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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil vol. 1 Impression

Takeru volume 1 manga
Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil volume 1 from Tokyopop is excellent in the same vein as Samurai 7 from FUNimation. Pretty blunt, up-front statement I know but one I stick by even as I delve into volume 2. This tale of three men, all with the name Takeru, hints to so many epics brining together heroes for one grand quest. The comparison to Samurai 7 is due to the skills and personalities in each of the Takeru’s.

In the land of Oyashima there resides a legendary sword, Susanoh. With this sword one can rule with an iron fist and it’s this sword which draws the invading Amamikado into the land of the all female Jagara who serve as guardians. Tied into this quest are three men, all named Takeru. One is a carefree spirit with a map, a box (half actually) which will reveal the location of the sword. Another is a mercenary, Amanikado solider, very strong, who decides to leave the army and the third is a mysterious and deadly fighter surrounded by mystery. These three men journey into the land of Oyashima, witness the women of Jagara wield their unique blood based powers and eventually end up as ‘guest’ of the queen and her sisters. A prophecy of heroes is revealed but in order to prove they are those foretold three trials must be overcome. Luck, skill and knowledge are the name as the game as the three Takeru maneuver their way around two opposing armies and their own differences.

So, three strangers each with their own unique talents, skills and motivation. An epic quest to retrieve a sword among two warring armies. This screams epic and it is. Based on a play written by Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann fame) with art by Karakarakemuri, this book is pleading, begging for the big screen treatment. First up the art, it’s beautiful, detailed and reason enough to pickup this book. The level of detail is outstanding and the characters and setting very vivid and unique. It’s tough to place the dress but it does remind of FUNimation’s Samurai 7. The story of the three Takeru; Izumo, Kumaso and Oguna, is fun to read. You’ve got the serious leader (loose term) who has skill and hidden knowledge. You’ve got the brute, beast of a man and finally the slender, mysterious assassin type. These three join for a shared cause but owe nothing to each other. Put them in a land of Amazon-ish women warriors and oh yes, it’s juicy. Add in some double-dealing form within the Jagara, a shady prophet and legendary sword and one volume is just the beginning.

Listen, Takeru has excellent art, which cannot be argued. It also has a story mixing war, magic, mystery, sword play, bloodshed and so much more but in a classy ‘it’s art’ type of way. Heck, there is even the excellent twist ending that will no doubt leave readers wanting more. I highly recommend this title to fans of Seven Samurai, Samurai 7, even the Sayuki series. Three guys on a journey with tons of fighting, what’s not to love?

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