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I think it was just last week that I was comparing a book to Blade of the Immortal. Funny enough, I now have my hands on the latest volume of this phenomenal series. There are just some books that make me feel old. Reading comics for the 27 years and having none of the characters ever get older I guess makes one feel old. When I first started reading Blade of the Immortal I was in college and now I am married and have a kid of my own and it feels like ages ago that I would come into my room shut the door and get lost in the world of Manji and Rin. Alright enough nostalgia, let’s move on. It is still the only manga being printed from left to right, but using the mirror technique. Which means that each panel has to be cut and re-pasted on the new pages in order to capture the real essence of Samura’s art style. The sound effects have to be as close to the original as they can make it, because sometimes the sounds are part of the art style. Scarlet Swords sets the stage for what could be the last story arc in the story of our heroes. Habaki Kagimura, in no longer the general at Edo Castle, but rather a fallen samurai, who now faces a ritual suicide to pay for his sins. However, he is given a chance to redeem himself by gathering his Rokki-dan warriors and trying to wipe out the Itto-ryu once and for all. Meanwhile Manji is still looking for his missing limb and Rin gets closer to avenge her parents. The addition of the bonus strips and glossary are a great addition to an already awesome book. B+
Rumiko Takahashi brings to a head all the story points we had been anticipating in the last volumes of Inuyasha 55 and 56. Of course the final showdown with Naraku in 55 has to last a while, and while the team is battling inside his body, Inuyasha has to face his demon side, Sango has to choose between Miroku and Rin, and Kagome gets all psychoanalytical with Naraku. I think my favorite character development is Lord Sesshomaru. He has the ability to corrode Naraku’s body, but he won’t since Rin would be destroyed as well. I enjoy how caring for the little charge wrought a change in his heart.
The final volume focuses mostly on the fight with the Shikon jewel itself. Remember, demons and the priestess Midoriko are trapped inside the jewel and fight for all eternity. Now, of course Kagome and Inuyasha are going to have a happy ending, that’s not a spoiler, but I feel really bad for Midoriko. No one tries to save her! They don’t even give a second thought to her. Anyway, the struggle all boils down to faith and trust, which is really sweet, but I didn’t shed a tear at the end of the book, and I really wanted to do so! I think it’s because the momentum of the romance that attracted me to this story in the first volumes petered out with all the demon fighting. But it did make me smile; therefore, I’ll put a smiley face. :) A-
When I ask most of my students what they would like to borrow from my bookshelf for free reading. Most of them want wrestling magazines, car magazines, or Home décor mags. I’m assuming that is an actual average from most classrooms, after all I teach freshmen and they have access to books or books with pictures. However, about 25% want to read comics and more than anything manga. Naruto is always the first choice for most of them. I can see why, but then again I can see why people my age really enjoy this book. It is a timeless tale of friendship and setting aside personal gain for a triumphant goal. Naruto is now in the hands of the Cloud Village shinobi who have come to Leaf village searching for Sasuke. Of course Naruto still considers Sasuke his friend and will not rat him out to these group of individuals. However, Sasuke has a goal of his own when he decides to make a move on the new Hokage of Leaf village. In the end Sasuke is caught in the fight of his life against the Raikage of the Cloud village and it is Gaara who steps in and saves the day. He also confronts Sasuke and speaks of forgiveness, but I think Sasuke is too far gone for anyone to reach him. It was nice to see Sasuke get the spotlight even though the story moved a little slower than usual. The only thing that I’ve noticed lately is that the book’s art style seems to be rushed and it seems messy at parts. It fits the tone of the book that the characters are older, but the sketchiness in the art seems a little overkill at times. If you are a fan, you know you have bought this. The only thing I hate doing now is waiting until the book is published. B+