You will read this book for the last seven pages and love it and hate it for where it ends. Regrettably, that makes for a really short review. I feel that you should probably already be reading this series at this point and if you’re not then you can start any time digitally. This translated piece of work has been handled with care by Dark Horse and it’s worth it for any fan of period pieces set in Japan. We open with Houshou giving a beautiful tattoo to a beautiful woman. It’s their last session and she’s being rather ostentatious with him as she offers her body freely to him; as beautiful as she is he declines telling her that his life, much like hers in not his own to do with. Meanwhile, his adopted sister Natsu is having tea with the man who killed Houshou’s sister, he’s also suspected to be the Yokohama Lady-Killer be this is all unbeknownst to her. He makes a crude joke suggesting to Natsu that he is the killer which turns the conversation on to a strange path. Finally though, Houshou and Natsu are reunited as he visits her at school. After her conversation with the supposed Lady-Killer she confronts Houshou about being in her life anymore. She confesses her love to him and how that love has turned to hate and despise.
The second issue wasn’t the strongest issue for sure, but the third is much better. Since this story was originally published as one complete work and is now being broken into four pieces, it leaves part of the story reliant upon content that isn’t there. You literally could not pick this book up and get a full experience from just one issue. It would make sense and the translation includes enough of a recap that it would leave you scratching your head, but you really need the full experience to appreciate the story.
The art and writing are still very strong and frankly there isn’t much you can say after reviewing two other issues. Again, because it was originally one volume, the art doesn’t change or vary the way it typically would in a monthly series. Rather it’s a very consistent product that’s easy on the eyes and full of rich detail. If you missed the start of the series just buy them digitally or track them down in the back issue bin, it’s worth it.
Writer: Fumi Nakamura Script: Ian Edginton Pencils: Vicenc Villagrasa Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/29/12