Title: Blade of the Immortal.
Writer(s): Hiroaki Samura.
Illustrator(s): HIROAKI SAMURA.
Translator(s): Dana Lewis & Toren Smith.
Letterer(s): Tomoko Saito.
Publisher: Black Horse Manga.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: February 23rd 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy, Historical Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Previously in the Blade of the Immortal Manga:
Blade of the Immortal (Vol. 1) by Hiroaki Samura.
Vengeance has often seemed like an easy path to take to achieve the peace of mind that we crave deep down. The journey to realizing vengeance, however, is one riddled with obstacles, the mind being the first wall of reason. The mere resilience and conviction that one must showcase to achieve their goal are often misjudged. After all, when vengeance implicates the death of another, it is not unwarranted to see people’s persuasion become shaky and crumble under the weight of their own consciousness. But how far would one go if they don’t have anything to lose anymore? Receiving Dark Horse Manga’s faux-leather hardcover treatment once again, this second deluxe edition of the critically-acclaimed manga series collects the next three volumes (On Silent Wings, On Silent Wings II, and Dark Shadows) in the original 7×10 serialized format with a red bookmark ribbon.
What is Blade of the Immortal (Vol. 2) about? Rin, driven by revenge against the Itto-Ryū clan that murdered her parents, continues her journey to avenge them alongside her immortal bodyguard Manji, a rōnin warrior of feudal Japan. As they travel across the country, they train in hopes to build the right mindset and physical skillset for Rin to face her adversaries. They also remain alert for any hints to the members of the clan who is out to eliminate all rival schools, making sure to put an end to their existence as soon as possible. As they run into these killers, they learn about their motives and intentions, ultimately forcing them to reflect upon their own purpose in life. Meanwhile, the Mugai-ryū seeks to put an end to the renegade clan. With multiple parties out hunting one another, no one is safe from a devastating fate but who will have their most profound desires answered?
“So long as the winds stir the waves of my heart… The wings of hate will never stop beating.”— Hiroaki Samura
Surprisingly enough, mangaka Hiroaki Samura steers clear from the fantasy elements introduced in the first deluxe volume to focus on Rin’s psychological plight and the Edo-era samurai landscape. In fact, Manji goes into the background with just one major encounter where he’s fully involved, allowing Rin to become the centerpiece. Readers are especially invited to acquaint themselves with her struggle, fully embrace her pursuit of vengeance, and understand her desire to get strong enough to face other swordsmen. Although the plot progresses steadily, without rushing into every encounter with a member of the Itto-Ryū, the story looks to bring into play the intricacies of vengeance, life, and death through various characters and their own motives, whether it’s blanketed in good or evil, presenting their raison d’être as warriors.
Mangaka Hiroaki Samura also doesn’t fail to maintain the outstanding penciling work from the first deluxe volume as he embraces his style’s detailed and expressive nature once again. He continues to brilliantly capture tenser moments by occasionally shifting his rougher penciling for smudged grayscale work and by discarding dialogue for silent moments. His signature splash pages are also present yet remain toned down in their poetic qualities to simply paint a more soothing exchange between characters. There’s rarely any instance that is hard to follow, even during key battles, properly conveying the story without feeling overly choppy or pointlessly drawn out. Violence and sexuality are still important ingredients in this recipe but are never in abundance or romanticized, simply presented in their raw form, while leaving the gruesome details to the reader’s imagination. Properly giving readers more insight into the past events and the current emotional state of the protagonists, it is clear that more crucial events will be coming soon. It is only a matter of time.
Blade of the Immortal (Vol. 2) is an enthralling journey that continues Rin’s quest for vengeance and explores her resiliency amidst adversity.