Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 13.95
  • Pages: 240
  • ISBN: 0-345-50118-7
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan

Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     November 22, 2007
Release Date: October 30, 2007


Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan Vol.#01
© Del Rey


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Masaki Segawa
Translated by:Mini Eda
Adapted by:Mini Eda

What They Say
VOW OF VENGEANCE

Seventeenth-century Japan: A rebellion in the Aizu territory has been brutally crushed, leaving twenty-one brave warriors dead and most of the nuns of the local convent slaughtered. Now the surviving nuns have sworn to seek revenge.

The Review
Packaging:
Much like it’s ‘older brother’, Basilisk, The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan received a mature rating for it’s strong violence and nudity. Along with this rating comes the larger format with color pages, in depth translator notes, and very much appreciated ‘gutter’ notes about names throughout the story. Considering how complicated the use of three names and title per character, the extra notes on the page in question really helps the reader. There is also a preview for volume two.

Printing is strong and clean, and like Basilisk, Del Rey included the original color pages un-translated followed by translated pages in black and white. The front cover depicts , Jyubei Mitsuyoshi with his characteristic smirk and an overall purple and black color pattern. The back cover has a short synopsis and a color picture of one of the Hori women.

Artwork:
Segawa’s art appears much as it does in Basilisk, gritty characters with highly detailed facial expressions. Many of the Yagyu characters resemble Basilisk characters in face and hair. This is especially noticeable in the faces of the seven orphaned/widowed women of the Hori Clan. The likeness between the characters of these two series doesn’t bother me. What does is how short the women are depicted. Segawa wants to make the appear younger, but they seem short enough to be around twelve or thirteen years old and I get the impression they are supposed to be older than that.

The artwork itself is good with well-executed shading and the panel layout is varied and interesting with mostly rectangular panels during slow portions and larger more irregular shaped panels during the action scenes. Backgrounds are mostly absent or sparse when present.

Text/SFX:
SFX are present and unmodified with smaller English translations positioned alongside and a few explanations of events written in the gutters between panels. Honorifics seem to be missing. Titles such as Lord, Lady, and Master are present, but I can’t remember seeing any honorifics. The translation also read a little rough in a few spots.

Contents: (Watch out, spoilers upcoming)
Revenge is a common theme in stories. Usually someone loses a family member and then spends time training/searching so they can kill the one responsible for their pain. Well, this story ups the ante by creating seven people with the deep desire for revenge.

The leader of the Hori Clan dooms his entire family when he denies the request of a more powerful samurai, Akinari Lord of Aizu. Akinari leads a clan so financially powerful that even the Shogun Iyemitsu Tokugawa, the third Shogun since Ieyasu, is almost powerless to stop him. So when the leader of the Hori Clan denies Akinari’s request for his daughter’s hand in marriage, Akinari has the right of law and power behind him to punish Hori. Akinari is also an incredibly twisted man that uses up woman like another uses chopsticks. Although he gets his real thrills from breaking spirited noblewoman of lesser clans, and watching the torturing and killing of men. Akinari sends his Seven Spears to capture the Hori Clan. The Hori men are easily subdued, but they have already sent their women into hiding at the Toeisan Kanneiji Temple, which is a nunnery. The Shogun himself has ordered that no man can enter the Temple to molest any of the women inside.

The Seven Spears take the captured Hori men to the Temple so the Hori women can say their goodbyes. Being the twisted group that they are, the Seven Spears quickly break into the temple and butcher the Hori women in front of their husbands and fathers. The Hori men are powerless to react and even I cringed a little at how disgusting the whole situation becomes. With only seven young daughters of the Hori Clan remaining, the Seven Spears begin arguing over which woman they get to kill. At the last moment, the Shogun’s sister and Guardian of Tokeiji Temple, Princess Sen, appears and demands the meaning behind the grisly scene. As powerful as Akinari may be, even his Seven Spears dare not oppose Princess Sen.

Now we have seven individuals with the desire for revenge boiling the blood in their veins. To make matters more interesting they are all women of samurai who have been brutally executed by Akinari over a three day period. Revenge is only truly satisfying when reaped by ones own hands. With that said, how are seven young women going to be able to defeat seven highly trained warriors? Princess Sen requests the help of the former Fighting Arts Instructor of the Shogun, Jyubei Mitsuyoshi of the Yagyu Clan. Jyubei gave up his post so he could find his death swinging his sword in the depths of hell, so the idea of training seven women to kill lethal murderers is quite appealing. However, Jyubei will not be an easy teacher and he has some ground rules for his students. They must be prepared to give up their virginity and to die in the act of killing their enemies, as that is the only way they could ever hope to be victorious. Wait a minute, give up their virginity to Jyubei or the Seven Spears?

Comments
Once again, it’s time to feed your inner ninja! Back with another dose of Segawa’s art and Yamada’s Tokugawa era ninja stories, Del Rey brings us the Mature rated The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan. This story takes place two generations after Basilisk, by the same writer and artist. Where Basilisk was a retelling of the Romeo and Juliet theme with super-powered ninjas, The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan is a more original story set up to be a pure unadulterated tale of revenge. Yamada takes the elements of revenge for this story and amplifies them enough to even make me cringe a little, and that’s a difficult thing to do.

I have to say I’m quite intrigued with the story set up. Are the women going to train more in ninja arts over basic weapon handling? It makes sense. The only chance these women could have at success would be to use subversion, trickery, and their womanly charms to get close enough to murder the Seven Spears. I enjoyed the supernatural powers in Basilisk, but I know some people were hoping for more realistic ninja battles. Well, The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan may be your answer. With the exception of the strange net weapon one of the Seven Spears uses, all the other men wield various non-supernatural weapons with enough skill to make them incredibly deadly. There is a possibility that Ninja Scroll styled powers will be absent from this series, and with a deeper amount of political intrigue and power struggle, The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan has the potential to be a more complicated story. Maybe a mixture of Basilisk and to a lesser extent Path of the Assassin?

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