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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
After a couple months spent reading Japanese novels, I'm taking a break and back to reading manga again. Much of it non-historical ("Yotsuba&!", "GANTZ", "GeGeGe no Kitarou", etc.), but I've just completed another series worthy of inclusion here:

Niragi Kioumaru / Story: Arajin & Manga: Sakamoto Shin-ichi / Shueisha

にらぎ鬼王丸 / 原作: 荒仁 & 坂本眞一 / 集英社

Originally serialized in Young JUMP before being shunted off to less popular sister magazine Young JUMP Mankaku, "Niragi Kioumaru" is set during the early Edo period and focuses on the adventures of an apprentice swordsmith named Kioumaru ("niragi" refers to the practice of quenching red-hot metal in water, incidentally).

The first few episodes deal with orphaned Kioumaru's apprenticeship under his stern mentor, the Gassan blacksmith, establishing their characters before the main overarching plot that drives the rest of the series kicks off. Kioumaru learns that he was discovered as an infant in a massive crater, next to a lump of meteoric iron. His master reveals that although this iron (one of seven fragments of a falling star that broke up over Japan) possesses several unique properties that could be exploited to craft a sword of unparalleled quality, it is almost impossible to forge. Never one to back down from a challenge, Kioumaru vows to fulfill the quest his master gave up on 18 years ago: he'll search for the remaining six fragments of meteoric iron and craft a sword that'll be revered for a millennia. He faces competition from the Tokugawa government, however, in the form of assassins sent by chief Bakufu sword tester and executioner Yamada Asaemon ("Kubi-Kiri Asa"; a historical figure and popular jidai geki character), who wants a sword forged from the metal for his own nefarious purposes.

The artwork is excellent, especially when it comes to musculature and characters' faces. Sakamoto does elderly faces especially well, like "Vagabond" creator Inoue Takehiko.

Sending a hero in search of plot coupons is a pretty common device in serial fiction, but the manga makes up for it with well-realized characters. Swordsmith Kioumaru is a nice change from the ronin hero we're used to seeing; we often hear about what it is to be a true samurai, but it's interesting to see what makes a true artisan, and the thought process behind blacksmithing. Those swords so prized by Edo samurai have to come from somewhere, right?

While it's obvious from reading it that the story was cut short for publishing reasons (getting shifted from one of the major weeklies to a minor sister magazine released irregularly never bodes well for a comic), the series is complete in five collected volumes and comes to a satisfying ending. It would've been nice if the story had been given a little bit more time to develop, but all in all "Niragi Kioumaru" is an excellent read.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It makes me think of this DC Elseworld comics entitled "Kal", published fifteen years ago. In this one, baby Kal-El landed in medieval England (in the county of Kent, of course). Thanks to his strength, he later became the apprentice of a blacksmith. It seems that Kal was the only one strong and resilient enough to sustain the high temperature necessary to forge a sword and an armor made out of a strange metal vessel found in his parents' field. Of course those items were ordered by Lord Lex Luthor ! Wink

Talking about Elseworld, there even been a Robin story in which he was a young ninja trained by a bat-ninja master belonging to Toyotomi clan ! His last mission was to deliver a message to Hideyori in a Ôsaka castle under siege ! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't recall any historical elements in that Robin story (assuming it's the same one I'm thinking of), e.g. Osaka or Hideyoshi, but all told that one Robin Elseworlds Annual with the bat-ninja-master was easily among my favorite Robin stories.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think this one was the only chambaresque Robin Elseworld comicbook.
There was indeed some historical elements in this book... of course, maybe not this accurate : for example, this siege, in which Hideyori died, occurs in winter ; or if the artist found out what Tokugawa's crest looked like (and even Honda's), he didn't know what Toyotomi's looked like.
It was a funny story, with a lot of ninja à la Baby Cart. I liked the clan of Cat-kunoichi ! Very Happy
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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
There is a handy list of historical manga up at J-Wikipedia here. It's even indexed by historical period and personalities, so if you're dying for a story set in the Asuka era or something involving Sen no Rikyuu, you're set. It's pretty incomplete, but there's still a lot of good stuff listed.
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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Y Juu M -Yagyuu Ninpou-chou- / Story: Yamada Fuutarou & Art: Segawa Masaki / Kodansha

Y十M~柳生忍法帖~ / 原作:山田風太郎 漫画:せがわまさき / 講談社

Like "Basilisk -Kouga Ninpou-chou-", this is another adaptation of a Yamada Fuutarou novel.

Set during the reign of third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu, the story begins when the leader of the Hori clan stages a futile revolt against the decadent excesses of the Aizu daimyo Katou Akinari. Akinari has been rounding up local women, forcing them into sexual servitude, and then leaving them to be tortured to death by his deranged servants, the Seven Spears of Aizu.

Not content with executing the Hori men, however, Akinari's goons track down the women of the clan, who have taken refuge at the famous Toukeiji nunnery in Kamakura. Ignoring the sanctity of the temple, they kill all but seven of the Hori women before Tenjuin (formerly known as Sen-hime, Toyotomi Hideyori's former wife and the daughter of second Tokugawa Shogun Hidetada) intervenes.

The remaining seven Hori women--including the daughter of Hori Mondo and some of his retainers' wives and servants--vow revenge on Akinari and the Seven Spears. While the Bakufu are aware of Akinari's villainy, they are unable to lend any official support for fear of legitimizing the Hori clan's illegal rebellion and thereby undermining the baku-han system. Wily priest Takuan and his protege Yagyuu Juubei take an interest in the women's plight, however, and decide to aid them in their cause. (Although this isn't mentioned directly in the manga, the "Y Juu M" title comes from "Yagyuu Juubei Mitsuyoshi".)

The story that follows shows how the Hori women get their revenge. The Aizu Seven Spears possess superhuman fighting ability and Katou Akinari is well-guarded, so the women are forced to resort to guerilla tactics and espionage (the "Ninpou" part of the title) in order to stand any chance of succeeding. So while the "seven vs. seven deathmatch" setup is similar to the premise of "Basilisk", there is a lot more tension as one of the sides in the struggle is clearly outmatched.

Eight collected volumes have been released to date, and the series continues in the pages of Weekly Young Magazine. This is Segawa's best work to date; highly recommended, even if you're not into ninja stuff.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
New volume came out?
I gotta go get it.
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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Vol. 8 came out last December, so yeah, it's pretty new.

I started reading "Sengoku" after you mentioned it in this thread, by the way. I'll post a review of it once I've read most of the series.

Incidentally, "Y Juu M" artist Segawa Masaki did the cover artwork for each volume in Kodansha's latest edition of Yamada Fuutarou's Ninpou-chou series of novels. They look pretty good.
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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Speaking of "Sengoku", Miyashita Hideki has come out with a gaiden (side-story) for the series entitled "Okehazama Senki". The first collected volume was released less than two weeks ago, and it looks promising. Amazon info is here, and I'll probably read and review it once I've completed the "Sengoku" series.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Recently I read this manga.
"Kasane"


It's a classic Japanese horror story "Kasanegafuchi".
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Manga Chushu five.
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Kenkyaku Jowa


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eien
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Genpei Tensho Emaki Azamaru by Ippei Tamaki





In France it is known as Azamaru. It's a who is who in the Genpei War Manga. The main characters are Taira no Kagekiyo who survived Dan no Ura and now calls himself Akube and Tomoe Gozen who is just annoying. The author just HAS to couple these two because Tomoe has to be depicted as an easy girl once again (seriously there isn't one guy of the Genpei War who I haven't seen coupled with her and she is never depicted decent in dramas and in mangas. NEVER. In the Heike Monogatari she wasn't linked romantically to anyone). Sadly Ippei Tamaki ignores the tale that Tomoe was married to Wada Yoshimori and mother of Asahina Saburo.
Well now to the good part Very Happy (the main characters are just annoying): Yoshitsune, Kiso, Kanehira, Aoi Gozen and Shizuka Gozen and many more appear as zombies. They are well drawn and they look rather harmless at first but when they flip out they look very disturbing.
Yoshitsune is some kind of Barbie with crow wings and Shizuka eats hair and sometimes looks like a maniac.
The zombies wear masks most of the time and annoy Yoritomo, who is still alive.
Kagekiyo is able to kill them with his legendary sword Azamaru (hence the title) and of course wants to defeat Yoshitsune.
Several tales are featured like Yoritomo's bastard son or the legendary Kusanagi.
Even though Tomoe and Kagekiyo annoy me I highly recommend this. These zombies are just amusing Very Happy.
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The Genpei War AND zombies? This sounds like it is tailor-made for me. Too bad it seems to be one of the few manga that hasn't made it to the United States. No longer available in Japan, and with the dollar so weak I'm not sure I want to drop $65 to get the 4 volumes on Amazon.Fr.
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eien
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah it's really sad that Azamaru hasn't been released outside Japan and France. I have 3 volumes in Japanese and the last one in French.
Azamaru is really cool and it has the coolest Yoshitsune ever (I am not really a fan of him because he is always depicted as flawless and angelic and this annoys me. Sadly Yoshitsune is also always depicted as handsome even though he wasn't much of a looker. But in this case I like him because it is the first evil Yoshitsune I have ever seen.).
He isn't some whining little girl in Azamaru but an evil creature "which hell didn't even want" (he says so himself Laughing). Yoshitsune really hates Yoritomo in this and isn't that horrible naive boy he is always depicted as in most mangas and dramas.


Here another manga about Yoshitsune which I also like very much:

Shanaou Yoshitsune by Sawada Hirofumi




22 Volumes

An ancient scroll has been found in which a spectacular information about Ushiwaka aka Minamoto no Yoshitsune is included. It says that Ushiwaka died with 16 years.
A pauper called Hyouta who looks exactly like Ushiwaka (who had a deadly disease) was used as a replacement and turns out to be the Yoshitsune who we all know from our history books.
By the way Hyouta knows a little girl who is trained by a shirabyoshi. I think we can imagine who she will turn out to be.
Benkei, Yoritomo, Masako, Noriyori and the rest also appear.
It is almost exactly the story of Yoshitsune. The only twist is that Yoshitsune is a replacement.

Part 2 has recently been released:

Shanaou Yoshitsune Genpei no kassen

2 Volumes so far

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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
eien wrote:
Yeah it's really sad that Azamaru hasn't been released outside Japan and France.


I did manage to find the 4 volume Chinese version for $35, so I gave it a go, although whether Yes-Asia can actually get it in or not remains to be seen.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
That must refer to this unlucky Azamaru:

http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Azamaru
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
That must refer to this unlucky Azamaru:

http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Azamaru



The wiki doesn't mention the zombies, though. We need to tighten up research standards.
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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I have the Japanese version of this Zatoichi manga. It was published in July 2004 by Magazine 5 as the third installment of their legend comic series. I believe these manga first debuted in '66, hence this book was part of MG5's (Magazine) 5's legend series.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
You know, I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen it here (though it is on J-wikipedia): I'd highly recommend "Onmyoji" (陰陽師).

Based on the series by Baku Yumemakura, with art by Reiko Okano. It is very much 'historical fantasy' in that it assumes all the tales of old Japan are true. More than that, however, there are often some neat historical bits--such as a song attributed to Minamoto no Hiromasa printed on the inside of one cover, descriptions of the geomantic reasoning for the position of the capital, and a list of all of the daughters of one particular emperor (I can't recall which one right off the top of my head). For anyone interested in this period and the old stories, this is a great series, imho.

There is a French translation that adds even more commentary--haven't seen an English one.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mibugishiden comic
Amazon.jp
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Ashigaru
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I spoke about Segawa Masaki's "Y Juu M" series earlier in this thread. The eleventh and final volume came out last month, so I thought I'd post some (largely spoiler-free) thoughts about the end of the series.

First of all, I think "Y Juu M" has been the best of Segawa's manga to date. "Oni-kiri Juuzou" had great art but a less involving plot, "Basilisk" was excellent, but a little brief and paced a little too artificially (you could pretty much count on one enemy getting wiped out per tankoubon volume). "Y Juu M" features the same kind of polished artwork as "Basilisk" and a similar "defeat one enemy at a time" structure. However, compared to "Basilisk," "Y Juu M" relied less on over-the-top magic and more on clever espionage. It was also less predictable in terms of pacing and plot.

(One minor point that I also liked involved the romantic subplot. For once, the hero fell for the girl *I* would've picked, instead of the pleasantly bland, non-threatening Suzy Homemaker type that usually ends up with the hero. In anime terms, I'm an Urd fan, not a Belldandy fan.)

I only had two real gripes about the last third of the series.

The first half of the series centered on the Hori women, and how Juubei was aiding their revenge. Despite that, the women show up less and less over the course of the story as Juubei takes on a greater role. Yeah, the manga IS named after Juubei, but he states early on that he isn't going to fight their war for them, only help them. Despite that, the Hori women become less involved over time, and there are a couple points where Juubei takes on a bit too active a role.

Also, while Juubei and the Hori women's final destinies seemed fitting and appropriate, Katou Akinari's fate struck me as a bit of a let-down. Perhaps realistic for the times, but not as dramatic and violent as I'd hoped.

My complaints are minor ones, however. I enjoyed "Y Juu M" thoroughly and look forward to Segawa Masaki's next series. I hope it's another adaptation of a Yamada Fuutarou novel, as these have been excellent so far.

Incidentally, people who missed "Basilisk" the first time around might be interested to know that the eight volume tankoubon series is being re-released in a three volume compact bunko-ban version.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I have been reading Hirata Hiroshi's Jidaigeki manga these days.
He was popular in 50s as Kashihon(manga rental) cartoonist.
Some of his manga were banned becuase of its realism.
Amazon link

The graphic is awesome.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wow, that's some good stuff!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
That is the stuff I am looking for! It rocks! Very Happy

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