"Lone Wolf and Cub: Omnibus Volume 1" is a sixteen part graphic novel omnibus by the two man team of the writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima is considered the seminal manga in terms of its portrayal of Edo era Japan and the samurai culture. The Lone Wolf and Cub stories have spawned many spin offs in terms of movies, and plays. Reading the first omnibus I can see why. The story follows the story of Ogami, the disgraced Tokugawa Clan's executioner and his quest to become a demon of wrath and his son Daigoro's role in this quest and his son's character development as he absorbs his father's way of life. The artwork is eye-catching, the fight sequences are engaging and the historic costumes and set pieces make it all the more satisfying for me. The graphic novel captures the zeitgeist of the late 17th century Japan, when the samurai caste was beginning to lose its warrior identity, slowly transforming themselves into bureaucrats, policemen, and tax collectors; with the last memory of a major war/conflict nearly three generations past. Inversely many samurai simply became disgraced homeless wanders, called ronin, samurai given over to brigandry or living as assassins and soldiers of fortune of which Ogami himself is counted among these men seek to maintain the samurai tradition in its purest form living as they please even if runs contrary to the tack of the rest of society. The graphic novel covers a series of diverse topics such as the relationship of Buddhism to the political body, the role of the Han (localized prefectural administrative body) to the Shogunate (the overall administrative body), the existence of the Yakuza, organized crime syndicates, as a secondary body politic to the role of prostitutes and disgraced women. To assist the book includes an excellent glossary of terms for Japanese terms used throughout the book. I would highly recommend this book to fans of Japanese art and anyone interested in Edo era Japan.
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