Writer/Artist: Hiroaki Samura
Translation: Dana Lewis and Toren Smith
Publisher: Dark Horse
Hyakurin has been kidnapped...tied up...raped multiple times...and mutilated. Unbeknownst to her, she has a friend on the outside, who is gradually working the body count up in his search for her. Meanwhile she's attempting to take matters into her own hands, or should I say, feet...
Normally I wouldn't mention the translators of a book like this, surely it can't be too hard to translate the dialogue into English and paste in on, right? Except, in the case of Blade of the Immortal, the dialogue is brought bang up to date and americanised for a 21st Century audience. It's a total contrast to something like Lone Wolf And Cub, and works wonderfully well, especially considering the serious and darker nature this book has taken on over the last few issues.
What was once a simple quest for vengeance has scarred, affected and afflicted numerous characters in ways not easily recovered from. Hyakurin is a case in point. Leader of a band of assassins, her story is not directly involved (at this stage) with the fates of Manji (the Immortal mentioned in the title of the book, currently recovering from grievous wounds) or Rin (also wounded, although this one was self-inflicted) and as such would not usually be presented as a sympathetic protagonist that we want to read about. However, Manji and Rin are nowhere to be seen; instead we have her humiliation and her burning desire to for vengeance, expressed in a creative solution to the mess she is in.
This comic does not shy away from being nasty in the art department either - violence is in no way sanitised, rape may not be directly shown but is heavily implied and discussed by secondary characters, and Hyakurin's bloody wounds are not shied away from.
About the only problem I can find with this book is that it is up to issue #70, and this particular plotline is just over halfway through; that's no real jumping on point for new readers, but in all honesty this book requires your attention, even if in a handful of back issues or one of the trades (Cry of the Worm is the first TP), but this is a good issue to start off with...you'll want to know what happens next; what more can you ask?
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