Review: Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Edition Vol. 1
Blade Of The Immortal is a samurai epic that Dark Horse Comics started the American publication of in the 1990s. It’s the story of Manji and Rin. Manji is an unkillable swordsman whose blood is occupied by the kessen-chu, a bloodworm that gives its life to heal his every wound, no matter how fatal. However, Manji seeks a way out of eternal life and as he’s supposedly killed 100 good men, he now needs to kill 1,000 to be free. Rin’s family was killed by the Itto-Ryu, an up-and-coming swordschool bent on eliminating all schools to have its style taught as the one. It’s this premise that gets Manji to protect young Rin as she seeks revenge.
This first hardcover volume starts with “Blood Of A Thousand” and ends with “Dreamsong”. The build on this book is quite impeccable. Dark Horse goes all out on its deluxe editions and this book is no different.
The entire series was written and illustrated by Hiroaki Samura. Story-wise, Blade Of The Immortal offers a lot of compelling and high-quality storytelling. For one, Manji and Rin’s path is not an easy one and the level of foe they face is not ordinary swordsmen and warriors. They are the best and some are just so creative in what they are and in appearance. It’s a very violent story, one full of blood and despicable acts. And as a warning, Manji’s outfit bears a swastika. It’s not used with any association to the Nazi party but more to its original Buddist roots.
Unlike some Manga work, this reads from front-to-back like most comics published in the United States. The artwork is top-notch. Samura adds so much definition to everything that Blade Of The Immortal always felt like one of the better Manga books around.
As I have read through Blade Of The Immortal again, I’m hit with so much of the same emotions as I had when I first picked it up. Intense action, superb drama, and a touch of humor thrown in. Added together, they draw me into the material so much. With this being older material, I can’t really score it but as it’s some of my all-time favorite material in comics, I hope that anyone who reads Blade Of The Immortal walks away feeling the same as I do about it. I just feel that strong about Manji and Rin’s adventures against the Itto-Ryu.
Story: Hiroaki Samura Art: Hiroaki Samura