Rurouni Kenshin: Volume 8

Nobuhiro Watsuki, Author, Nobuhiro Watsuki, Illustrator . Viz $7.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-59116-563-7

A new direction begins for this enormously popular series as its protagonist, a wandering samurai, heads to Kyoto to prevent an assassination. Kenshin doesn't even appear in the first half of the book; instead, those who cared for him and called him friend react to his departure. The fighters respond to his perceived abandonment with rage, while in an affecting chapter, the women compare their hurts in an effort to determine who cares for him more. It's refreshing to see Watsuki's talent grow as he further defines the title character through the passion of the supporting cast. The distinctive character designs nicely complement the story's action, humor and drama, and the bold type fits the approach and makes the story easy to read. The battles are convenient standbys, symbolizing the deep emotions held by the various participants. Later in the book, Kenshin reappears to encounter a new character, a spunky young thief. She has his fighting talent and determination, but she's pledged to the other side in a situation fraught with conflict. As always with this series, the question of honor and duty is lightened through humor and the cast's zest for life. It's easy to see why this is such a well-liked book, especially for those seeking the excitement of adventure comics presented with a fresh approach. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-1-4215-2080-3
Prebound-Glued - 185 pages - 978-1-4176-5889-3
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