Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59182-227-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     May 05, 2005
Release Date: October 01, 2003

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#03

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Akimine Kamijyo
Translated by:Takako Maeda
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kyoshiro and Yuya are met by Okuni Izumono, a miko (Buddhist nun) who claims to be a great love of Kyoshiro and Onime-no-Kyo. She is being pursued by rebels because she has discovered their secret hideout. But now Onime-no-Kyo is here and he can protect her!
After running afoul of the local police, Kyoshiro and his two friends have to camp out under the stars. While Kyoshiro and Okuni sleep, Yuya sneaks off to find the rebels' hideout and steal their secret loot. But as she leaves, a shadowy group of rebels watch her from the cliff above.

The Review
The cover art features the same artwork of Demon Eyes Kyo as the Japanese release, only for this English release he is placed in front of a rice paper wall with the shadow of Mahiro behind it. The cover is also extra glossy and features some textures with Kyo’s hair. The Tokyopop logo appears at the top, which I find much more stylish than the giant “KYO” logo found on the Japanese tanks. Volume number appears on a blood drop in the lower left corner, and the creator name is in the lower right. The back cover features a background illustration of Yuya.

The volume contains all the “Kamijyo Circumstances” and blurbs from assistants at the end of the appropriate chapters. At the back of the book is a glossary of terms and an Honorifics Guide. Extras are a 6 page gallery of fan art from the “Challenge Akimine Kamijyo!” contest. The print job is good, although to me the darks can sometimes feel a bit muddled. Overall, a very nice presentation.

The character artwork is pretty dynamic and offers a lot of variety and interesting designs, especially with the San Sai Chu. I love Benitora (Red Tiger) with his happy-go-lucky face and tiger-striped bandana. There are also plenty of well drawn female figures for those interested, although I thought the fan service was not very blatant and it retained a level of mature sexiness which I enjoy much more.

There are plenty of fights in this volume as Kyo takes on the San Sai Chu gang members. They are fast and for the most part pretty clean, featuring some great full-page artwork during those key scenes in battle. The one thing that is lacking is some background art. This problem is hidden well with well planned small panels that shrink the focus and a varying use of background tones, but being a historical story I’d like to see more of the landscape and buildings to help me gain a better perspective.

The SFX are left untouched and are not translated, with no glossary, and that is about my only gripe. Honorifics are left in place. All the cultural terms are also left in tact and a glossary is provided to help explain. All the special moves are also left in romanized Japanese, but also with the English translation after it in the dialog bubble. I thought this really helped keep the historical and cultural aspect intact, which really heightened my enjoyment overall. The dialogue is clear and fits the personalities of the characters quite well. There are quite a few instances of foul language that I thought fit the characters rough personalities and cocky attitudes. Benitora is a character that has a Kansai dialect, and it is subtly reflected in the translation with certain words as well as using “-han” instead of “-san”. Great job.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
The action is picked up right where the last volume left off as Kyoshiro is doing his best fighting with Benitora, called the Red Tiger in the San Sai Chu. Benitora makes a mistake, which seemed to be on purpose, and he loses the match. Making good on the bet, Benitora joins up with Kyoshiro and Yuya, whom Benitora instantly falls in love with and begins flirting with immediately. Benitora is a welcomed addition to this crew, as his happy face is filled with such warmth and he is a good counterweight to the always gloomy and cocky Kyo. The flirtatious banter between him and Yuya is often times hilarious, especially after Yuya finds out Benitora has a 50 ryo bounty on his head. Benitora is also a character of great mystery as we don’t know much about him and he puts on a really good poker face. It’s obvious he wanted out of the San Sai Chu, but why he chose to join forces with Kyo is an unknown.

Meanwhile, Genma Kidou continues weaving his trap to set up and awaken Kyo, orders that were given to him by some higher power. Also in the mix, stirring up the pot is the always mysterious Izumo No Okuni, who offers to help Kidou by providing a sure fire way to permanently awaken Kyo. She whispers the name of a lost love, named “Sakuya”, into Kyoshiro’s ears and Kyo is awakened and permanently takes control of Kyoshioro’s body. With Kyo alive, he inevitably takes on the final remaining San Sai Chu member, White Crow, in a wonderful battle that features lots of great build up to special moves and a serene aesthetic with the cherry blossoms. We also see the mean side of Benitora as he takes on Kidou, and ends the battle with an almost frighting pose of him crushing Kidou’s heart in his hands. There’s two sides to everyone in this story, isn’t there?

I was a little worried early on that this subplot was going to become a Kyo fight-of-the-week scenario, but I was proven wrong. I was surprised at the trap that Genma Kidou had laid well ahead of time, and all the maneuverings and mysterious characters really kept me on the edge of my seat. The fights really became secondary eye candy. There were plenty of revelations through this subplot that progressed the overall story, keeping things from dragging through the fights. More information is brought forward about Kyo and Kyoshiro’s relationship in the past, which changes the dynamics just a hair but keeps the air of mystery around.

At the end of this volume we meet Yukimura Sanada, who was a real historic character that battled against Tokugawa during the Battle of Sekigahara. He is portrayed here as an eccentric playboy who, like all the other characters in this story, seems to know a lot more than he lets on. With historical, samurai manga, one of the aspects I really enjoy is seeing the historical characters in place and how they are portrayed. So having Sanada joining the fray is one that has me excited to read more.

Another solid volume of Kyo, and once again I’m scratching my head wondering what the hell happened during that anime adaptation process. The manga is a real solid piece of work, much more enjoyable than its anime counterpart. I also give props to Kamijyo for keeping me on my toes in this volume with all the secret maneuverings and strings being pulled from behind the scenes. It really made what could have been a simple fight-of-the-week story and made it into something with more substance and had me turning the pages feverishly. Seeing another great historical figure, Yukimura Sanada, enter the picture is something that I am excited to see play out. Great fights, clean artwork, interesting storylines, and references to historical characters and events. Recommended all the way.


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