Genre: Jidai Geki/Samurai
Rated R, for violence and mature scenes
© 1994, by Hiroaki Samura. Published by Kodansha Ltd., Tokyo.
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Manji was a master swordsman who assassinated his own corrupted lord. Granted immortality by the 800-year old traveler Yaobikuni, Manji made a deal: he will slay one thousand evil men in exchange for the release of death...
He stumbles upon Rin, the daughter of Asano, head of the Mutenichi-ryu dojo. Both of her parents were murdered by Anotsu and his followers. Now Rin has enlisted Manji's aid to avenge her parents' death...
Ultimately one of the top 3 sword-action manga ever created... >>> by thundersenshi
Up until several months ago, I've never even heard of Samura Hiroaki's Blade of the Immortal. So you can imagine my surprise when I had gotten hold of it...
A manga this good, and I haven't even heard of it? How very un-otaku can you get!? But it was probably just me, for as I later learned, the series was huge hit in Japan. I blame it on the fact that I tend to concentrate on anime more than I do on manga... I can't believe I almost missed this!
The art is spectacular. It had me awestruck from start to finish. The detail and pencilwork is amazing, so you can only imagine how superb fight scenes were done. There's only one thing, though--I have a hard time distinguishing his female characters from one another. Otherwise, everything else was perfect and beautifully two-dimensional.
The storylines and plot are commendable. Not really complex, but very interesting. Hiroaki Samura used some concepts which are similar to other sword-action anime/manga (it's more or less inevitable anyway), but most of them are different and totally original. He used a powerful play of violence, harsh reality and emotional turbulence--and I should say it was a pretty effective mix. It may come off a bit too strong at first, but it does have that intriguing quality to it that makes it difficult to put down. It's probably what makes Blade of Immortal click.
All in all, I would have to say that this is one manga that should be included in every collection. In fact, it's one of the best sword-action manga I have ever read (or even watched), and that is saying pretty much! Highly recommended to anyone looking for a unique and interesting read.
Individual Rating: Art 10; Story 9; Characters 8