Story/Art: Kazuo Koike / Artist: Goseki Kojima
Translation/Adaptation: Naomi Kokubo
What They Say
Path of the Assassin has it all in spades! Hanzo, the heroic ninja for the future shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, has been in some tight situations before, but nothing like the trap set for him by a ninja from a competing warlord’s clan! And to settle this trickery, a sexy battle of wits and weapons. Meanwhile, Tokugawa is moving across the battlefield on his way to Japan’s future.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Of course, the ultimate goal is to pull off the black widow move. First the woman sleeps with Hanzo, then she kills him. Well, at least she can try. In the end, Hanzo isn’t so nice as to let the ninja go. He ties her naked, spread eagle between bamboo trees and over a growing bamboo shoot. Bamboo grows really fast, so the idea is that the plant will grow in a matter of a day right up and through her crotch and into her midsection. Now that sounds seriously painful. Will she relent and give Hanzo the information he desires?
Nobunaga continues to play politics until he sees his opportunity to raise his sword. First he refuses to become shogun, to avoid becoming a target, then to draw out his enemies he leaves Kyoto. Nobunaga does not take his army far, and just as he expected, the Miyoshi clan rush in towards Kyoto to take Yoshiaki and use him as a puppet shogun. This is quite the gamble on Nobunaga’s part. If he beats the Miyoshi faction to Kyoto, Nobunaga can defeat them without a doubt. However, if Nobunaga is even half a day to late the Miyoshi will be impossible to expel from the capital. Will Nobunaga arrive in time to save the puppet shogun and his servant, Baldy Rat, or will Kyoto fall?
Ieyasu finally has a chance to side with Nobunaga in an attack on Asakura. This is Ieyasu’s chance to prove himself and ensure his rank and position as a strong ally to Nobunaga. Much like the rest of this series, the upcoming battle with Asakura is full of political wrangling and behind the scenes ninja intelligence gathering and battles. One aspect I really enjoyed is the appearance the ninja girl Kikko and Hanzo’s six-year-old son. The boy and his ninja clan manage to save Hanzo’s life before meeting him for the very first time. It is an enjoyable way to see Hanzo’s bastard son make an appearance.
Now with everything on the line and Hanzo and Ieyasu fighting on two different fronts, will things go according to plan? I have now doubt Hanzo can pull off his mission. However, Ieyasu isn’t the greatest leader, so I worry about how much stands before him in the upcoming battles.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 2nd, 2008