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CompleteMartialArts.com - Path of the Assassin Volume 9 (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: 9781593075101
ISBN: 1593075103
Label: Dark Horse
Manufacturer: Dark Horse
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2008-02-27
Publisher: Dark Horse
Studio: Dark Horse

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Editorial Reviews:

The world of samurai and ninja is not just killing, politics, intrigue and actioin. It's also about family, spirit, love and sex. If there were ever an issue of Path of the Assassin that could be entitled "the sex issue," this would probably be it. Not just the act of sex, but the feelings, doubts, methods, results and politics of sex. The results can mean a son or daughter fated to the politics of advantage and danger. The doubts can lead to an unfocused mind. The methods can be a resullt of doubt, but can be there own distraction as well. The feelings can be good, bad, and ugly. And all of these elements amount to the politics of sex. However, if you fear that all this talk of sex means this volume of Path of the Assassin lacks the the expected swordplay, gushing blood, and drama you've come to love, well please don't worry. Rather the sexplay only provides a framework for those standards, making for an oddly exciting volume of our samurai/ninja tale of conquest. As always, pocket size and full of the best in gekiga, Koike and Kojima's Path of the Assassin continues with a fever.

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: Koize and Kojima begin Ieyasu's epic "Battle for Power"
Comment: Volume 9 of "Path of the Assassin" is entitled "Battle for Power: Part One," and you should be forewarned that this particular story carries off through not just the next volume but the one after that, so it will probably not be until the end of this year that we finally get to the end of this particular story. Part 1 was originally scheduled to be released in October 2007 but has not shown up until March of 2008, which is when Part 2 was supposed to be published with Part 3 slatted for April. Obviously that is not going to happen, but I am getting used to the delays and am accepting the strong probability that this 15-volume series will not be finished until 2010. So each time the next volume finally shows up, it is to be savored.

It turns out that the title for this volume is something of a misnomer in that most of this magna is devoted to the chapter on "Haja Kensho," begun in Volume 8 (managing to put all of it in one volume proved to be a mathematical impossibility apparently). No. 1: "Ihoro Kikko (Part 2)" begins with the fall of Mino, as a necessary step for Nobunaga's effort to rise up, serve the emperor, and declare his supremacy. Hanzo requests Nobunaga's sash, tied, which he accepts on his master's behalf, the next step in the giant chess game being played for the Shogunate. No. 2: "A Wish to Be Alone," finds Hanzo becoming a father and his wife puzzled by his remark "I wish...I was alone." The meaning of such a remark must be explained, as must the meaning of Nobunaga's tied sash. No. 3: "Kyoyu," introduces us to a strange samurai coming up from the west. After interrupting a violent rape, the samurai makes his way to the Mori Motonair, where he demonstrates his proficiency with a gun and his prescience towards the favor that will be asked him. Meanwhile, Hanzo is making the Shinobi power of virility for Ieyasu, yet another interesting step in the game that is bringing Nobunaga and Ieyasu closer to power and therefore closer to conflict.

Almost the last 100 pages of the manga are devoted to the beginning of the Chapter on "Tenka Fubu," with No. 1: "Battle for Power (Part 1)." Apparently this will be a very complex story, because we begin with a bloody battle, followed by Hanzo giving Ieyasu a massage as they discuss the political situation. Then things get interesting when Oyakata has an audience with a dubious "suppa" of great ability, named Hachiya Sekiun. Or rather I should say the audience is with a doll. Once again there are twists within twists as another assassination is dispatched to try and stop Tokugawa Ieyasu from becoming the shogun who unifies Japan and makes it a great modern nation.

"Path of the Assassin" ("Hanzo no Mon") was originally published in Japan back in 1972 by the legendary manga team of writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima. Intended for mature readers and carrying a parental advisory label that warns of explicit content, this series is rather astounding in its ability to entwine sex and politics, and by "sex" I do not mean simply arranged marriages for the purposes of alliances or the importance of producing children. With Koike and Kojima, an orgasm can literally be an important step on the road to power. Yes, this is a peculiar approach to history, and I must admit that the current installments are not as compelling as the early ones when Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hattori Hanzo become "Lifelong Friends, with the Same Dreams, Striving to Grow into a Rising River." Other characters are starting to dominate the stories more and more, which may be necessary given the scope of the tale, but remains a source of regret for those of us who loved the intimacy of the earlier tales. Still, with Koike and Kojima in terms of graphic storytelling, this is as good as it gets.

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