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Itsuwaribito Vol. #14 Manga Review

4 min read

Itsuwaribito Volume 14 CoverCan Utsuho and the others hope to defend the Tanuki village from an army of zombies!?

Creative Staff
Story & Art: Yuuki Iinuma
Translation/Adaptation: John Werry

What They Say
Utsuho’s truthfulness as a child resulted in an enormous catastrophe, and he decided to lie from that day forward. Raised in a village of orphans by a monk, Utsuho is an unrepentant troublemaker. The monk eventually inspires him to help people, but there’s no way Utsuho’s going to lead an honest life! Instead, he’s going to use his talents for mischief and deception for good!

The raccoon dogs known as tanuki, of which Utsuho’s best friend Pochi is one, have become a target of revenge by a man named Ryubi. Why he hates tanuki so much is a mystery, as are the motives of the people he’s brought along to assist him in achieving his goal. Utsuho means to fight for the tanuki, but some of his companions appear to need very little urging to join Ryubi’s gang and help the man carry out his vendetta!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Utsuho and gang have taken a serious beating at the hands of Ryubi and his minions, Mami and Lilly. Utsuho will have to regroup and figure out a way to defeat Ryubi. This is going to be difficult when Mami can control anyone if she knows their true name and Lilly can change her appearance into anyone that she sees. Difficult opponents to say the least, but why is Ryubi obsessed with killing every last Tanuki?

Ryubi is a serious bastard, and even the background story about why he became this way does nothing to make me feel sorry for him. But none of that is going to help Utsuho, and his skill at lying doesn’t seem to be much help in fighting against Mami’s ability to control people. Not only that, but Mami knows some of their names, so that cuts Utsuho’s forces even smaller. Even more detrimental to Utsuho’s desire to protect the Tanuki is the desertion of Hikae and Choza. Both these guys decide to join Ryubi; Hikae because he finds them interesting and Choza because he sees Ryubi having the advantage and likely the winner in all this and Ryubi claims he can remove Choza’s face tattoo. Choza is no dummy, and he finds this unlikely but seems willing to make sure Ryubi’s claim is false.

It is odd to Utsuho that his companions would switch sides, but Choza’s leaving nearly destroys Uzume. At this point, Choza was Uzume’s oldest friend and having him switch sides is almost too much for Uzume’s simple mind to handle without breaking.

Choza’s time with Ryubi’s group proves to be quite interesting. During this time, we learn what happened to Ryubi to make him a manipulative jerk and how he uses Mami’s infatuation to control her and mentally abuse her all at the same time. It get’s even more complicated when we learn that Lilly is only there because Mami is her best friend, and even though she hates Ryubi, Lilly sticks around and does what he wants. That is some serious power that Ryubi holds over these two girls.

It remains unclear exactly why Hikae switched sides, but he is also the one character that I always believed would turn on Utsuho at any moment. The real question is, will Hikae and Choza actually fight against Utsuho when Ryubi attacks the Tanuki village with his mindless army of humans? Utsuho has his hands full with this enemy and there isn’t even a kokonotsu treasure involved in all this!

In Summary
Okay, so the army of villagers are not exactly zombies, but under the mind control of Ryubi’s minions, the villagers are nothing better than mindless killing machines. But how did we get to this point and why did two of Utsuho’s companions abandon him to join Ryubi? Hikae is more than 500 years old, so it isn’t surprising that he switched sides just for entertainment, but Choza switching sides just for the promise of removing his face tattoos seems fishy.

Throughout this series, the protagonist and his band of merry men have faced plenty of “bad guys”, but this Ryubi guy is a different animal, which makes this volume quite entertaining. Ryubi isn’t just an itsuwaribito or some guy desiring the kokonotsu treasures. No, Ryubi is a masterful manipulator that does some seriously messed up stuff to his “lover” just to watch her squirm in mental anguish. Ryubi has easily given me the most visceral desire to see a bad guy killed off in this entire series. Considering that Ryubi’s minions have the ability to control other people, how can Utsuho hope to win and protect the Tanuki village when his greatest strength of lying can’t do anything to help him?

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: April 14th, 2015
MSRP: $9.99

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