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Sunday 17 November 2013

Manga in the 80's Pt. 14

The Legend of Kamui. Written and illustrated by Sanpei Shirato (by Akame Productions). Eclipse Comics with Viz Comics published 37 issues in a Biweekly format from May 1987 to November 1988, spanning 13 chapters taken from the original books published by Shogakukan Inc. that ran from 1982 to 1987. - English Translation by Toren Smith & Satori Fuji.

Rivalling “Lone Wolf and Cub” for the historical manga crown, for its scope and scale of storytelling, and art style (new to a Western reader) “The Legend of Kamui” is a powerful story that draws the reader in to the outlaw world of the underclass removed from the restrictions of the Bushido code, where a young man's desire for revenge threatens to overtake pursuit for freedom from the Ninja clans, and live as a free-man.

Kamui introduces himself as a “Nukenin” (a runaway shinobi) who can never return to his village now that he has left, he is alone. Encountering many souls on his journey, many of these regarding him as a renegade ninja thus fights to the death ensue.
The historical richness of this era, adding to this the explications of fighting styles and weapons used bring the myth and legends of the Ninja to a harsh reality for the mature reader.

[Note: Two stories were printed “The Island Of Sugaru” who's 6 chapters ran from issue 1 to issue 13, and “The Sword Wind” story who's 7 chapters ran from issue 14 to issue 37.]

[Note: In 1990 when Viz Comics had the rights to print (dairy format) “The Island Of Sugaru”, volume one had chapters 1 to 4, and with a 2 page introduction by American Manga aficionado Frederik Schodt, and it also had a 2 page Glossary at the back.]

[Note: Quoting the American scholar 'Hart Larrabee' “the Manga of Shirato Sanpei, they are what distinguishes literature from the simple story”.]

[UPDATE: Collection of issues 1 to 37 all but complete.]

The Legend of Kamui.
Issues 1 to 37 (7 & 8 missing).

The Legend of Kamui - “The Island Of Sugaru”.
Volumes ONE and TWO.

[NOTE: A feature length animated film based on the characters, entitled "The Dagger of KAMUI" 1985.]  

[NOTE: A live action feature was also filmed based on the Manga and its characters, entitled "Kamui: The Lone Ninja (Kamui Gaiden) 2008.]

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