Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #05 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59182-541-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #05

By Jarred Pine     May 26, 2005
Release Date: February 01, 2004


Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#05
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Akimine Kamijyo
Translated by:Alexander O. Smith
Adapted by:

What They Say
Promising to reveal the secret location of Kyo's body, Yukimura entices Kyo into a battle. Upon discovering that his body lies in the depths of a mysterious forest, Kyo and his unruly band of warriors set out immediately. But things do not go as smoothly as they plan when Yuya realizes that her brother's killer may be closer than she expected!

The Review
Packaging:
The cover art features the same artwork from the Japanese release, Kyo and Yukimura showing off their good looks, with the only difference being the background, which looks better than the plain white background of the import. 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 Kyo taking a sip of sake. The colors are brighter and not as blurred as the last volume.

This volume has one page of “Kamijyo Circumstances”. Extras include character profiles of Benitora and Yuya, which are quite funny to read in the Q&A format. There are also 2 pages of fan art. The print quality looks great this time around and it seems as though the presentation issues of the last volume are a thing of the past.

Art:
Kamijyo’s strength is in his creative character designs. From the pretty bishie boys, to the curvy women, to the moe and the ugly brutes, it’s a wide range of different styles. They are clean and use a good mixture of both line and tone shading, looking really slick.

The background art continues to be good, with some panels having some nicely detailed work. The action artwork is okay, with nicely laid out panels, but the action doesn’t quite jump of the page as I would like it to.

Text/SFX:
The SFX are left untouched and are not translated, with no glossary, and that is about my only gripe. Honorifics are left in place, which really helped understand character relationships in some spots. All the cultural terms are also left in tact and a glossary is provided, although it is shortened this time around.

The dialogue translation continues to be clear and fits the characters, from the baby-ish Antera to the well-spoken Ajira. Benitora’s accent is handled very subtly and does a great job of being both playful and deadly serious. One thing I did notice here is that the swearing seems to be toned down, but still retains that roughness.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
The boys and their swords return for another fun action filled volume with plenty of plot twists and secret identities revealed, keeping you guessing until the final pages. When we last left Kyo, he had Ieyasu Tokugawa pinned down and was about to make good on his deal with Yukimura by taking Ieyasu’s head. However, this Ieyasu is just a kagemusha, or a fake, and Kyo sniffs this out immediately. The real Ieyasu ends up being Hattori Hanzo, which is quite a funny revelation for those history buffs out there. Hattori lets Kyo and Yukimura go, with the promise to take care of them later. With the deal left unsettled, Kyo and Yukimura handle things as only good samurai would, with a fight! Kyo gets the best of Yukimura, who then tells Kyo the location of his body, deep in the forests of Aokigahara at the foot of Mount Fuji, trapped deep underground in an ice fortress.

After Yukimura splits from the group, Kyo takes off towards Aokigahara with Yuya and Benitora, only it seems they’ve picked up another familiar guest, Okuni. When Okuni comes back in the picture, I get a big smile on my face, as you know she is going to stir up the pot and get the dust flying. While retrieving sake for Kyo, with her own money of course, Yuya befriends a blind samurai named Ajira. What Yuya doesn’t know is that Ajira used to be known as Akira the Two-Headed Dragon, a member of the Four Emperors, a highly skilled group lead by Demon Eyes Kyo. Ajira has a bit of a past with Kyo, and now he has joined the rival Twelve God Shoguns, a group of master samurai from the darkness capable of taking down an entire dynasty! But Ajira isn’t only after a revenge kill, the entire Twelve are working for a man behind the scenes who is also after Demon Eyes Kyo’s body.

While I thought the beginning of this volume was a bit slow, as soon as Okuni showed up everything got much more interesting. Whenever she is around the enjoyment level increases greatly. Her teasing of Kyo is hilarious and sinister. She also cleverly drops hints of info here and there that lead to great revelations about the characters. There’s never a dull moment when Okuni is around. There are also a couple startling revelations made about Benitora’s real identity and Yuya’s brother’s assassin. This is what makes Samurai Deeper Kyo so damn enjoyable. The constant twisting plotline is engaging, the masked characters always keep me guessing, and the big revelations are sometimes jaw dropping. Also, Kamijyo has done a great job of setting up his characters and giving them personalities that make them enjoyable, so when this twists occur, they have much more of an impact.

Comments
The more and more I read Samurai Deeper Kyo, the more I block out that travesty that was the anime adaptation. Kamijyo really succeeds at taking historical fiction, turning it upside down, throwing in some colorful characters, and creating a twisting storyline that keeps me on my toes. The real fun of Samurai Deeper Kyo is all the plot twists, big revelations, and mysterious characters, mixed up and shaken around so that the anticipation on what will happen next increases greatly. The characters memorable and enjoyable, making the impact of the twists much more meaningful. There is so much new information revealed in this volume that it is a little dizzying, but damn fun reading.

With the introduction of The Twelve God Shoguns, a group of elite samurai from the shadows, it looks like the action is about to heat up. Mix in the creative character designs, sexy samurai, sexier ladies, bad ass samurai groups, colorful opponents, and some humor and it is no surprise that this manga is still going strong at 31 volumes in Japan. Most definitely top of the pile shounen and very recommended.

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