This week I continue with my reviews of Blade of the Immortal, with the series second volume.
Title: Blade of the Immortal – Vol. 2 – Cry of the Worm.
Written & Illustrated by Hiroaki Samura
Translated by Dana Lewis & Toren Smith
Published by Kadokawa (Japan) and Dark Horse Comics (USA)
US Publication Date: 1998
Available from Amazon.com.
Having beaten two of the main followers of the Ittou-Ryuu, Manji & Rin continue their search for the school’s leader, Anotsu Kagehisa. But, what happens when Manji encounters Shizami, a swordsman who is immortal in the same way he is?
Shizami is one of the most interesting members of the Ittou-Ryuu, probably thanks to his backstory.
Why, exactly, didn’t Manji kill Magatsu Taito? They both arrived intending the fight to be a duel to the death. Further, Manji had to realize that if he let Taito escape, he’d have to do all this again later, and against an opponent who knew about Manji’s regenerative abilities.
As with the last volume, this one has graphic violence.
Originality: This volume gets more into the category of the “Ittou-Ryuu Swordsman Of The Week”. That said, they’re different swordsman-of-the-week stories, if only because of how Samura makes manga. 4/6.
Artwork: Nobody makes manga like Samura. Oddly enough, the closest thing that comes to mind is Genshiken. Both manga have an incredibly detailed style to them, as if the creator intended for the work to be adapted to an anime at the beginning (though the Blade of the Immortal anime didn’t come about until a few years ago). 5/6.
Story: Volume 2 has the best chapters of the manga thus far. 4/6.
Characterization: Shizama provides something of a dark mirror of Manji – something he could become if he continued to live on without swearing the oath to kill 1,000 evil men. As such, he makes for a compelling villain – and one whose interactions with the characters develop them as well. Rin and Manji’s (platonic) relationship also undergoes some growth. 5/6.
Emotional Response: By introducing a poison that can stop or reverse Manji’s healing, they provide additional tension by changing the dynamic of the fight. 5/6.
Overall: A good second volume, one that could raise the stakes in the long term, depending on how they incorporate the new developments from this volume. 5/6.
In total, Blade of the Immortal Vol. 2 gets 34/42.