HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "The Elusive Samurai" - Volume Nine

MANGA REVIEW | "The Elusive Samurai" - Volume Nine

MANGA REVIEW | "The Elusive Samurai" - Volume Nine

It may be called The Elusive Samurai, but that doesn’t mean that our hero can always hide in the shadows. There will be a time when Hojo Tokiyuki’s real identity will be revealed, as his skills both with the blade and in his evading spread throughout Japan. That reveal just so happened to occur last volume, with a rousing speech towards his troops. Sadly, the Suwa troops weren’t the only ones to hear this reveal, as Volume Nine dives straight into battle!

Sadamune begins to chase Hojo during a surprise attack. Although Hojo should be frightened for his life, he feels overjoyed by the chase that’s happening. It’s a moment that gives Hojo a chance to show how much he’s grown as a warrior. While Sadamune may claim to be the best archer in the land, Hojo uses that confidence against him in a way that’s both hilarious and satisfying!

The chase showcases Yusei Matsui’s art style at its wildest. From the way Hojo rides his horse to the flinging of Sadamune’s arrows, the visuals are vibrant and filled with great detail. It’s when Hojo’s plan comes to fruition when you see how well Matsui has crafted slapstick, with Sadamune smacking face first into a tree branch. Only his googly eyes are still apparent in the violent hit, a sight that made me laugh hysterically for two minutes straight!

But after that wacky moment is one filled with confidence. Staring down at his enemy, Hojo vows to take back Kamakura one day. Sadamune loses his cool, a sign of weakness that he’s been hiding since The Elusive Samurai first began. Readers have known that Hojo has the skills to reach the top again, and now that Sadamune sees him alive, a great fear comes over him and the rest of the Shinano Warriors.

Thus begins a trek to spread Hojo’s return far and wide. And the first obstacle is the Kanto Hisashiban. They’re…odd, to say the least, especially a horse-loving warrior named Imagawa. But the most dangerous one of all is the one that looks most normal: Shibukawa Yoshisue. A challenge to face Hojo one-on-one results into a full-assault battle, one that Hojo might’ve bitten off more than he can chew.

However, it’s Iwamatsu that winds up being the most frightening. On top of him being a straight-up lunatic, his actions regarding women and enslaving them are pretty damn unforgivable. It’s a good thing that the women in Hojo’s clan know how to put up a solid fight, meaning that one hopes Iwamatsu will find his life ending pathetically. How they defend themselves from him isn’t the least bit conventional, but it does the job well!

Hojo’s fight with Yoshisue is what stands out in this battle, but he’s not alone. Kojiro has his back in the fight, acting more like a handicapped match than a duel. Angry over this fight, Yoshisue unleashes a foray of attacks that seem nearly impossible to penetrate. And in that moment, Hojo realizes that he’s not dealing with an ordinary human being.

There’s some strong progress made in Volume Nine of The Elusive Samurai. Hojo revealing himself to the enemy is a solid reminder that there’s an endgame afoot, even if it might take awhile to get there. But whether it’s one that’ll end in victory or defeat, Hojo won’t ever give up on his quest to reclaim Kamakura for his army, his friends, and even fallen family. If only we had Yorishige’s means of seeing the future to get a good glimpse of that future…


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)