Artist: Frederic Genet
Writer: Jean-Francois Di Giorgio
Publisher: Titan Comics
Genre: Historical Fiction
With our Japan-infused geek culture, very few know the historical context of the Samurai and Japanese history. Samurai tells a story of honor, sword play and intrigue in this suspenseful soap opera.
Writer’s Note: Titan Comics generously lent this comic to GUG, but it starts in the middle of the mini-series. I will do my best to explain the backstory.
Some mentions of the Eastern gods and their rituals.
Servants get slapped and punched by the corrupt Lord. The sword tournament is with wooden swords and no blood is shed.
Someone says da**ed.
There is an implied rape scene, but nothing is shown. Terumi gets her robe taken off. In the brothel scene, many women are topless. Some of the men are seen performing sexual acts to them.
Other Negative Themes
The Lord gambles on the Samurai and uses threats to bring the tournament in his favor.
The two warriors fight with integrity and honor. They are far above using deceit to win.
The Isle with No Name is having a sword tournament to decide its fate. On one side, you have the champion of the Nobunaga clan, Shobei, who is being greedily backed by the Yakuza clan. Then you have the unknown stranger, Takeo, whose past is uncertain.
In the first round of the fight, Shobei is victorious. The corrupt Lord who is betting on him decides to celebrate his victory by finding a young servant girl, Terumi, and raping her.
Meanwhile, Takeo has a dream revealing his dark past with a deadly clan. His brother once knew the family origins, but now he has amnesia.
In the second round, Takeo is victorious in the sword duel. He is able to use a risky technique to take down his opponent. Though he believes that Shobei threw the match on purpose, he is more stunned to hear that Shobei is requesting a duel to the death in the third round.
The chapter ends with the Lord receiving a rash after Terumi poisoned him at a brothel. He is dying from the inside. He decides to escape and run away with his riches.
Samurai is rich in cultural honor, with a heavy dose of rivalry, vileness, and justice. It’s like a Japanese soap opera for warrior men. It also opens up the idea that Japan has a much different view on women, honor, and corruption than we do.
What seemed like a simple tournament between a Nobunaga swordsmen and an unknown Samurai turns into politics. If not for the cocky Yakuza lord who is pure greed and deceit, the story would have no real bad guy. The Lord is heartless and serves to make you hate someone to the core.
I enjoyed the politics and relational tensions between characters. Shobei is the old master who lives by honor, while Takeo is the mysterious warrior who lives by risk taking. Terumi’s revenge on the Lord makes you want to cheer, though her rape is very serious. The story has no qualms with portraying the vile sexuality of the men as abusive.
With that in mind, this story has a very lewd sex scene right in its middle. A whole brothel of topless women are being used for sex. It’s nothing worse than an R-rated movie, but it definitely gave the message that continuing this story would mean looking at nudity and rape story lines. Beware!
The art style is colorful like a water pastel, but also uses character models similar to old Japanese paintings. It’s very unique for Asian culture to be depicted with so much detail.
This is a gripping story worthy of any adult prime time series, and the generous heaping of Ancient Japanese culture makes it much more attractive. Just be careful with those brothel scenes.
+ Intriguing drama + Interesting Japanese culture
- Lewd brothel scene
The Bottom Line
This is a gripping story worthy of any adult prime time series, and the generous heaping of ancient Japanese culture makes it much more attractive. Just be careful with those brothel scenes.