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Kyo and co. receive advice and information from Julian, the premier Mibu swordsmith, about the intensely magical Muramasa blades. Akira insists on facing Tokito alone to rescue Bontenmaru - and the bulk of the volume consists of Akira's battle with Tokito.

There was some really great art in this issue. I'm just annoyed that it involved Tokito, who is my least favorite character. The image where Tokito first draws the Muramasa blade a fraction of an inch, and the scene when Tokito uses the Seven Stars attack (a double-page spread), were both very beautiful.

On the other hand, even though I remember laughing at loud with joyful surprise at a couple of things that happened near the end, this volume faded from my mind really quickly, and I didn't have the urge to immediately go back and read it again - and again - as I did with the two recent volumes focusing on Hotaru. And like meganbmoore, I'm a little worried about what Kamijyo might be trying to tell us about social class and ability.


Samurai Deeper Kyo, vol. 32 (review)

Julian is such a wonderful wacko, and I don't find his brand of whimsy as annoying as Shihoudou's. Possibly this is because we know that his wife, Ian, was killed by the Mibu political infighting, and so there's an undercurrent of sorrow that's much stronger and more poignant than Shihoudou's disillusionment. I like his rapport with the swords and how it was portrayed, and for some reason, I love the idea of Muramasa as his apprentice.

There were some really good friendship moments in this one for me: Yuan's admiring comments about Akari (he's paying her a huge compliment by comparing her to his big sister Anna), Akari's trying to insist on going back to help Akira, and of course, Benitora's thoughts about Akira.

So - what about Akira's final special technique, which apparently invokes the heavenly power of ... the Virgin Mary??? (And what might Hazel Grosse make of all this?) Oh, Japan ... .

I knew about Tokito's actual sex. But the flashbacks that show what a burden it was to have such a famous father were rather compelling. The issue of living up to expectations - Kyo's and the other Emperors' for Akira, those of the Mibu for Tokito - was nicely put in this context.

And I loved that there was not one but two moments of the cavalry coming over the hill: first Bontenmaru and then Yuan's family.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
hello i was searching online for some SDK stuffs when i came to your website. i thought this might be a good place to ask some questions. hmm i take it as you have read all 38 volumes and this post is only doign the review for it?

anyway just in case, i think i better say it might contain some spoilers:

in the manga, during akira's battles he always had this memory of a dying woman. i take it as his wife/girlfriend or someone very important. i was actually hoping that the mangaka will develop that part of the story but it seemed till the end this was not revealed.
did i miss out the revelation of akira's past or did the mangaka simply forget to do that part of the story?

Feb. 20th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)

Welcome, pencil-san! I am always happy to discuss SDK.

Yes, I have read all 38 volumes in one form or another. When people read these reviews, I assume they have read up through the volume I'm reviewing here, and so it's OK to talk about anything up to that point.

In this case, I'm guessing that the dying woman is Saisei. She was not Akira's girlfriend, but she was one person he really admired. And I guess you know how tough it is to impress Akira! Their encounter takes place in vols. 17-18, so if you have been reading along, you should have seen this scene already.

Just in case you haven't read through vol. 18, the real spoiler about their (very brief) relationship is that she's a zombie (essentially - she was created from the spirit of the famous woman samurai Tomoe Gozen) and Akira kills her ... but because they are both warrior's warriors, they are friends as she dies, because they honor and admire each other.

Shinrei seems to have been sweet on her too.

Feb. 21st, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
hmm did i remember it wrongly? i do remember that his flashback had been about saisei a few times. but i thought he had the memory of another woman before he fought saisei.

aww i can't find the scene... too many pages to go through. i guess if i ever read it again then i hope to get that one scene... lolx. because it had been bothering me...

anyway thanks for replying.
Feb. 21st, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're still doing these SDK reviews... even if I'm always late for them, it's nice to read someone else's thoughts on the story.

Oh yes, Akira's final technique, I was wondering about that one already when reading the untranslated scans, it's really quite strange. But Japanese manga artists seem to love bringing Christianity into the mix, and foreign cultures in general. It's interesting! I don't really have time to start reading new manga at the moment, but Maus tells me once in a while about his discoveries, and many of them have European elements... some seem to be quite obsessed with it ^_^ There's a lot of Chinese influences too of course, just looking at Kyo... anyway, yeah, it's interesing.

Anyway, as an Akira fangirl I liked this volume, but I really do miss the time when everyone was together (more or less) too... when a whole book deals almost exlusively with one character (apart from some stuff at the beginning and end) it makes me wish we'd just get to see how everyone else is doing (how about Yukimura!). But I always enjoy Kyo/Akira moments (not in a slashy way at all), so this volume had a lot of good stuff for me :)
Feb. 22nd, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)

Yeah, I'm not sure why this volume didn't appeal to me as much - maybe it's just that brat Tokito!

Do you know whether we get a little more about Akira's background next volume, when he's recovering and before they set out to find the others? I don't know if you remember, but I've been nursing along a plot bunny for more than a year now about what happens right after he puts out his eyes (and man, that was weird, seeing him with eyes here), and I didn't want to write it until I was sure I had all his backstory.

Feb. 22nd, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
i kind of had high expectations for the volume at first though, wanting to see how tokito would react. her life is pretty harsh, and i thought maybe the battle will have the same emotional intensity as with saisei or kubira. although it ended up not that emotional, i still think it is a good volume.

i love hotaru the most! hahax
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)

Hotaru is hilarious! But that's the thing - I really loved the previous two volumes, which focused on him. So this one was not really a let-down, but just not as interesting to me.

There's some really great stuff coming up.

I just can't warm up to Tokito ... .

Feb. 23rd, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Actually I'm not sure anymore how the story is going to continue... I mean I remember all the important bits and pieces, but not much of the details. It's been ages since I looked at the scans ^_^ But just off the top of my head, I don't think there's much known about Akira... his background remained pretty sketchy. But we'll know for sure soon, and I'd definitely love to see the results of that plotbunny of yours!
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)

I think that I remember someone telling me that at one point, they're all sitting around telling tough-knock stories from their younger days, and Akira just destroys the competition with his deadpan description of his life before Kyo picked him up.

Feb. 24th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Do you mean the one where Akira has this huuuge speech bubble filled with tiny text? Now that you mention it, yes, I remember that one! He totally blows Bon away with his story ;) I think it's mostly about starving (there was something about eating dirt or some other inedible thing), getting beaten up, those kind of things... but as far as I remember those memories were all from before he met Kyo, and there wasn't anything really personal mentioned (about his family or anything). But I might be wrong... obviously my memory is not the best ^_^
Feb. 24th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
vol 33 spoilers:

that is in volume 33, when they were trying to (comfort tokito) compete with each other to see who has the most unfortunate/tragic life. akira won hands down in that scene (although i think hotaru had it harder).

there was another scene when akira revealed his past. it was when he proposed to yuya, way back in the early volumes. he told yuya he had a lover who met with misfortune. the mangaka didn't explore any further though... a pity

see the scene here:

Feb. 24th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)

Wow, I see what you mean. Yeah, now I remember.

The strange thing is, that description almost matches Sakuya, who is the only woman we know who had that much to do with Kyo. Yet how would Akira have known anything about her, let alone described her as "dear to me"? (Tokyopop's translation.) Kyo didn't start to go around with the Four Emperors until he'd left Sakuya and Kyoushirou. The only "woman" involved with the Four Emperors-era Kyo is Akari ... .   ;-)

Feb. 24th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
yea. sakuya was the first woman to come into my mind. but from what i see akira never saw sakuya before, and sakuya had chosen kyoshirou instead of kyo.

lolx akari!! kamijyo really creates very unique characters. *impressed*

after reading the whole series i thought about akira again, because i am always always waiting to see that part of the story.

that was when i got confused with akira's memories of the dying woman. i know some of them were of saisei's, but i thought some of them were not. i couldn't find those scenes though. i remember in one of the scenes, the woman said, 'the rest i will leave it to you (chinese translation)', but saisei never said that.

so maybe i will read all 38 volumes again someday just to find out the scene. it kinda bothers me that not everything is wrapped up nicely. sincerely wishing that this is not a potential plothole.

i read the manga in chinese, the language closest to japanese. it translates as 'the person i treasured', which is about the same.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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