Friday, April 22

100 Kills

Blade gets it's hundredth notch.

In all my years of collecting comics on and off, one title has been there for almost forever. It's Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal, the samurai epic with street punk sensitivities and bad-ass characters, blood showers and flying body parts. It's a tale of revenge, loyalty, love, tragedy, deception, honor, dishonor and a one-eyed samurai with worms in his blood. It's about a girl caught in a cycle of revenge that she has to see through to the bitter end, no matter where it goes. It's about a genius swordsman ready to take on the order of an Empire for his ideals, and the loyal comrades who would die to meet that goal. It's about lots of swords and predictably, lots of killing. It's not for everyone but it's something I truly enjoy... even though I can finish reading a single issue in the time it takes to cross a room.

Blade's strength is in it's characters and the kinetic action. It's not hard to like Immortal hero Manji, or young and naive Rin. But strangely enough you also find yourself liking the villains of the series as well, from the idealistic and driven Anotsu to the pragmatic Magatsu and the invincible Makie. But when you hate someone, you hate them totally, such as the monster Shira (whose demise is hopefully permanent). But this love for the characters also comes with the unfortunate knowledge that some of these favorites may meet their end as well. In the latest issues, this may very well come to pass. Well, all I can do is read with bated breath and hope for the best.

I often think about why after all this time that BOTI hasn't seen an anime release; apparently Mr. Samura doesn't believe that anime can bring his visions to life. Perhaps a live-action film? Well, the closest I've seen to Blade's look is the recent anime Samurai Champloo. Perhaps someday we will see Manji, Rin, Anotsu, Makie and the rest in motion. For now though, there are a hundred issues of Blade of the Immortal to look back on and appreciate, and hopefully a hundred more at least to come. Darn... that's gonna be a whole lot more bodies...

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