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CompleteMartialArts.com - Samurai Executioner Volume 5 (Samurai Executioner)

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Manufacturer: Dark Horse
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 741.5
EAN: 9781593072117
ISBN: 1593072112
Label: Dark Horse
Manufacturer: Dark Horse
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2005-10-05
Publisher: Dark Horse
Studio: Dark Horse

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Editorial Reviews:

Striking similarities between Lone Wolf & Cub and Koike and Kojima's sidebar storyline Samurai Executioner (known as Kubikiri Asa in Japan) are evident in the cool attitude, rebellious honor, and unflappable bushido of the lead characters of both series, but readers will delight in the whole new genre of Edo-era samurai spirit in Samurai Executioner. Wrapped tightly around a core of crime fiction, we enter a world of harsh and violent crime, and the forces up against it. In this volume, after a few initial stories of criminals' lives leading to execution, we meet two Edo-era police officers and explore their specialized methods of capturing crafty criminals. Then, in Koike's signature fashion, the volume ends with a psycho killer and her grueling and violent end. It's like a history lesson, art education, and pulp sensation, all wrapped up in one fantastic series.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: More interesting characters cross the path of Decapitator Asaemon
Comment: "Ten Fingers, One Life," Volume 5 in the "Samurai Executioner" series, has four short stories and three longer tales from writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima. The common denominator is that seven characters come into contact with Yamada Asaemon. Only five of the seven have a fatal meeting with the shogun's executioner, with two of the longer stories being about two rather different law enforcement officers. By this point in the series the title character is more of an observer, who offers wise comments or appropriate quotes from sacred texts as the denouement of the various stories:

(16) "Ten Fingers, One Life," has to do with why it is that when Asaemon cuts off someone's head their hands clench. This becomes a question that the great thief Inaba Kozo discusses with this executioner before deciding that he wants to die with his hands wide open.

(17) "'Matta'" is what Hachizo of Yasho yells right before Asaemon is about to decapitate him. The cry stops the executioner in mid-stroke, and after completing the execution he seeks out the dead man's sister to learn the meaning of that terrifying cry.

(18) "A Puff of Life" is about the final request of a young woman who wants to enjoy a last smoke before her execution. Again, Asaemon seeks out someone to explain.

(19) "The Leaf Thief" is a young girl who insists on sweeping up the fallen leaves around town. When she starts coughing up blood Asaemon insists on taking her in and the doctor reports she has tuberculosis. Even though it is killing her, the young girl continues to sweep up leaves and before she dies she offers a few words of explanations. This time, however, it is the next person he executes who is able to complete the puzzle for Asaemon.

(20) "Togane Yajiro" is the name of the demon of the jitte, lord of the northern town commissioner's office. He has been a patrolman for forty years who still gets his man every three days. When Yajiro refuses Asaemon's help in arrest a trio of thieves, the executioner takes exception to the patrolman's need to get all the credit. This means taking the matter before Yajiro's boss. But like most of those who cross the path of Yamada Asaemon, it is only at the point of death that Yajiro explains his actions and the catch-22 of his life.

(21) "Spark Umbrella" is a sequel to (11) "Catcher Kasajiro," a regular patrolman who became proficient with the kaginawa (hook rope). Now that he is successful, Kasajiro finds that his reputation precedes him and that criminals are prepared for him. This means that Decapitator Asaemon must help Kasajiro learn another lesson.

(22) "Life Link" is the story that justifies the parental advisory label for explicit content. A young woman has killed another woman and fatally wounded a man, but he has not died yet and the young woman does not want to die before her victim. The other women in the prison have only one solution and that is to be impregnated by one of the guards before the order comes for her death. If she is pregnant her execution must be postponed. But fate has a final irony for the young woman to confront.

"Samurai Executioner" is certainly different from "Lone Wolf and Cub," the manga series that first introduced most of us to the work of Koike and Kojima. The attention to period detail is still a hallmark of their work, but as you read through these small volumes, which are published in the Japanese format, you really come to an appreciation of Koike's ability to flesh out the characters who appear for a single story and how Kojima works elegantly works in cinematic techniques into his artwork. Now if Dark Horse could just speed up getting these volumes published because I am ready for the next one now.

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