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In the feudal era of Japan, Ogami Itto is the elite executioner for the Shogun until the ruthless Yagyu clan frames him in an attempt to gain the position. His name dishonored and his wife murdered, Itto and his infant son Daigoro wander Japan as an assassin for hire, named Lone Wolf and Cub. Ultimately, Ogami Itto strives for revenge against the Yagyu clan.
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I approached this manga with a skeptical eye, not particularly enjoying the art style at first and wary of the overused feudal japan archetype.
This manga not only breaks the mold, but brought me from vague interest and humor into a constant and gripping read. There are few plot holes (as another commenter mentioned, the son seems to stay 3 years old for quite a long time, although this is later explained to be due to time lapse, the entire manga takes place within the son's third year) however it was an exceptional manga and a great read. I do not often see manga that elicit emotions as thoroughly as this. There is nary a wasted motion.
Additionally in reference to the translation issues, there aren't any. Simply Japanese terms that are difficult to make terse in English, many are also sections of the government of the time. As a reader who did not know many of the terms or positions prior to reading this manga, I finished it without any hindrance to my understanding.
This series deserves a solid 9, better than most, just shy of being one of the greats. It appeals to a reader looking for more than the average manga can provide. It's story is well thought out and expansive, it offers little in the way of pandering to audiences, and overall is a very interesting and mostly accurate portrayal of the time period.
He stays three?!
I haven't finished reading yet, I just want to point out one thing: the boy stays three for about five years. The manga passes through the seasons repeatedly, the mangaka even makes a point of saying "how long have they been wandering the roads...". Well, according to Daigoro, not even one year. Just one small point I noticed. Other than that, I guess I missed a lot of the intricies in this manga because of all the Japanese words that were not translated (there was a glossary at the back, but not being in possession of a hard copy of the manga, I could not check every word when I came across it). As such, it felt kind of like I was skim reading a book that had a lot of depth but I was taking it only at face value. It gives a realistic and gritty approach to the samuria lifestyle and an interesting (though, in my case, limited) view of true nature of fuedal Japan.
Skip the Official English Publication
The series needs a new translation, as the official publication has a copious amount of gratuitous Japanese terms that could have been fully translated (Too Long; Didn't Dub). It gets to the point were it looks like a hodgepodge and unprofessional release. If you don't already know what the words are (some are not in the glossary at the back of the book), you'll be googling at least once every few pages. Some don't even appear to be the correct romanization either. The translator could have just left them as kanji, and I would have found the meaning easier.
Of course, this was from the first volume. Maybe the translators do better later on, but I don't want to trek through the poor translation to get there.
I couldn't completely focus on the story due to the translation, and I don't want to judge it simply on that; so, I'm not going to rate the series. It's truly unfortunate.
You don't get to read such an amazing work of art often. This manga is sure different from any other you've read before, it's way beyond the reach of most of the mangas. Trully extraordinary piece of work. I'm not used to writting reviews, but this one time, I just wanted to share with others my thoughts about Lone Wolf & Cub. When you get to know characters better, their feelings, their emotions, it's as if you are experiencing everything with them. You start to hate or feel pity for those characters as they struggle through...Especialy stories that involve Daigaro alone are really touching, still just a child and yet so strong, bound by the code of a samurai. This manga is so realistic, you can see cruel fate of those who are weak or those with power that abuse others. Every episode has its meaning, it might teach you something, or pass down a message. I wonder if many mangas could achieve this...
I have to agree with those who praise this series but I have one major beef with the Dark Horse- english editions. It does NO JUSTICE to the stunning artwork with the these tiny pocket book editions. What the hell? There are the old larger editions from the now defunct "First Comics" but they stopped well short before the series was completed. The only way to go is with the original japanese books. And by the way those are the large size books. Makes you wonder , what the hell were they thinking over there at Dark Horse?! "we have this amazing manga, let's release it in a smallest possible editions" Idiots!
One of the best
I read it about 4 years ago but it has written into my memory more than any other manga. The 2/3 of this (lengthy) series, the plot is filled by countless assassination, still every each one is unique and enlightening. It will take some time for characters to grow on you, but when they grow on, they grow big time. The main villain Retsudo is my favorite villain ever, he is charismatic, authoritative, cunning, strong and whatever. The art is unique but you ll have to get used to recognize particular characters from some other. And a little something like spoiler: payments for assassinations were used funnystrangeillogicalWTF way . +You will learn some from japanese history and culture. Go and read it, don t let the little JUST seemingly pointless story discourage you !!
not much to say really exept its really really REALLY REALLY good. the epic storyline kept me hooked all the way thruogh. fantastic samurai manga, gives a great insight into the era. and if you like martial arts movies then surely you understand the importance of this manga! READ NOW
Work of Art
To me... LW&C is a pinnacle of graphic fiction. It is imho one of the greatest works of art of this century (seriously!). I love manga, but to me LW&C isn't really manga. Its like calling the works of Shakespeare "plays". It's true, but that kind of misses the point.
The art: amazing. Nothing else like it. I think that guy who draws Vagabond is copying his style and may even have surpassed it. Even so, earch panel is like a mini haiku.
The story: Its about, life, death, family, god, honor, the path, a struggle between good and evil; between the new ways of the merchant class and the old ways of the warrior. It will teach you about life. How many mangas do that?
Although the story is epic it gives enough breathing space for many smaller stories to be told. After finishing this tale you will feel like you truly understand this time period and the people who lived here.
The first few volumes are very episodic. Don't be discouraged, after that the story becomes truly epic.
A VERY GOOD MANGA
Well it could be repeatitive and predictable, there is no strong plot and complications, it is episodic and straightforward, but for me, it is very entertaining!
I love the the code they live in, and i especially love the cub, he is the best 3-year old character in the whole manga world..such bizarre but admirable characterization, and he could really touch your heart, so admirable..
It also serves as a very accurate flashback of the Tokugawa era..gives you the whole idea of how the people of that era thought and lived.
10/10 Probably the best manga in your life!
I read it a year ago and all I have to say is: I LOVE IT! It has everything: epic story, plot, moral truth, drama, slice of life, action, sex and it has STYLE! Honestly, it's probably the best manga (and I read many series!) you'll ever read in your life. It is simply perfect!
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