Title: Samurai 8: Hachimaru Den Vol. 3
Author: Masashi Kishimoto (Story), Akira Ookubo (Art)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shonen, Battle, Sci-Fi
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
The third volume of Samurai 8 breaks things down into three parts. The first picks up where we left off with The Muun crashing down into the planet. Hachimaru, Daruma, and Ann fly up in Daruma’s holder and use a technique to disintegrate the Muun. RIP lunar tides on Earth, I guess?
Afterward, Daruma tells Hachimaru to inscribe the memory of his home into his mind because they are off in search of the remaining key holders. While they make a stop to prepare for their journey, two thieves end up on Daruma’s holder named Ryu and Kotsuga. After a battle, they end up capturing the two of them where Kotsuga tells them about a tournament where the winner will receive 1 billion yen… which is alluring to them because Hachimaru accidentally spent 17 million yen at a textile shop because he didn’t know how to read prices.
The third part of the manga deals with the tournament itself. It is battle royale style where the last person standing fights the tournament organizer with the prize being 1 billion yen if they can win. The tournament itself is pretty rushed but the volume ends with, predictably, Hachimaru being the final person left standing.
With only two volumes left, I’m surprised that the story wasn’t as rushed this time around. While things still moved forward at a quickened pace, you still got a sense of progression. Hachimaru and Ann did a bit of growing although there were some moments, such as completely destroying a moon, that were a little far-fetched for a main character to be doing three volumes into a series. Because of this, it seems as if Hachimaru’s power level is all over the place. He can destroy a moon in one chapter, yet, lose in a spar 32 times in the next? Then, he can take it to another samurai in the tournament that is clearly higher level than Ryu? Everything just seems all over the place with no consistency to Hachimaru’s power level.
Ryu and Kotsuga are our two new characters. Kotsuga is a simple thief who wants to steal Daruma’s possessions; however, after he realizes that Daruma is poor thanks to Hachimaru’s obscene spending of his money, he decides to tag along for the tournament… of course with the goal of stealing the money should they win. Outside of being an underhanded schemer, Kotsuga isn’t really anything else. Sure, he’s a bit quick with his tongue and has a personality to him but it’s obvious that he’s not interested in being friends for all that long. Who knows, though?
Ryu, on the other hand, I feel is a great character. Kotsuga met him about a month ago as Ryu has complete and total amnesia. He has two samurai souls that even he doesn’t remember how he got them. Not only can he not remember anything, even his own name, he also has a quirk about him to where he takes everything literally. Like, Kotsuga told him to slice up everyone except for Ann so Ryu turned his blade on Kotsuga because he literally said “slice everyone that’s not a girl.” This makes Ryu a fun character but you also feel for him because he’s obviously being used by Kotsuga for his thievery schemes. I wonder if there is enough time to develop Ryu or if he’ll just be written off after the tournament?
We received some backstory between Ann and her brother. Long story short, Ann’s brother, also named Nanashi because that’s the name given to orphans, swore to protect Ann and become a samurai. However, Ann ends up getting injured and he failed in his vow to protect her. He goes to the locker ball under the Fudo Miy-o statue and commits suicide with the sword thinking that it would turn him into a samurai. It doesn’t. Ann has lived with that guilt but, apparently, her love for Hachimaru was enough for her to accept everything that happened and to use her prayers as a princess to help power Hachimaru up. Also, it’s really cute to see Ann falling more and more in love with Hachimaru. It’s only been two full volumes with her and I already feel that they need to get locked in a closet or something!
I did like how the manga slowed down its pacing a bit but it did end up cramming a lot into it. Everything from saving the Earth, beginning a journey, new characters, character development, and a tournament was all jammed into a single volume of Samurai 8. Again, it seemed as if volumes upon volumes of content were compressed which makes me wonder how much advanced notice Kishimoto had that his series was getting canceled early. Even if Kishimoto was aiming to do ten full volumes vs the five that he got, how much more could he have developed things? It’s pretty clear that this wasn’t going to be another Naruto-level story but I think the fast pacing is really hurting a promising series. Plot points seem more like plot devices serving to push the story forward.
I’m going to go ahead and guess that the fourth volume will see the conclusion of the tournament which Hachimaru will win. Kotsuga will probably have a change of heart and join Hachimaru along with Ryu, and the tournament win will attract the key holders to Hachimaru instead of spending all this time searching for them. That will lead us to Ata getting personally involved by cited something like “oh, thank you for making it so easy for me!” and that will lead us into the final volume where we get the grand battle and the epilogue after some major power up for Hachimaru that seemingly comes from nowhere… probably a form of Nakama Power.
Let’s see how right I am!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media