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CompleteMartialArts.com - Samurai Executioner, Vol. 6

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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: 9781593072759
ISBN: 1593072759
Label: Dark Horse
Manufacturer: Dark Horse
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2005-11-16
Publisher: Dark Horse
Studio: Dark Horse

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Editorial Reviews:

The stoic bushido world of Samurai Executioner is one full of flying, disembodied heads, and odd happenings. And this volume is no exception. There are always stories of crimes and ensuing punishment, and plenty of squirting blood, but this volume promises a story that will fascinate and produce a few grins. A mysterious woman, with a turtle-like demon tattooed on her back and the ability to swim like no other, is stealing weapons of men around Edo. It's scarring egos and causing lots of problems. Of course, Asa has the answer to the mystery. And in a surprise turn, a samurai cop who we've met before finally captures the woman, and does so in a rather erotic way.

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: There are those who would stay the Samurai Executioner from his appointed tasks
Comment: "Shinko the Kappa," Volume 6 in the collected "Samurai Executioner" tales of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, continues our look at crime and punishment in Edo-period Japan. There are six stories in this particular volume and they represent an interesting combination of those that deal with intriguing ways of trying to prevent Kubikiri Asa, better known as Decapitator Asaemon, from carrying out an execution and those that deal with the flora of Japan. There are also a pair of surprising weddings along the way. The title of this volume, the release of which I have been waiting for patiently for some time, comes from a character who is central to a rare two-part story from Koike and Kojima (apparently it takes a while for Marc Miyake to do the translations and for SNO Cone Studios to do the requisite lettering and retouching). Just remember that, "Punished is not the man himself, but the evil that resides in him":

(23) "Gobari Sandosu" is the best story in this collection. The former refers to those who work in the five domains: racketeers, gamblers, the night soil collectors of Kasai, the forty-eight bands of firefighters, and the Orisuke servants of the Daimyo's, while the latter are those in the three long sword-wearing professions. A man who is the heir of the Kyakujiri group in charge of night soil collection (i.e., sanitation workers) is due to be executed, but he has connections across the Gobari and the Sandosu, and they will do everything in their power to prevent the Executioner from carrying out his charge. However, they have no idea who they are dealing with and what makes this a standout story is that Asa does more than find a way to cut off this guy's head. He also diffuses the situation in a surprising way.

(24) "To Be a Sunflower" is the final request of a condemned man who made it a point of honor always to kill his victims face-to-face and never from behind. We learn both how he got his nickname as the "Sunflower," and the irony of his final request at the moment of execution.

(25) "Penpen Grass" is a rare flashback episode as a condemned man threatens to make the executioner's roof grow penpen grass (Shepherd's Purse). This sends Asaemon down memory lane when the other kids made fun of the headchopper's son because of the penpen grass growing on the roof. The young Yoshitsugu learns about why the grass is considered curse and then circumstances teach him that it has other value as well. Certainly it is interesting to see a different representation of the relationship between father and son than what we saw in "Lone Wolf & Cub."

(26) "Shinko the Kappa" is a mysterious woman with a turtle-like demon ("kappa" is a water sprite) tattooed on her back and the ability to swim like a fish. She has been stealing the weapons of men around Edo in what proves to be an attempt to blackmail the authorities from carrying out an execution. In what is the first of a two-part story, Shinko is captured by Kasajiro, the legendary police officer who has learned a thing or two from Asaemon. However, Shinko has a thing or two to teach him as well in a story that justifies the Parental Advisory label for Explicit Content that is affixed to the front cover.

(27) "A Couple of Umbrellas" begins with the authorities all happy that Shinko the Kappa has been captured. But they are surprised when Kasajiro makes a startling request to save her from meeting the same fate as her father and Asaemon decides to intervene in the matter as well. We should have known that romance in this violent world was going to be decidedly different.

(28) "Facing the Dew" is a briefly and almost wordless vignette in which Asaemon allows one of the condemned to plant a small flower next to the place of execution. This makes for a nice little bookend with "To Be a Sunflower."

For those looking to fill the void left after completing the 28-volume "Lone Wolf & Cub" series should find this other series by Koike and Kojima to be more than adequate to the task. I just wish that Dark Horse was publishing these a bit more quickly, but they fell behind schedule with final "Lone Wolf" volumes and have yet to catch up. Final Note: The blue on the bottom of the cover of the book in my possession is decidedly lighter than what is pictured above, so be forewarned.

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