Thwip!’s Manga Monday – Lone Wolf and Cub

It’s Monday folks! Which means we talk about a favorite manga of ours and why you all should read it – this week’s Manga Monday is all about writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima’s seminal collaboration, Lone Wolf and Cub.

If you have never heard of this manga, I want you to leave this website right now, ’cause I think you are a garbage person.

Won’t leave? Fine, let me tell you what’s great about Lone Wolf and Cub.

This is THE greatest samurai manga ever. I am not the only one who thinks so, since the influence and reach of LWC can be found in pretty much anything and everyone who thinks that a sword is cool.

The story is deceptively simple, all about the Shogun’s executioner Ogami Itto is framed for being a traitor and he goes out on a long bloody road of revenge (actually his way to revenge requires a butt-ton of gold, but to get that gold, he needs to kill…pretty much everyone who looks at him funny). What is fantastic with this series is that about 95% of them are done in ones…but yet they all contribute to overall story. Koike and Kojima are a masterclass in talent, with the manga being both incredibly verbose at times and then staggeringly quiet at other times. Daigoro barely talks actually, and there are entire chapters where not a word is said between father and son.

What is so engrossing about the story is how a majority of the stories are the same (Itto gets hired to do a job, he then ends up killing a whole load of people), but yet there is enough variety and story-telling between the scenes that you feel that it is readable, fresh, and that it was something different (sometimes only incrementally different, but just enough that you can at least recognize that it was something else)  and all the while reminding us that Itto is hounding the Yagyu and they are doing the same of him.

The end volume too is a heart-breaker, but it was such a build up that there really was no other way that it could have ended that would have left the reader satisfied. Both a tremendously long and quick read, this series is easily digestible and is worth the ride, believe me.

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