips into the darkness.

We then move to a light-hearted chapter with Suzu and Tetsunosuke taking a tour of the Shinsengumi compound. Complete with pig-catching and some laughs, it's a break that's sorely needed after the drama of the last volume. But for me, reading the book's summary has me realize that the light-heartedness won't last long.

After walking Suzu home, Tetsu is attacked by a cloaked man and vainly fights him off the best he can - being a lot shorter and outskilled. But he's saved by Suzu, who has gone over the edge - including carrying around the skull of his deceased sensei. He also vows to make Tetsu's life a living hell, including using various means of torture to do so.

This sends Tetsu into a deep depression that shakes Tatsunosuke and his friends. Tatsu runs into a naked Ryoma Sakamoto and the two, despite being enemies, have to fend off attackers together. When all's said and done, Tatsu tries to steal one of Ryoma's guns, but he grabs it back saying that one day, Tatsu will wind up using it on the one he cares for the most.

As the doctor makes his rounds of the Shinsengumi, Saitou manages to overhear Hijikata's plans. But unknown to them, there's a bigger problem lurking the Shinsengumi - a deadly killer. There's no way to stop it, and as Yamakazi learns, the member of the squad holding them all together is the target.

This volume didn't have the emotional impact for me as the second one did, but it did end with a punch - just like the second one. Being a Rurouni Kenshin fan and knowing about the Shinsengumi, I could see it coming - but it was still a shock to actually read it in the context of the story. Chrono mixes comedy and drama here deftly, using more comedy this time as a means to help get the reader past the drama of Yamanami's death. After seeing the scenes between Suzu and Tetsu, for the first time in this series, I began to actually worry about him.

It's here where knowledge of the first series is really needed and one that we don't get because it's not been released here. Fans of the anime may be able to grasp the storyline between Suzu and Tetsu a lot better than newcomers to the manga. While it doesn't make it any less enjoyable, I wish I had that knowledge going into this book.


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