"Life, death… Both are meaningless to an assassin of meifumadō."
You’d think that by this stage in the story, over 2000+ pages, that both Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima would begin to show signs of running out of steam, but there’s zero evidence of that. The plotting and art are as perfect as ever.
There’s an occasional slight shift of perspective in some chapters, making Ogami Ittō more of a bit player, but it never once feels like an intrusion in the arc. And it has the added effect of further opening up the world. We get to see more of how the other half lives, which invariably helps in how we view Ogami.
One thing that should always be remembered is that, even when it’s not explicitly stated, the wicked Yagyū clan are never far from his thoughts.
The different regions that father and son travel through are often characterised by the number of hungry poor contrasted with the number of rich patrons eager to satisfy their vices. I don’t think it’s a cliché that the poor people are more often than not the kindest of all. I think that’s a universal truth in any era.
I found myself needing to consult the glossary of terms at the back of the book more often this time. The more depth Koike added to the world, the more new terms were being introduced. It's good that Dark Horse continue to include and add to it with each edition.
The book collects together chapters 28 - 40 of the original Lone Wolf and Cub manga (the remainder of Vol 5: Black Wind; all of Vol 6: Lanterns For the Dead; all of Vol Vol 7: Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger; and the first part of the stories from Volume 8: Chains of Death).
5 gora, gora, gora out of 5