The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Samurai Executioner

Title: Samurai Executioner
Genre: Action/Drama
Format: 10 volumes
Mangaka: Kazuo Koike & Goseji Kojima

Synopsis: Yamada Asaemon is the shogun official sword tester and he is also the official executioner in Edo. Usually refered as a demon, he is one of the most feared men in all of Japan, all because of his flawless skill and his ice cold attitude. But beneath the demon is a man that is first and foremost a samurai, putting his own life and face in jeopardy in the name of justice or his superiors. Fearless and fearsome, he will not stop in order to do whatever that must be done.

The main character saves the day.
Art: Raw and realistic.
Samurai Slice of Life: An interesting twist to the genre.
Lenght: Might be too much, since there is no actual story.

Considering it as a prequel to Lone Wolf And Cub is an honest mistake. The link that ties the two titles together is loose and unimportant to fully understand and enjoy either manga. But that aside Samurai Executioner is a great read by all means, even as a stand alone title.

Some people are very fond of those slice of life titles, I am not one of them, I like my stories to have some sort of solid plot. I am not against of opening a window to have a view of how the world and life of the characters is, infact I like that very much, but I don’t need it troughout 10 volumes, specially when they are 300 pages each, it can get very tiresome and, even when each chapter is a different story, tedious. But even if it can get tedious, Yamada Asaemon is a great character that is always evolving, he doesn’t stop growing, and that is the spice that the slice of life genre has to offer, and in this case it worked out perfectly. Sadly the same cannot be said about the secondary characters, they are far too many and with very little paper time, except for two characters that evolve quite a bit and by doing so even allow the main character evolve even more.

Regarding the art, there is not much to say except that it isn’t pretty. It is crude and rough, which is great, because it makes the story more believable. Nothing says better that a character is poor or sick than missing teeth, or ribs showing or coughing up blood. If you are expecting pretty drawings with cool character design, you have the wrong impression of Samurai Executioner. If you are also expecting copious ammounts of action sequences, you will be rather disappointed, since they are rare and well scattered throughout the pages.

The only reason you should read Samurai Executioner is Yamada Asaemon, he is one of the most rounded up characters I have ever encountered and he is also full of surpirses making him exciting and interesting enough to make you keep reading. Truth be told, you will take your time with this manga, it is not one of those titles that you could finish in one or two lunch breaks, you will end up taking your time finishing it, because of its pacing and tediousness.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Dtortot

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