Sunday, March 14, 2010

Red Hot Chili Samurai vol. 1 Impression

Red Hot Chili Samurai vol. 1
Red Hot Chili Samurai from Tokyopop created by Yoshitsugu Katagiri is everything good about comedic samurai manga (niche example … nah!). First is the fun hero with quirky side-kicks. Second is a ‘could-be-friend’ rival and cookie cutter bad guys. Third is a not too complicated setting that moves the story along.

Kokaku Sento is a hero, swooping in to beat bad guys cheating at dice or drug dealing brothel owners. Assigned task by his father, with the help of the more serious Ento, the cute Ran, quiet ninja Shou and a love, abnormal love of peppers, there is no task Kokaku cannot take on in the name of justice. Quirky is the kindest way to describe Kokaku and the troubles he gets into but with a turtle rival and inspiration from the past he’s well on his way to being the hero he thinks he is.

Once in a blue moon a manga comes along with a cover that I cannot ignore. Red Hot Chili Samurai is that title as the red jumps out and grabs you with a title that cannot be ignored. The chili piece is explained and an interesting hook that helps the story but is not needed for it to stand as a fun series that reminds me of a younger Samurai Champloo toned down a bit on the violent side. I absolutely love the art style as it fits the story and setting perfect without being too complicated or busy. Characters are unique and quirky, fun to follow and when reading these stories time just flies by. When a manga is over and you feel robbed that there is not more, well this is a good thing. The story chapters involve gambling, brothels, rival encounters, land dispute and a bit of history, all good stuff.
Fans of samurai anime with a bit of comedy would do themselves well to check out Red Hot Chili Samurai.