Friday, December 31, 2010

House of Five Leaves Vol. One - Review

Kidnapping My Attention

Written and illustrated by Natsume Ono, and published by Viz Signature, "House of Five Leaves" is the story of Masa, an out of work samurai plagued with social awkwardness and a growling stomach. After taking a job with a strange and charming man named Yaichi, Masa realizes that he's entered the world of the House of Five Leaves, a gang of kidnappers who may or may not have admirable intentions.

The story revolves around Masa being forced into helping the House of Five Leaves in order to send money home to his younger brother and sister. Each chapter has Masa learning more about the members of the gang, and questioning his morals in working for a group of thieves when he yearns to be a proper samurai.

Like Ono's other works that I've read, a reader finds themselves lost in her beautiful and yet simple artwork, and intrigued to turn the page even though the actual use of swords is few and far between. It's definitely samurai drama at its best, and I suggest picking it up if you'd like a story set in the Edo Period of Japan (1603 - 1868 AD).

There's also an anime adaptation of the series, which I've started watching after having read the first volume. So far it seems to capture the essence and plot points of the manga very well, and I hope to review that series in the near future as well. Though I'd like to be all caught up with the comics before I dive fully into the TV series.

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