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CompleteMartialArts.com - Samurai Executioner Volume 9 (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: 9781593072780
ISBN: 1593072783
Label: Dark Horse
Manufacturer: Dark Horse
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2006-02-22
Publisher: Dark Horse
Studio: Dark Horse

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Editorial Reviews:

For a stoic ronin such as Kubikiri Asa, a samurai assigned to test the Shogun's sword and behead prisoners, the moment before death is of great importance. Because of this, Asa will often listen to the stories of those about to be executed and pay respect to the lives of these often unfortunately maligned prisoners. Sometimes scary, often quirky, and occasionally very sweet; it goes to show how people of different walks of life can meet the same brutal, yet graceful end, at the hand of one of the finest masters of bushido and swordsmanship. Samurai Executioner tells the stories of these people, from the perspective of Asa, an honorable, highly skilled ronin.

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 meditations on facing life and death from Koike & Kojima
Comment: Slowly and almost surely the volumes of Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima's "Samurai Executioner" series are being released in this country. The delays are on the order of months and when each new one arrives it takes more restraint than I have to not read all of the stories quickly. I picked up on this series because after reading through "Lone Wolf & Cub" twice from start to finish I needed more manga in a similar vein. By Volume 9, "Facing Life and Death," the title character, Yamada Asaemon, the shogun's sword tester and executioner, has become something of a supporting character. Sometime she only shows up at the end of the story, and there is one this time around where he not only does not show up he is not mentioned. But by now it is the recreation of Edo-Period Japan that is the main attraction here:

(41) "Rain-or-Shine Street" is where the setta seller (a kind of sandal) and the umbrella seller on the other side of the street fight rain or shine. That is because rain is bad for the setta seller and a shining sun is bad for the umbrella seller. When Asaemon is told of the situation, he has the two taken to Tenma prison for a glimpse of hell they will not soon forget.

(42) "The Artisan" about to be executed is Tobee the carpenter. When the executioner asks for his final words, the carpenter makes too requests to ensure that he is not having his head shaved with a dull blade.

(43) "O-Rin the Wounded" is about to be executed and does not want to take the clothe off of her neck. She tells her story, of a love suicide that went wrong.

(44) "The Way of the Head" is the poignant story of the attempt to get Sakichi and O-Saki-San together. Those who arrange such things in the village think that the match would be perfect and set up a meeting. Although the two see each other they do not talk, but they do look at each and think what it would be like to live with that person. The tragedy is that because it did not work out, one of them will end up being executed.

(45) "Shinko's Thirst" is the story where the Executioner never appears as it focuses on Kasajiro the policeman and his wife, Shinko, the former thief. During a heat wave, as tempers get thin, Kasajiro attacks his wife for not doing her duties. But then an old make talks to the policeman and helps him to understand a woman's thirst.

(46) "Farewell Drums" is another heat wave story, where the worst fears of the prison guards come true. An order comes down for an execution, but the inevitable riot stops before the prison explodes because of the strange actions of the accused, who must explain his behavior to Asaemon.

(47) "Facing Life and Death" is the silent story of an execution, focusing on the faces of everyone involved, and the question that Asaemon silently asks himself at the end: "Do faces...reveal what we fell...when we stand at the precipice between life and death?"

(48) "Signs of Autumn" finds the Executioner out catching toads at the first sign of autumn (it has to do with sharpening the blade of his sword). But Asaemon is surprised to discover a familiar old man fishing for carp, who has something to teach the Executioner about form without words.

There are only four executions in the eight stories in this volume, which certain reflects the rather philosophical tone most of these stories represent (but which does not take away from the Parental Advisory for explicit content that appears on the front cover). The title story for Volume 9 is appropriate not only for these eight stories but also the entire series. The idea has always been that the Executioner does not kill without profound purpose, and that explains why he treats each and every prisoner condemned to die (and why he does not know how to fish). There might be only one more volume in this series to come down the road, and while the series will not have the sense of finality of "Lone Wolf & Cub" there is a fullness of understanding regarding what these stories are all about. Final Note: The background color of the title on the bottom of the color is purple and not light blue as seen above (or else my eyes are worse off than I thought).

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