Written by Jean Francois Di Giorgio
Artist Frederic Genet
Feudal Japan. A small village is forced into an annual tournament pitting their chosen champion against the Yakuza’s Champion, a samurai by the name of Shobei. If they win, they are spared from paying a hefty tithe until the next year’s tournament. The village, low on choices, chooses an older former Samurai named Yoshida as their champion. His sick wife, Mieko, distraught that her husband may die before her, sets out to find a mysterious Ronin who had appeared in the village earlier. This Ronin, Takeo, who was searching for his brother Akio and was able to find him, was trying to leave the village when Mieko approaches. Will she be able to convince him to take the place of her husband in the tournament and save the village?
Since I am a fan of the Japanese culture and especially enjoy the movies, stories and art set in Japan, and especially the feudal era, I was drawn to this story. I was pleased to see the writer and artist did their due diligence in capturing the look and feel of this time period. Di Giorgio did an amazing job of telling this story and making it engaging for the reader. The pacing was also well established. It never felt rushed and there was always the right amount of details given. My only complaint would be that the story was too short, but that just means I will need to make sure to pay attention for when part 3 comes out.
I was also very pleased with the way the comic was drawn. That being said, I would like to mention there is some nudity and graphic content so this comic is NOT recommended for young readers. You have been warned. Genet perfectly captures the colors and details particular to the era of feudal Japan. From the many different patterns of the kimono’s to the bright colors of the Sakura trees and the landscape. A lot of comics I’ve read, it seems as though the characters faces only have 2 or 3 emotions they are able to express but Genet was able to make his convey a multitude of expressions.
This comic was pleasantly multifaceted in the story telling and the artwork. A wonderful read from beginning to end, I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the Feudal era and Samurais. Or just of sword fighting in general.
I rate this a 10! 5 Katana and 5 Wakizashi!