» » Path Of the Assassin, Vol. 1: Serving In The Dark (v. 1)

Download Path Of the Assassin, Vol. 1: Serving In The Dark (v. 1) epub

by Kazuo Koike,Goseki Kojima

Path of the Assassin, called Hanzo no Mon in Japan, is the story of Hattori Hanzo, the fabled master ninja whose duty was to protect Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu was the shogun who would unite Japan into one great nation. But before he could do that, he had to grow up and learn how to love the ladies! As the secret caretaker of such an influential future leader, not only does Hanzo use vast and varied ninja talents, but in living closely with Ieyasu, he forms a close friendship with the young shogun.
Download Path Of the Assassin, Vol. 1: Serving In The Dark (v. 1) epub
ISBN: 1593075022
ISBN13: 978-1593075026
Category: Comics
Subcategory: Manga
Author: Kazuo Koike,Goseki Kojima
Language: English
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga (July 11, 2006)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1402 kb
FB2 size: 1197 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 875
Other Formats: azw mobi rtf txt

An incredible look at 13th century Japan. A wonderful look at a particular subsection of the empire as it existed at that time.
What is unique about this story?

Kazuo Koike is known for making stories about extremely powerful warriors during the feudal samurai era of Japan and this story is special because it is the coming of age story of not only the Assassin but also the master he serves. There is power and great skill in both the samurai lord and his ninja but also a youthful vulnerability to the two of them which gives such great character to the story. This story is so good with an ending to the first book is very pleasantly surprising.
Great series
Right in line with Samurai Executioner and Lone Wolf and Cub.

Engrossing story, as well as a good view into how Japan was back in the Samurai era.
This story is a four stars - but if you are over fifty, then the type is so small you may find it an uncomfortable read. A bit more real estate on the page would be a big help.
Unique Japanese manga, involved and action-packed with a unique twist on Japanese history. Reading it through a second time is necessary to start picking up on all the historical nuances. I am finally understanding the historical figures therein. Even though as an American I am not very familiar with figures like Takeda Shingen, Ieyasu Tokugawa, Hattori Hanzo, or Nobunaga, I find it is not impenetrable Japanese lore.

In reading the full set of Lone Wolf and Cub (now available in a Dark Horse Omnibus edition), I realized that the writer Koike wanted to explore the lives and activities of the Ninja of that time period more. We get a huge amount of ninja detail in Path, all within realistic limits of human ability and ingenuity. No super-powers here, but in those primitive times, they seemed superhuman. And there is great mystery therein.

What helps is that we have a new Dark Horse translator in Naomi Kokubo, with Jeff Carlson assisting. This translation is more human and natural than the Dark Horse translation of Lone Wolf and Cub, and they need it for this series. Whereas Itto Ogami, Daigoro, and Retsudo Yagyu were stoic, largely emotionless characters, everyone in Path is human and very much so.

What is also interesting in this series is how Koike adopts a more personal approach to his narrative, breaking the 'fourth wall' and addressing the reader on his choices and conventions in crafting a believable story. It is this personal touch that draws me in as a reader in a way that Lone Wolf and Cub never could. That series took itself very seriously, yet here, Koike is winking at the reader at the difficulty of following a historical narrative (for Japanese and gaijin alike), and does his best to lead us through the labyrinth of political intrigue. Start with this volume, and you'll be interested in seeing the story through to the end!
Path of The Assassin: Vol. 1 (Serving in the Dark) was a fantastic introduction into the genre of Japanese comics, in my opinion. I had never really read or watched any traditional Japanese cartoonism until this book.
Coming from famed writer of the incredibly long and excellent “Lone Wolf and Cub”, Kazuo Koike is a fantastic writer. He beautifully tells the tale of Hanzo Hattori, a 16th century assassin protecting Tokugawa Ieyasu, a young heir to the shogunate who would eventually unify Japan. The story is a pseudo-nonfiction tale about the actual leader Tokugawa Ieyasu and his bodyguard, told in a 3rd-person view that reminds me most of a television series or movie. This is not an accident, however. The most popular genre of manga is Shōnen, or that aimed toward 10-22 year old readers. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, a genre of manga called Gekiga was born. Literally meaning “dramatic pictures”, Gekiga is as close to film as Japanese comics had come and still have come. The Golden Age of manga was from between 1970 and 1996, or from when Lone Wolf and Cub released and when Dragon Ball Z became popular.
The art is very old-fashioned, and many of the characters (including the main duo) are bald. Many articles written about this 20-part series (15-part, in the West) mention that the reason why all of the main characters are bald is because this comic was written and drawn for older readers, namely middle-aged businessmen. This theory makes most sense to me, especially when taking into account the overall realistic and mature themes portrayed herein, the lack of young children as characters, and (most obviously), the fact that everyone is bald.
Personally, I thought that the plot was very easy to understand, especially when taking into account the fact that I haven’t really read any Western comics (and no manga ever). What helped me most was to think of every picture as a shot in a movie, and the in-between of each different shot is like a cut. This helped me immensely, as the right-to-left orientation was very much so lost on me for the first few chapters. The dialogue is very smooth, facial expressions are very natural-looking, and very little is choppy and unintelligible. The fight scenes are beautifully drawn, with each action so smoothly transitioned that it’s almost like watching a film. I was on the edge of my seat at the best and most suspenseful fight, located at the end of the book.
Some of the things I didn’t like were the fact that some characters popped into existence out of nowhere, like the masked man Hanzo fights near the end. ¾ of the way through, this guy just appears in front of the ruling lords and becomes the main threat to our heroes. He’s forgotten by the plot, and appears again at the fight scene. This is very out of place compared to how slow the pace is of all the other storylines. For instance, when Hanzo is forced to rape a girl to prove a point to an enemy early on, he does it with a horribly guilty face and attitude. Later on, that girl and him are together, with her forgiving him slowly throughout the book. She continues to do so all though the series. Another example of how interesting of a choice the pacing of this one storyline is when Tokugawa is married and makes love to his new spouse for the first time, she is immediately interesting and deep as a character. She talks about how she was having sex with many other noblemen before Toku, and how he is different because it is his first time, etc. Very cold at first, but warms up over the first 5 books or so. It would seem as though the artist, Goseki Kojima, pushed Koike to conjure up a character for an epic fight scene he had already drawn.
To finish off, this is my favorite comic book and my favorite manga ever. I’ve read much more than just this book now, including watching animes, reading other series of manga, and even read more of this series, but nothing comes close to the cinematic pull of this particular series that I’ve read. Later on, the skill of the artist visibly get better as the series continues. By book 5, he is pulling off fight scenes that I couldn’t dream of in a non-moving picture format. Overall, a truly legendary and genre-shaping book/series. I hope to read Lone Wolf and Cub next, but I’ve heard that it is incredibly long, with one fight scene taking up 178 pages. To gush about LWaC a bit, it was massively popular in 70’s Japan and sold 8 million copies of all 28 issues by 1980. With 6 entire Japanese-language movies and even the Western-released abomination that is “Shogun Assassin”, this series is massive. On a final note, legendary comic writer Frank Miller’s biggest inspiration for “Sin City” and “Ronin” was Lone Wolf and Cub.
Easy 9.5/10 for Path of the Assassin Vol.1 (Serving in the Dark).