Creator: Kamijyo Akimine
First Released: June 2003
Kamijyo’s Kyo is set in feudal Japan around 1608. Four years after the Battle of Sekigahara (the greatest battle in Japanese history). A medicine peddlers by the name of Mibu Kyoshiro is just minding his own business when he’s tricked and captured by a cute little bounty huntress named Yuya. Kyoshiro bears a striking resemblance to the wanted killer known as “Demon Eyes Kyo.” The most feared killer of the Battle of Sekigahara.
See, Mibu looks exactly like Kyo. The clothes, the sword, but he doesn’t have the eyes. Plus, he’s a wuss. Nevertheless, he does have a bounty on his head, even if it is quite a bit lower than Kyo’s. So, Yuya hauls him with her to the next village along the way. The place is scared to death by a pair of murderers who are demanding money from the people. When they come to collect, things get a little out of control and Kyoshiro lets everyone know that “he” is coming.
Samurai Deeper Kyo follows a sort of formula used by other books such as Trigun and even the familiar Kenshin. Take a hapless, laidback hero and give him a hard edge and see what happens. Kyoshiro is a bit of a dope, horny as heck, and stays away from trouble. When he’s pushed too much over the edge, he actually becomes Demon Eyes Kyo. Unmerciful, cruel, and a seemingly unstoppable fighter. The spirit of Kyo somehow is trapped inside of him, which is a character trait I’m sure we’ll find out about soon. Regardless, Kyo is one mean fighter.
Yuya, the bounty huntress, is a blonde (appears to be anyways) bombshell who isn’t afraid to use her feminine wilds to get what she wants (she did with Kyoshiro after all). She’s also adept at a three barrelled handgun as well. On her stomach, there’s a pretty bad scar left behind by the man she’s tracking down. She’s lucky, when Kyo appeared; he spared her life on the condition that she never stops searching for her man. If she does, he’ll kill her.
The third of our main characters introduced in volume one, is a very buxom, but lethal chick who goes by Izumono Okani. She claims to be the love of D.E. Kyo, and wants to see him again. She’s got something up her sleeve, which should be fun to see. It’s shown that she’s quite a good fighter with a “clothesline” (the thin thread you normally see in these types of shows/books).
What is fun to see is Kyo’s awesome artwork. Kamijyo and crew do a great job at creating good looking characters, unique in there own way. Their environments please the eye as well, and complete the overall package of the manga. The switch in the artwork from comical, to serious, to brutal action is flawless. Some of the shots where a character fills the page are gorgeous works of art.
I also have to give TOKYOPOP two thumbs up for their handling of the comic. They kept in all of the original names, references, and suffices that are important to the story. In the back of the book, they included a glossary of terms to look up what everything means. Along side that, are some cool omake (extra) panels from the creator as well. I felt this was a GREAT act on TP’s part, and hope they is now the standard for their works. Bravo!
Samurai Deeper Kyo is a fast paced, action packed, visual success. The characters are fun, and the plotline keeps you reading right up to the mean cliff-hanger. While the premise may be old, it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the book. A good recommendation to all manga action fans, and fans of the samurai genre as well.
A travelling medicine peddler, Kyoshiro Mibu is peaceful, light-hearted, and a bit of a coward. He carries a 5 shaku long sword with him, but claims it’s just for show. Unbeknownst to anyone, he holds within him the spirit of Demon Eyes Kyo, and when provoked, the red-eyed samurai takes over Kyoshiro’s body.
Demon Eyes Kyo
Kyo is the other personality in Kyoshiro’s body. Kyo, one of the original Muramasas, has blood red eyes and is said to have killed 1000 men at the Battle of Sekigahara. There’s a legendary one million ryo bounty on his head.
Yuya is a clever and beautiful bounty hunter, the best anywhere on Tokaido-chu. She seeks a man with a scar on his back – the man who killed her brother. After discovering the secret of Kyoshiro and Kyo, she hopes to unravel their mystery (and possibly to collect on their bounty).
A mysterious and powerful woman, Okuni is a former priestess of the Izumo temple who claims to have been Kyo’s lover.