Review: Chronin Volume 1: The Knife at Your Back

Chronin Vol. 1

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love reading/watching Outlander. I like it is not so much for what they do, but for how Diana Gabaldon employs the device of time travel. She puts her characters in places that the moral compass is weighed on and how love never really is different no matter what time you are in.

It is what keeps them going day to day, and not necessarily looking for a way back home. This thread is what endears you to the characters. I always wondered how it would be for a person of color to travel back in time, much like Claire, only to times which are no place of comfort. This is what happens to our protagonist in Chronin Vol. 1, where her choices can mean the chance that lives may be changed.

We are taken to 1864 Japan, on the cusp of a revolution, as the country laid in turmoil as the Tokugawa clan had lost power and foreign powers like England had begun their immersion into Japanese society, leaving Samurai, knights without title. We are taken back 4 years earlier in Edo, where we meet Mirai Yoshida, a simple Samurai, who has taken on menial tasks to make living but is asked by a woman, Hatsu,  he befriends at a tea garden to be a bodyguard on a trip. As the road is perilous, they stop at an inn for the night, where Mirai’s secret comes out in the open, that Mirai is actually a woman. We also meet Kuji, someone who Mirai lost track of and is more than an acquaintance but someone who came from the same time as she did, as we find both Mirai and Kuji are from 2043 New York. We find out that they have perfected time travel through the use of a device called Beacon, but unfortunately for Mirai, she lost hers in a battle with some Ronin and Kuji destroyed his so he would not be tempted to use, leaving both stranded in feudal Japan. Soon Mirai and Hatsu start to get to know each other and Mirai finds out everything that was written in the history books tells the whole truth, as what happened after the Tokugawas fell from power, was a state of chaos. As they continue to their travels, they intervene in an attack against a foreigner, Gilbert Latimer, who is writing a book about the country for western audiences, and who asks the two to escort him to his destination. By Chronin Vol. 1‘s end, our heroes almost intervene in a historical event, and it seems as though there are more than two time travelers.

Overall, Chronin Vol. 1 is an excellent first volume that drops us in the midst of a world in a state of change and chaos. It’s one that changes our protagonists forever. The story by Alison Wilgus is action-packed and affecting. The art by Wilgus is beautiful. Altogether, a story which shows that sometimes time travel has some dire consequences.

Story: Alison Wilgus Art: Alison Wilgus
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


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