Happy New Year Everyone! Well, for the first Manga Monday of the new year, we’re continuing with Blade of the Immortal.

Title: Blade of the Immortal, Volume 3 – Dreamsong
Written and Illustrated by Hiroaki Samura
Translated by Dana Lewis and Toren Smith
Published by Kadokawa (Japan) & Dark Horse Comics (USA)
Publication Date: 1999

Available from Amazon.com & RightStuf

The Premise

Kagehisa sends an assassin after Manji & Rin, Maki Otono-Tachibana, the daughter of a samurai, disgraced for being too good with the sword.

High Points

The fights between Maki and Manji are intense. Samura keeps out-doing himself in the fight scenes.

Low Points

Samura is not great at selling Maki as a skilled combatant. While she has a good fight with Manji and she nearly gets the better of him. She makes some major rookie mistakes (which she is called on).

Scores

Originality: I don’t recall seeing the geisha assassin in works from before this (unless they did it in Lady Snowblood or Lone Wolf & Cub). 4/6

Artwork: Artwork is one of the best artists out there for drawing swordfights. 6/6

Story: This is the most time the narrative has given members of the Ittou-Ryuu, and it really helps keep this volume from turning into “Assassin of the Volume”. 4/6

Characterization: Makie is a well fleshed out character, and this volume provides some real needed depth for Kagehisa. I get the impression that if the methods of the Ittou-Ryuu were different, they’d be the heroes. 5/6

Emotional Response: This volume has the first member of the Ittou-Ryuu who, thus far, I didn’t want Manji to kill. 5/6

Flow: 6/6

Overall: This manga is fantastic, and I’m kind of surprised that it doesn’t have more of a following than it does. 5/6

In total, Blade of the Immortal Vol. 3 gets 35/42