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CompleteMartialArts.com - Path of the Assassin Volume 7 (Path of the Assassin)

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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: 741.5952
EAN: 9781593075088
ISBN: 1593075081
Label: Dark Horse
Manufacturer: Dark Horse
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 312
Publication Date: 2007-09-19
Publisher: Dark Horse
Studio: Dark Horse

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Editorial Reviews:

Warning! Reading this series might not only entertain you in many ways, but it might be somewhat educational as well! Let's start with ninja skills, samurai period drama and sexy teens. Yes, we have them all in one informative, semi-historical series from the famed creators of Lone Wolf and Cub, Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima. It's the story of to-be shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, in his late teens, battling and politicking his way to the leadership of Edo-era Japan. To do so, he must survive assasination attempts, political sabotage, bloody battlefields and a ferocious wife. And he does this with the help of his friend and vassal, the unstoppable ninja Hattori Hanzo. Heard these names before? That's because they're a revered part of Japan's (sometimes secret) past!

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Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Ieyasu's son Takechiyo turns out to be a Child of Smoke
Comment: I do not know if the gap between Dark Horse Manga's publication of each volume of "Path of the Assassin" has been steadily growing with each new release, but it certainly seems that way. It becomes necessary to fight the temptation to read each new volume cover to cover (starting at the "back" of course) as soon as it finally arrives and to limit myself to one story a night and letting the experience last an entire week. Fortunately an appreciation of Zen is helpful because you will discover in Volume 7, "Center of the World," that there is not a lot of action this time around. That is not to say that nothing happens, because the Baldy Rat shows up with a strange proposal, Ieyasu and Hatori Hanzo fight with the stems of weeds, and there are a couple of assassination attempts. But somehow the most compelling part of these stories become when Ieyasu lays out his options and his next step (or hop) along the path that will lead to him becoming Shogun, especially since in this volume he asks for Imperial permission to take the name Tokugawa by which history best remembers him.

We end up with parts of three different chapters in Volume 7, beginning with the end of the "Chapter on 'Shogyo Mujo.'" No. 3: "Oman," is about a young woman with whom Ieyasu is smitten. Of course, as lord of the castle he can have any woman he wants, and Hanzo is certainly happy to go and bring Oman hither, but Ieyasu has no desire to take any woman by force. So Hanzo arranges for Oman to be Ieyasu's maidservant, and that sets the stage for the rather innocent seduction that takes place. Now Hanzo's only problem is to make sure Ieyasu's wife does not find out what is going on, revealing yet another aspect of his limitless ingenuity.

The next five parts belong to the "Chapter on 'Josha Hissui,'" most of which is taken up by a massive story that surprisingly does not give this volume its title. That would be No. 1: "Center of the World," where Ieyasu's court is wondering what Hanzo has not been rewarded, when even those who have been conquered have been given something by Ieyasu. There is a simple explanation, so obvious that Hanzo does not see it. No. 2: "Child of Smoke," is the key story in this collection, and begins with an assassination attempt on Takechiyo, the young son of Ieyasu. While the boy's mother confronts the assassin, Ieyasu and Hanzo consider the political implications of such an attack. However, it is the Baldy Rat who shows up and offers not just an explanation, but also proposes a strange course of action for Ieyasu to take. Meanwhile, Hanzo and his wife consider whether having a child would interfere with his duty towards his lord; it turns out there is duty, and then there is duty.

The other two parts constitute an interlude between this chapter and the next one. No. 4: "No Pretty Trees on the Mountain Top" has Ieyasu considering the question of whether he should buy muskets to arm his troops, giving him another opportunity to weigh his opponents and mark his course. Similarly, No. 5: "Neither Sings nor Flies" finds master and friend sitting in a field playing with flowers while considering not only the future but the importance of luck. Finally, we get the opening part of the "Chapter on 'Esha Jori." No. 1: "Shinobi with Extending Fists, Part 1," has an assassination attempt on Ieyasu and single combat between Hanzo and the assassin to force a confession of who is behind the plot. I guess we are lucky that they found a convenient place to stop this story, and once again we have to wait for the next book, "Path Of The Assassin, Volume 8: Shinobi with Extending Fists" to see if this is halfway through the story on just the opening act of some larger saga. The fact that this story gives the next volume its title would be considered a clue.

With their fictional telling of the early life of Ieyasu Tokugawa, I think author Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima have crafted yet another masterpiece. Trying to pick between "Path of the Assassin," "Lone Wolf and Cub," and "Samurai Executioner" is just like the classic example of talking apples, oranges, and bananas. As long as you like fruit (for "fruit" read "manga"), there is no reason that you should not like watching a young boy turn into a Shogun, an epic saga about the quest for vengeance, or a contemplative look at the nature of justice in feudal Japan. I think "Path of the Assassin" might be my favorite, but that might just be because we are just shy of the halfway point in this 15-volume series. As always, keep in mind that these books are intended for mature readers and that the Parental Advisory label on the front cover (which is in the "back" since these books are oriented in right-to-left reading format as originally created) is a serious warning, because there are several scenes of naked nude people having sex.

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