Select one of the keywords
Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai    by Jeff Amano, Craig Rousseau & Wayne Faucher order for
Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai
by Jeff Amano
Order:  USA  Can
Image Comics, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

A samurai without a leader to follow is known as a ronin, who hovers in an in-between state until he finds a new lord. When Lord Kira's devious actions force Lord Asano to commit honorable suicide, Ronin Hood (along with forty-seven out of some three hundred samurai who served Lord Asano) plots revenge, and takes refuge in the forest outside of Edo.

Based on a popular Japanese legend from the early 1700s, Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai accounts for eighteen months in the forest. Oishi Kuranosuke, once Chief Retainer to Lord Asano, gathers the loyal samurai and becomes known (in the context of this graphic novel) as Ronin Hood. But not all faithfully follow his plan. The brazen and hot-headed Little Thunder grows impatient and seeks adventure. His actions arouse the interest of Lord Takeda, who was also involved in Lord Asano's downfall. In order to lure the band of samurai out of the forest, Takeda holds an archery contest. While Ronin Hood has the wisdom to resist, Little Thunder enters it. Lord Takeda immediately arrests him and plans his execution. Little Thunder has jeopardized the plans of the samurai and no one is sure what Ronin Hood will do.

Integrating two very popular legends from different cultures can sometimes feel like a reappropriation of one culture or another, but the authors stick to the facts here, with minimal artistic interpretation. What they deliver is merely an idea of what may have happened in the course of the eighteen months in which the famous band of samurai plotted their lord's revenge. The graphic novel makes a sincere effort to give this perspective to the reader, via an introduction and a question and answer section in the back. The simple art easily finds depth in the use of color tone strategically reinforced throughout the text. Devotion to a green color scheme throughout incorporates a sense of nature and peace. The panels flow smoothly. And the deaths of more prominent characters have a certain solemnity that leaves one absorbing the death-shot panel for longer than most others.

Blending myth and history, the artists create a tragic but noble tale of defiance and determination. With a fantastic plot and wonderful imagery, Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai seduces readers and leaves them wanting more.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Historical books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews