Friday, July 24, 2009

Tail of the Moon, Prequel: The Other Hanzo(u)

Story and Art by Rinko Ueda
Published in the US by Viz

Slugline: They only way to keep the peace is through treachery and assassination

Kaguya, who was discovered wounded and without her memory in a bamboo field, works as a servant at a brothel during the Japanese Warring States period. All of the ladies there are interested in the playboy warriorHansou, though when he sees Kaguya he decides that he needs to meet her. At first she is flattered by the attention until she learns that he visits all of the red light district's ladies. Honsou insists he feels differently for her but as they get more intimate he realizes that the scars from her wounds are identical to ones he gave to an assassin. This jogs her memory, enough to remember that she is a ninja trying to keep the peace through carefully aimed violence. Despite their roles on opposite sides of the Warring States,Kaguya (now using her real name Sara) and Honsou keep their relationship alive in the face of her missions to marry and spy on other members of Honsou's family.

As a prequel, this volume helps explain the background and relationships of several of the supporting characters of the main Tail of the Moon series. The art style is appears to be a touch out of date, which helps create the illusion that this story predates the main series. While sometimes the logic of the characters seems spurious, especially when they try to justify how despite being on opposite sides their objectives remain the same, the story still does not read all that badly. This is one of those stories where you don't really need to justify everything, just go along with the characters' emotions and feelings. If this was a continuing story, it's structure would be more of a problem, but as a standalone or a side story, it works.

Tail of the Moon, Prequel: The Other Hanzo(u) is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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