Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lone Wolf and Cub: Omnibus: Volume Five (2014)

Author: Kazuo Koike | Illustrator: Goseki Kojima | Page Count: 712

"Love, affection, obligation, revenge!  Joy, anger, sorrow, pleasure!  Of the human emotions we choose revenge!"

Three years have passed since father and son set out on the road.  In that time there's been much death and there’s more to come.  The Yagyū letter arc that featured in Volume Four continues into Volume Five.  The Lone Wolf, Ogami Ittō, who carries the letter on his person, is hunting for his missing son, Daigoro.  The perspective is split between his journey and the lost and lonely Cub's search for his father.  Even when separated the path on which they walk is unchanged, so neither of them neglects their other duties.

For Daigoro, even being close to death is no reason not to honour a father’s teachings.  For Ogami and Retsudō, history repeats.  For the Yagyū clan, the retrieval of the letter is all-important, because if the secret hidden within it is discovered then the consequences for them would be grave.  Everyone has something to lose and no one is prepared to be the one that does.

One of the things that fascinates me the most about the series, other than the two protagonists, of course, is the way Kazuo Koike is able to put us quickly and directly into the troubled mindset of the people that hire Ogami to kill on their behalf.  They've reached the end of their tether and it's snapped, but does that justify paying a man with a child five hundred ryō to kill someone?  If we sympathise with their situation, quite often the answer to that is a resounding yes.

The book collects together chapters 53 - 63 of the original Lone Wolf and Cub manga (the remainder of Volume 10: Hostage Child; all of Volume 11: Talisman of Hades; and all of Volume 12: Shattered Stones).

5 wild dogs out of 5

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