Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #11 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59532-451-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #11

By Jarred Pine     August 31, 2005
Release Date: February 01, 2005

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#11

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

What They Say
Long, long ago... Bontenmaru commanded the Oou, but now he has joined the Shiseiten! He joined the dark side because they were far stronger than any troupes he had ever led. Now he is extending Kyo an offer to join his side. Regardless of Kyo's decision, he will need to return to his master and the one that forged his sword... the legendary Toushou Muramasa!

The Review
SDK is really beginning to turn into something enjoyable here with a half volume of revelation after revelation, as well as a great two-chapter story about Yukimura’s background.

The cover changes a bit this time around, getting rid of the bamboo background and just using the same grey as the original release, along with the artwork. I have the 2nd printing of the book, so the cover does not use the glossy character/logo art over the matte finish. Instead the whole cover is more of a semi-glossy finish that doesn’t look quite as sharp. The print job looks great with sharp tones, but there are quite a few instances of alignment problems that cut off text. There are no extras except for one installment of Kamijyo Circumstances.

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 becoming a little more varied. The action sequences are also looking a little better with sharper line work.

SFX are not translated and there is no glossary for them, which is about the only strike against this title in this category. With this volume, a new editor is in place and there are some problems that we didn’t see much of before. First off, the glossary has been removed, which is too bad. There are also a few grammar and spelling errors. Honorifics are still used. Overall, it’s a big step down from previous volumes.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Kyo and crew run into one of the other Four Emperors in Date Masamune, once called the Oda of the North who allied with Tokugawa Ieyasu in the battle at Sekigahara. He is a humorous braggart that refers to himself as Bontenmaru, and like all the other swordsman in this tale, greets Kyo by swinging his wooden sword at him. After the dust settles and introductions are made, Kyo learns about Akira's plans to try and reunite the Four Emperors. Masamune refuses to join up with Akira again and wishes to join Kyo in stopping Akira. Kyo also learns about his presence is being requested by Muramasa, the great swordsman who was Kyo's teacher of the Mumyojin style and a trained satori (mind-reader). However, there is not a lot of time to reminisce as the Mibu Clan has sent assassins, including one of the Five Stars, to take out Muramasa and claim the head of Kyo/Kyoshiro.

For those who have felt overwhelmed with all the revelations in previous volumes, get ready to have your head explode here as loads of new information is dropped in only half a volume's worth of pages. The new info actually clears up a lot of the secrets between Kyo and Kyoshiro, and the role of the Mibu Clan throughout Japanese history (which is fictionalized in this story, of course). To be honest, I was completely floored with all the grand twists and secrets revealed. The direction of the story has definitely gone where I had hoped while reading earlier volumes. The background story is actually quite political, with the Mibu Clan being the power in the shadows that has ruled Japan for years. The balance of the power know though has shifted with the defeat of Nobunaga and the current rule of the Tokugawa family, leaving the Mibu Clan with the job of righting the ship. All this historical fiction, mixed with the samurai fantasy, really hits all the right spots with me and I feel that SDK is finally picking up steam to do something great.

The second half of this volume is a couple of humorous and much appreciated chapters explaining Yukimura's history. The setting is Ueda Castle, where Yukimura is the young foolish playboy who doesn't quite understand why he should fight for his family's honor. The story does a great job at fleshing out Yukimura, who is still mostly in the dark at this point. He goes from playboy to strong leader and warrior in a tragic tale that highlights Yukimura's motivation to protect the innocent.

SDK further develops into that rich, historical fiction/fantasy story, that I had high hopes for at the beginning of this series, moving away for a while from the posturing samurai and sword battles. The revelations and plot twists are extremely thick in this volume, but they serve to clear up a lot of the political maneuverings and power struggles that have been going on behind the scenes for quite some time. Kyo's and Kyoshiro's place in this story also begins to solidify. The supplemental chapters about Yukimura's history are also really appreciated, as he has been such the mysterious character and it's nice to see some insight into his motivations and true personality.

The story is really picking up steam now and becoming something that definitely hits the historical fiction buttons just right on me. This volume exemplifies the strengths of this series and why I am so enamored with it. I'm finding myself really burning through the pages wanting to see what surprises lie ahead. Kamijyo has done a great job at keeping my interest high at the 11th volume.


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jnager 3/13/2012 7:35:31 PM

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