|Genre:||Comics & Graphic Novels|
|Author:||Goseki Kojima & Kazuo Koike|
Since Asaemon's occupation is a sword-tester for the Shogun (thus also a decapitator, as the swords should be tested on living beings as well), the first album emphasizes on the challenges and hardships of his job. Had the book been in color, blood-red would dominate the pages (the black/white arts of this album is already so powerful that I think coloring will only ruin the appearance).
The next albums (up to now, there are only three albums yet) are more varied in the stories. The episodes then reveal extreme conflicts and drama of life during the Edo period; all bringing the wisdoms of a warrior - a samurai, in this case. Keep in mind that the "Parental Advisory" sticker on the cover is not for nothing - the scenes are mostly vulgar and nerve-wrecking; very unsuitable for those under 18 years old.
Both the script and the artwork of this graphic novel have no flaw. Flow of events are nicely depicted so that you'll have your own 'movie' in your head. Japanese terms that can not be translated into English are explained in the Glossary section; which can enrich your understanding of the samurai culture back then.
Another winning point of this book is its format. It comes in a very compact size (very handy!) and has a simple cover design.
Goseki Kojima & Kazuo Koike
(C)Dark Horse, 2004