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: 1-59532-453-4
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #13
By Jarred Pine
September 04, 2005
Release Date: June 07, 2005
Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#13
Translated by:Alexander O. Smith
Adapted by:What They Say
As the blazing battle between Benitora, Sasuke and Jiji Funjin heat up, Bentenmaru and Yuya basically jump out of the frying pan and into the fire... "Firefly" that is. Yuya and Bentenmaru run into Keikoku the Firefly -- an assassin of Mibu and the desperate fight that will determine the fate of two men begins as the Keikoku's mysterious identity is revealed. The Review
With Kyo mostly on the sidelines this volume, Kamijyo continues to weave a great story using some of the other lesser developed characters.Packaging:
The cover features the same character artwork as the original Japanese release, with sharp colors and the English logo along the top. The cover is semi-glossy, which does not look as good as the matte covers of previous volumes. The print job is quite good with sharp tones, although once again there are some alignment issues. Extras include chapter inserts from Kamijyo and the staff, character profile of Mahiro, as well as a couple pages of reader artwork.Art:
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 continues to be an improvement. The sequence with Sasuke pulling off his lighting move is fantastic, featuring solid artwork and tones with a great sense of direction from panel to panel. Great looking stuff.Text/SFX:
SFX are not translated and there is no glossary for them. The terms glossary is still removed, which is too bad. Honorifics are still used. The dialogue is quite clear and carries the appropriate attitudes of the characters. I just really wish that the editing team would bring back the glossary of cultural terms and people. This is an historical fiction tale, so I would think that the glossary would be important.Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Split into two different stories, the quest to stop the Mibu Clan and save Yuya continues, all without our main samurai stud Kyo. There definitely needed to be some time given to some of the other characters, so the time away from Kyo for some more development with others is welcomed. As the story has been progressing, strong themes of friendship, trust, and the sacrifices one makes to keep these bonds have been developing very nicely. This bond of friendship is quite evident in the two stories in this volume, as well as the self-sacrificing gesture that Okuni presents to Akira in order to try and get Kyo's body back.
In Edo, Benitora and Sasuke arrive just in time to help stop the Mibu Clan from killing Tokugawa Ieyasu. They run into some tough competition with two of Mibu's elite, but in their battles prove their worth in using two new weapons that were created by Muramasa. Both weapons are demon blades that have dark, mystical powers that most humans are unable to control. Benitora proves he is the rightful heir to the Tokugawa family by mastering the Hokurakoshimon, or Demonspear. Sasuke pulls of his incredible Raikoken special move with the Shibien. The fights are incredible, especially Sasuke's which is my favorite of the series thus far, but more importantly they serve a purpose and carry some weight. Benitora's fight is more about him becoming accepted by his father for his different views and what he chooses to fight for. Sasuke's fight brings out more history about his character and how he became one of the Sanada Ten, which was a great little background story. Sasuke's purpose in Edo though is more than just to help Ieyasu, as he delivers a response letter to Ieyasu's request for the Sanada family to become allies in order to stop the Mibu Clan and unite the strongest families in the land.
With Kyo and Muramasa training in the cave to learn the final teachings of the Mumyojinpu, another one of the Five Stars comes to visit. This time it is Keikoku, who decides to take matters into his own hands after hearing about Shinrei's previous failure. While looking for Kyo and Muramasa, Keikoku runs into Masamune, who shows no initial interest in fighting and would rather sit back and watch all the other powerful swordsmen take each other out. However, Keikoku already knows Masamune as he was known as Hotaru, one of the Four Emperors. The two pasts of these great swordsmen collide as Hotaru makes a comment that infuriates Masamune. Despite his self-centered rhetoric and bragging, Masamune does indeed care about Kyo and his new found friends.Comments
Kamijyo gets a big round of applause for creating a whole volume's worth of material with his main character Kyo on the sidelines, only appearing in a couple panels. This allows for some great development of Benitora and Sasuke, the odd couple who provide some exciting battles but more importantly whose bond of friendship is growing stronger. They pick on each other and crack jokes at each other's expense, but it's definitely out of respect and friendship. They are friends despite the fact that one is a Tokugawa and the other a Sanada. There also is some decent development of Masamune, whose true colors are shown and becomes more than the self-centered braggart, although he still remains quite humorous.
Kamijyo seems to have really hit his stride. The story is engrossing, the characters are becoming multi-dimensional, the strong theme of friendship humanizes them, the artwork is becoming stronger (Sasuke's battle is amazingly illustrated), all the pistons are firing perfectly and the result is a story that is sitting quite well with me. Definitely recommended.