Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #08 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59182-544-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #08

By Jarred Pine     August 25, 2005
Release Date: August 01, 2004

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#08

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

What They Say
As the trouble continues to take root in the Sea of Trees a mysterious ninja from Sasuke's past sprouts out and literally stops Kyo and the band dead in their tracks with a ninja shadow technique. But nothing can really hold this dynamite group for long and they soon decide to head toward the ominous "Hell's Gate" where Kyo is about to let it all break loose.

The Review
The covers continue the same format as previous releases, using the terrific looking Japanese artwork over the new bamboo forest background. I have the 2nd printing for this review, so the cover is a matte finish without the glossy touches, but still looks excellent. The print job looks great with sharp tones. Extras include a couple chapter insert extras, a Q&A with Kamijyo, more reader artwork, and a character profile of Sasuke. Overall the release has a solid presentation.

Like I have said previously, I really enjoy Kamijyo’s character designs. They are full of personality and energy, with most of them being very good looking as well. Background art is pretty much minimal. The action sequences are also pretty average, focusing more on the one-panel posturing. With this being a fantasy, sword slashing title I just think the action should be more explosive and pack more of a punch.

SFX are not translated and there is no glossary for them, which is about the only strike against this title in this category. The names retain their honorifics, cultural terms are left in place with a glossary at the back, attack names are in Japanese with sometimes English translations accompanying them. The dialogue also reads quite nicely, keeping up the attitude as well as being clear on all the revelations and group names.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Kyo and his gang allies continue their way through Aokigahara forest and running into more of The Twelve God Shoguns. This current arc, with Kyo on the quest to find his body, has started to drag with the previous couple volumes. There was little character development and none of the plot twists that made the earlier volumes such a treat to watch unfold, instead relying more on posturing boys and their swords. With this volume, everything kicks up a notch and once again Kamijyo gets back to what was working previously, getting all his great characters in place for the upcoming climax.

One of the aspects that I've always got a kick out of with SDK is how no one is willing to show their whole hand until the last possible second, slowly revealing more with each progressively harder battle. In this volume, Yukimura shows how much stronger he is by taking on one of the Twelve in Haira, and hastily defeating him by slicing him and a giant boulder in half. We also learn a bit more about Sasuke, probably the most feared of the Sanada Ten depsite his young age. As Sasuke takes on Makora, another member of the Twelve, he learns that he is really Kotaro, a childhood friend who Sasuke believed was killed long ago, by his own hands. A little bit of info is revealed about the mysterious Sasuke, but the resolution with his past will have to wait as Kotaro makes his escape once the battle turns to five on one.

Meanwhile, the kidnapped Yuya is trapped in her own hallucinations on the Slopes of Hell, a field of poppy flowers that fill the air with opium, causing a traveler to constantly be trapped in their own memories if they aren't careful. Yuya is remembering her older brother, the fun times she spent with him as well as his horrible murder that she witnessed. As the scene slowly unfolds again in front of her, she is unable to do anything to stop the events from happening. It is really quite painful to watch Yuya relive this nightmare from her past, but our worst fears are confirmed once we learn the identity of the killer, Kyoshiro. Not really a huge surprise, but now a bit more is learned about the connection in these two characters' pasts, and it seems like there is more to find out later on as she is awakened by Akira, who joins her and the other kidnappers from the Twelve as they make their way to the Ice Fortress that holds Kyo's body.

The rest of the volume does a great job of bouncing back and forth between Kyo's and Yuya's story as they start to wind together in order to build up to the climax that is coming shortly. Kyo's party makes their way to the Gates of Hell, which open up into the Lotus Land where they eventually will try to make it to Kyo's body. As they make their way into the forest, Kyo begins to get stronger, as if something is awakening inside of him. When they reach the Gates, Kyo must deal with the Five Gatekeepers, which is does quickly, earning him the name of the fabled Crimson King. However, the real battle is just beginning as a trio of the Twelve make their way also to the Gates, including the Master of the Twelve, who's identity was definitely quite a shocker and proved to be very entertaining for those Japanese history buffs out there. I really enjoy seeing the historical people and events mixed in with the fantasy elements of the story. As Kyo and the Master begin to collide, secret identities are revealed and the stakes just get higher, proving for a very entertaining story.

While the previous couple volumes were putting me to sleep with the constant posturing and lack of developments or plot twists, in this volume Kamijyo gets back to doing what got me into this story in the earlier volumes. Taking historical characters with secret pasts colliding with each other in a great historical sword-play fantasy soap opera. The twists are back, more background and development of characters, jaw dropping revelations, and overall the stakes just get raised enough to make everything entertaining. The climax with Kyo that Kamijyo has been building towards since the beginning is finally up on stage and ready to explode, and I'm definitely in the front row and on the edge of my seat waiting with anticipation. It's good to see everything I’ve enjoyed about this title alive and kicking.


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