The ending was never in doubt. It's the aftermath and the extras that close out this series in an entertaining and satisfying way.
Writer/Artist: Rinko Ueda
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
Usagi is the granddaughter of the leader of a presitgious ninja village, but she's such a klutz that she's never made it out of the kiddie class. Frustrated with Usagi's lack of progress, her grandfather sends her to marry Lord Hanzo and have lots of ninja babies. But the lord has no interest in her or her childbearing potential!
Final Volume!Hanzo continues to plot Oda Nobunaga's assassination and an angry Mitsuhide decides to betray his own lord. During Mitsuhide's attack on Nobunaga, Usagi gets caught in the middle! With everyone's lives in jeopardy, how will this thrilling ninja tale end?
Usagi manages to divert Hanzo from his attempt on Nobunaga's life. It's not convincing. With all the anger and desire for retribution that absorbed Hanzo for so long, his quick capitulation to Usagi's argument seems convenient and superficial. Once over that, however, the story reaches a conclusion that feels right and is in agreement with the historical facts that Ueda has made much use of throughout the series. The reader, like Usagi, has to accept some unpleasantness as to the outcome of events at Azuchi castle.
But it's the aftermath that most readers want to know about and Ueda does not disappoint. She provides a generous look into Usagi and Hanzo's life about five years after the events of Azuchi castle. We get to see a truly adult and womanly Usagi and how well and in what ways she has fulfilled her grandfather's dictate to provide Hanzo with many ninja babies. We also get a last visit with some favorite supporting characters whose futures are in no way surprising. However, there's one exception.
At the beginning of the series, much had been made of Mamezo's foundling status and it seemed that Ueda intended to do something with this later in the story. When she finally did so toward the end of the series, it was a detour to the main narrative that seemed uninspired, irrelevant and disappointing. Perhaps sensing this, Ueda as closes out this final volume with Promise of the Moon, a short story about the young adult Mamezo. There are some surprises here and Mamezo fans will find this a fitting closure to the series.
What started out as a inverted harem comedy quickly found its focus in the struggles of an immature girl to become a purposeful and accomplished adult. Set in the Warring States period and enriched by the ninja lore and practice, this is an entertaining and educational read. There are some flaws, notably the wooden, one-dimensional and inconsistent Hanzo, but the story is Usagi's and Ueda makes her journey to adulthood funny, tragic and sincerely felt.