Genre = Manga, Historical, Fiction, Adventure
Author = Satoru Noda
As we continue our story with Ainu and Sugimoto in their quest to find the hidden gold which the map has been tattooed on the back of the prisoners who stole it. We see that not only are their nature enemies lurking around the corner but also enemies that are soldiers. Specifically the renowned 7th Division who has it in for Sugimoto but why? Will they catch him or has he still got some tricks up his sleeve to use? We get a lesson in Ainu’s history and the culture of the Asirpa tribe which is a fascinating ride.
My Pitch To You:
I absolutely love this manga as it is the perfect combination of friendship and history which those two mashed together create the perfect blend of adventure and excitement (well at least that is what I think). In this particular volume you got a lot more history and insights into the Asirpa tribe which makes me think that this manga is perfect for giving to teenagers to open their minds to something new and interesting especially when you are studying Russo-Japanese War. I particularly find Japanese history fascinating from their myths to their evolution into modern technology its intriguing mixture the of tradition and innovation.
In this volume the story chops and changes between action and calming campfire tales which at times is a bit hard to switch your brain to but it is a nice combination of pacing to keep you engaged. We get to know Retar and the bond it has with Ainu which has some of the most heartbreaking moments shown through the artwork and on the expression of both of them. The whole story with the bear and the Iomante Ceremony was a sad reality of the traditions that the tribe do but one that has a place in giving back to the land which I can understand it as a way of giving thanks to all that it provides but Ainu’s struggle with it I understand more and I thought the struggle was cleverly transferred to Sugimoto.
The characters in this manga are such warm and kind people which is probably one of these reasons I love reading this manga as even at the most tense times in the story you know both the main characters have this grounding in a sense of nobility and to do what is best for the greater good. Ainu I find in this volume her personality really shines through exploring her own traditions and having Retar with her all the time. Sugimoto you see him starting to move away from strong bond with Ainu as he his starting to see her more as a child and this mission being too dangerous but as you go further in this volume you start that bond developing more and more as she always goes back for him.
The artwork in this manga is absolutely stunning especially in the fight scenes they have such beautiful lines in the sketching. It also feels that the fight scenes have graduated to a more frightening level especially with the scene with the soldiers near the bear den. There is a panel in that scene where as soon I saw it my hands clenched on the book I just couldn’t stop reading till I got to the end. The scenes with the baby bear are so adorable as the faces it makes just melt your heart completely. Retar the Eno wolf illustrations have such a presence that you almost not sure if it is on your side and there is a wiseness in it’s facial expression that makes you fall in love with it.
Overall, this is another great triumph for the story as it is quite a simple story of looking for lost treasure but what this manga does so well is building layers and layers of parts of this world steeped in real history that grounds it and keeps the interest of the reader. The story also has innocence to it brought on by Ainu’s character and of her discovery of how life gets more and more complex. I think if you weren’t sure about the first volume then I think this second volume will make you want to read all of them especially with more involvement of Retar. Great for fans of Japanese history and mythical stories.
Where To Buy:
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