Blade of the Immortal
Blade of the Immortal is one of my favorite comics, if not my favorite, of all time. Hiroaki Samura's art is absolutely gorgeous in every panel of every page. I love the way his rough line quality looks quick and intuitive, but at the same time it looks carefully planned and studied-- combined with the dramtic pacing and composition of his panel layouts, it just gets you into the emotions and minds of the characters so that you can relate to them better than any other comic I've ever read.
Even their hands and feet show what's going on in their heads more than in any other comic!
And the story is just as great as the art!
It's got the most twisted, disturbing villains I have ever seen, and they do the most mindbogglingly brutal, heartless acts I've ever heard of.
Normally stuff like that's not a big selling point for me, but Samura does it in a way that it doesn't feel like he's trying to impress you with how sick he is like some of today's popular British writers, but he does it in a way that seems almost like he's having a philosophical discussion with you, where he'll present the most messed up situation imaginable and explore why it happens and how different people react to it, and at the same time you'll discover how you react to it (you know, usually in shock and horror, but after 150 pages of it you're usually left with somthing to think about).
This story really brings up questions of morality that comics like Superman don't get into.
Another great part about this series is that there are absolutely no one-dimensional characters. Some characters (okay, a lot of them) are complete jerks through-and-through, but at the same time you see enough instances of them being caught off guard or of them being un-sure of themselves that you can really feel that there is more to them than a raping, murdering scum-bag, and even if you don't quite empathize with them, you can at least get a hint of understanding of what's going through their heads to get them to do such unspeakable things.
And the Itto-Ryu's philosophy of "nothing matters as long as you win" is done very creatively and lends itself as an excuse for the characters to use some really cool fighting styles and very interesting weapons.
I don't know, those're all my thoughts on the series for the moment. What do you other guys think?
And Manji needs to kill 1000 guys, right? But I've just finished reading Autumn Frost, and he's only up to, what, twenty or somthing? Geeze, he's got a ways to go. .
Last edited by Inkthinker; 10-02-2004 at 04:42 PM.
I'm not sure what Manji's body count is up to at this point... but I don't think he's even hit 100, much less 1000. The English editions are right at the beginning of the Japanese Vol. 13 **, as Anotsu, infected with tetanus from swords purposely soaked in feces and other nastiness by assassins determined to take him down, faces off against the grief-ravaged Iruya, who needs to take revenge for the destruction of his beloved school by government forces bent on ruining the Itto-ryu.**
Last edited by Inkthinker; 10-05-2004 at 12:08 AM.
ARGH! I've been spoiled! Thanks, Ink!
Anyhoo, this is a comic I love dearly, but as I said before, it doesn't feel like anything has happened to move the plot forward in YEARS. The first few volumes were amazing, and they rank near the top of my favorites. But the most recent ones, the violence has become more gratuitous, disturbing, and disgusting, so I'm not sure where I stand on it these days. I'm into fictional violence as much as the next guy, but not when it happens to innocent folks and people that don't have the power to stand up for themselves. It's still a great story, but I think it's in a low spot right now.
Damn Thinker! Give a spoiler alert!
I stopped reading when you said "volume 13," but man, it was close!
Anyway, Carter, are you reading it issue by issue, or with the trades? Because I've been reading the trades (up to Autumn's Frost, like I said) and it's been awsome, but I image it would be pretty tedious if it took six months for me to get from the beginning of the story to the end. I'd probably forget what they were fighting over!
I think the best way to read it is to try to keep your time table pretty close to the characters', for instance Manji said it's only been two weeks since he and Shira were allies, but if you were reading it month to month, it was probably more like two years, right? It's probably pretty easy to lose sight of the plot over that time.
How far ahead of the trades are the issues?
Choco Eating Demon
Yeah, I'm kind of wondering what Samura's going to do with Anotsu. It's been 2 volumes focused on him and now it'll be another 8-14 months before Dark Horse releases the next volume.
Since the BEASTS volume, my interest has sort of waned on BotI. Beasts, though disturbing, was one of my favorites in the series. The way the violence was handled affected me in a way that drew me into the story, rather than repulsed me as scenes like what happened in that volume usually push me away from the story. Since Beasts, BotI seems less intense.
I guess we need to get a better feel for Anotsu and lay the groundwork for a storm ahead, but the length of time between TPBs hasn't helped. Kind of waiting for it to pick up steam again. Still a bad BotI volume is way better than a whole bunch of other things combined.
Well damn, I really don't think there is any way to top Beasts when it comes to intensity, but I thought Autumn Frost was pretty good. I mean, what Shira did to himself was pretty damn twisted (and I love the fact that his hair tuned white).
But still, it's been a while since Manji's really done anything except get chopped up, so I guess that's why some of you guys seem to think the story's been slowing down.
Choco Eating Demon
The story seems to be meandering a little right now. Less focused after Beasts was probably a better thing to say than less intense (naturally it would be). If these came out quarterly, heck even every six months, I probably wouldn't be as antsy for it to get back to the main story.
It is a bit frustrating when you read it monthly, as each individual issue is rarely satisfiying story-wise. I wish I had the patience to wait for a nice fat trade to devour all at once.
What technique does he use - anyone know? I can't quite tell.
I don't think Manji uses any real life fighting technique, I mean, half his weapons don't really even exist.
Sorry 'bout the spoiler, guys... since I was only bringing it up to the current American issue, I didn't think of it as spoiler territory... but I didn't take into account you cats that are only reading the collections.
I didn't spoil much for you, though...
For instance, you don't know the how, when or even really the why of how it comes to that point, or anything about the carnage leading up to it. And I certainly didn't tell you of the developments between Anotsu and Rin...
Yeah, this probably does read better as the full volumes, but I've been into it since it first hit the magazine rack, and never picked up the collected versions... and since I still have every issue, I just can't bring myself to spend money on something twice.
You've got tons of stuff to get through, still.
I believe Manji's technique is known as "chopping mo'fos up". He has complained on more than one occasion that being immortal has played havoc with his skills, but it doesn't hurt any less when he gets cut/impaled/severed/pierced/gutted/etc.