Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #12 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59532-452-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #12

By Jarred Pine     September 02, 2005
Release Date: April 12, 2005

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#12

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

What They Say
Kyo and Shinrei engage in combat and Shinrei uses his dancing sword technique to land some slices right into Kyo's vulnerable blind spots. Thinking that victory is imminent, Shinrei brings up a chapter from Kyo's past. Kyo desperately tries to shut out the painful childhood memories and uses it to gain the upper hand. Kyo brutally hacks into Shinrei, but this serves to Kyo's disadvantage as Shinrei creates a magic sword out of his own blood! How will Kyo counterattack?

The Review
Quickly becoming one of my favorite titles on my shelf, Kamijyo keeps turning up the heat with Kyo and his merry band of misfits.

The cover changes a bit this time around, getting rid of the bamboo background and just using the same artwork overall as the original release. I have the 1st printing of the book, and 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 is very sharp, and there are no alignment issues. Extras include chapter inserts from Kamijyo and the staff, a funny Kyo horoscope and Date-o-Meter, as well as a couple pages of reader artwork.

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. The artwork seems to have improved now also. The tones and line work is much sharper, backgrounds are more plentiful, and the action scenes are quite explosive and well done. It’s great to see the improvement.

SFX are not translated and there is no glossary for them. The terms glossary is still removed, which is too bad. Shinrei’s name is misspelled. Honorifics are still used. The dialogue is quite clear and carries the appropriate attitudes of the characters. Overall, it’s better than last volume but still not quite as good as before.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Shinrei, an assassin from the elite Mibu Clan group Five Stars, has been sent to Muramasa's home to stop Kyo from learning the final teachings of the Mumyojinpu. This is the first real battle since Nobunaga, and the tone of the fight is much different than earlier volumes. There is a bigger sense of purpose and underlying meaning. Shinrei is more intense, stronger, and has more interest vested in the fight other than just to see who is the toughest samurai. This makes the battle feel more than just standard shounen fodder, as the results of this fight should have an effect on the future development of the story. Just another aspect of SDK that has changed from earlier volumes that is really making this story quite engaging for me to read.

This volume really serves as the transition from the earlier Nobunaga/Aokigahara story arc into a new one that will test Kyo and his clan's bonds of friendship and trust. Towards the end of the battle Shinrei notices the glowing cross on Kyo's back, suddenly causing him to stop his attacks, recognizing it as some sort of holy symbol. Not believing that Kyo has changed and become a person more concerned with others, Shinrei changes his tactics and puts a Waterwyrm inside of Yuya, which in 60 days will come alive and tear her apart from the inside and eat her heart. The only way to survive is for Kyo and company to get back Kyo's body and stop the Mibu Clan, which includes killing Tokugawa Ieyasu.

It may have started earlier, but with this volume I have noticed the strong bonds between Kyo and his crew of misfits. The castaways and scoundrels of the Warring States period have come together, putting differences aside, and have become a group who would go to battle together. Maybe it's that Kamijyo has finally become comfortable and familiar with his characters, as he does a great job of portraying this friendship between everyone in their interactions with each other. In a touching scene, the group decides to go on their separate ways to help out Yuya. Kyo will stay and train with Muramasa to learn the rest of the Mumyojinpu. Sasuke and Benitora will make like the odd couple and head towards Edo to stop Tokugawa Ieyasu from being killed. Yukimura decides he needs to become stronger by training at Mt. Kurama, as well as find out more about the Mibu Clan. Okuni will make use of her spy skills in Kyoto in order to find Kyo's body, which in is Akira's possession.

I continue to be just extremely happy with the direction this story has gone since the end of the Nobunaga story arc. We still get our standard shounen battles, but with all the background story and political power struggles behind the scenes the fights have a greater purpose and are much more engaging. There also is a stronger sense of the bonds of friendship and trust between the band of ruffians that makes much more humanized and very easy to connect with, rather than just being strong, posturing swordsmen with an attitude. Of course this volume has its fair share of new revelations, mostly concerning Kyo's past as a child in the Mibu Clan and the teachings of the Mumyojinpu. Overall another great volume of a series that is really finding it's way into a special place on my shelf. Recommended.


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