After a more laidback interlude with the Oh My Goddess manga, we get back to more serious fare with Blade of the Immortal.

Title: Blade of the Immortal, Volume 7
Written & Illustrated by Hiroaki Samura
Translation by Dana Lewis & Toren Smith
Lettering & Retouch by Tomoko Saito

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The Story

Manji & Rin have met with the Mugai-Ryu, a group of Ronin out to destroy the Itto-Ryu, and kill Anotsu Kagehisa. However, there is more to the Mugai-Ryu than meets the eye.

High Points

The Breadth of Kagehisa’s plan this issue is very impressive.

Also, this volume does a great job of showing off just how freaking smart Rin is. She takes her interactions with the bureaucracy of the Shogunate when she filed for her vendetta, and Manji’s observations about the setup the “ronin” have, and manged to figure out that the Mugai-Ryu and the Itto-Ryu both have backers in the shogunate. The reactions on the faces of the members of the Mugai-Ryu when they realize that they’ve underestimated these two is fantastic.

Low Points

There’s a scene at the end of the manga where a member of the Mugai-Ryu tortures to death two members of the Itto-Ryu and a prostitute. The scene is very graphic and hard to read, and prospective readers should be warned.

Scores

Originality: This volume changes up the story a bunch. It firmly sets Rin & Manji on their own with not only the Itto-Ryu but also the Shogunate at their backs. 4/6

Artwork: Samura’s art continues to be fantastic, with great use of shadow, texture, and shading, and fluid action. In this volume in particular, Samura’s art does an excellent job of highlighting the horrific nature of the violence. 6/6

Emotional Response; The scene mentioned in the low point is intense and disturbing, and is clearly and deliberately meant to be so, and is effective at this point. 5/6

Characterization: This volume has to get you, the reader, to trust the Mugai Ryu (and has Manji and Rin trusting them as well) and then has to get us to think that the Mugai-Ryu are just as bad as the Itto Ryu, all in one volume. It succeeds. 5/6

Story: This is a volume about wheels within wheels and schemes within schemes, all of which, from the reader’s semi-omniscient perspective, can be followed without too much hassle. 5/6

Flow: 6/6

Overall: This took an already tense story, and kicked it up a notch. 5/6

In total, Blade of the Immortal: Volume 7, gets 36/42.