Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #15 -

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: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59532-455-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol. #15

By Jarred Pine     September 25, 2005
Release Date: August 09, 2005

Samurai Deeper Kyo Vol.#15

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

What They Say
Kyo and company finally penetrate the Mibu headquarters. Later, while fighting off an onslaught of Mibu assassins, Bontenmaru and Akira fall into an enemy trap! But when Bontenmaru encounters Tokito of the Four Elders, he learns an amazing secret.... The action-packed samurai epic continues!

The Review
Kamijyo continues to pull me along this entertaining tale through what is so far the strongest story arc of the series so far.

Tokyopop continues to change up the motif for the covers, this time creating an almost identical cover as the Japanese tankubon. There are no trees in the background, no matte finish, and the English logo is now along the left side of the book, which is also like the original tankubon.

The print reproduction looks great, no signs of fading or bad distortion. Extras for the most are all chapter inserts, including Kamijyo’s Report, reader artwork, and a character profile of Bontenmaru. The back of the book has another popularity poll, this time who received the most items for Valentine’s Day.

Kamijyo’s character artwork continues to be my favorite aspect of his work. Very strong, clean lines and a good use of tones to create distinct facial features and expressions. What I like least about his work is the action sequences, as they can get a bit messy. Everyone once in a while there is a gem, but in this volume the action felt a bit chaotic and the line work was not as strong. The background artwork is decent, but nothing really detailed, which I guess is expected when most of the time is spent underground in caves and tunnels. Overall, I’ve seen stronger volumes previously, but there still is a lot to like here.

SFX are not translated and there is no glossary for them. Honorifics are still used. Cultural terms are now subbed in the panel with a footnote, covering up artwork. I really wish that the editing team would bring back the glossary of cultural terms and people. It’s a much cleaner solution and can offer much more information for this historical fiction tale. The translation reads clearly and feels quite appropriate. There are a couple grammar issues, but nothing that affects the flow of the dialogue.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
After blasting through the Gates of Hell, Kyo and his mates make their way to the entrance of the Mibu Village, the castle town which is inhabited by those who worshipped the now deceased Muramasa. The villagers hold a grudge against Kyo, seeing him as the demon child who tricked Muramasa into leaving the village and turning traitor, leaving a curse on the village where no child has been born since. Kyo is having to confront his past, finding out more about himself while seeing Muramasa’s wishes to the end.

Confronting one’s past seems to be the major theme in this volume for all of our characters who are entering Mibu Village. Bontenmaru finds himself in a tough predicament with one of the Four Elders, Takito, who offers him the chance at becoming ruler of Japan. Takito is a fate-weaver, in charge of a large cavern of candles that each represent a life, and his powers will allow the Date family to rule for hundreds of years if Bontenmaru so desires. It is here that we learn more about his past with his father, a tragic event that has fueled Date’s desires to keep good on his father’s promises to rule the land, but not by violence, only peace.

One of the more horrific sections of the manga so far, Sasuke also finds out the truth of his existence when he walks into the Mibu lab that is used to experiment with creating their superhuman forces. The lab is filled with failed experiments, chained up to the wall and tortured by Dr. White. Fans of Sasuke will most definitely enjoy this part of the story, as it explains his tragic past and gives him new motivations for stopping the Mibu, while unleashing his deadly attacks.

The story has pretty much entered a new tournament, with Kyo and everyone split up into their own groups taking on the successively more powerful Mibu. This cliché works here because Kamijyo does a great job at just plain making it interesting. The character motivations are strong and well-understood. The Mibu have been built up as these all-powerful guardians, so the anticipation of seeing them in action is quite high. There still are plenty of little twists and turns, characters secretly making sure of their own plans behind the scenes unbeknownst to others, layers of intrigue that just makes this tournament style of storytelling so damn enjoyable. There also is a change in Kyo’s personality that gives off a more determined and serious person. He means business, and nobody better get in his way.

My one complaint with this volume is that Yuya’s affliction feels pretty much moot at this point, only serving as tool to give the reader a sense that time is ticking. However, most of the time I forget that she is even knocking at death’s door, even as two stars start disappearing from her chest. It’s nice to see her problem motivating Kyo, but all the other much more interesting events in the story completely dilute her issues.

Another solid volume in this Mibu story arc that is entertaining me to no end. It’s possible this is a guilty pleasure with the ultra-powerful ninja and samurai having it out, but Kamijyo keeps the story progressing with more information at each chapter, baiting the hook quite nicely. It’s too bad that Yuya’s affliction is really not that important as it’s supposed to be at this point, but I’m too busy with everything else going on to care.

This also ends the “Summer of Kyo”, where new volumes where coming out on a monthly release schedule. The books will now go back to a 3 month schedule, and it’s going to be quite painful to wait for each new volume.


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