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Manga Review: Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume One by Kazuo Koike

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Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus Volume One is a manga written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima. This omnibus release collects the first three volumes of the series into one volume that spans a little over 700 pages in length. Dark Horse Manga has the North American distribution rights for the series, and this omnibus edition was released in 2013. There isn’t a rating published anywhere on this volume; however, after reading it, I would recommend Lone Wolf & Cub to manga readers who are 16 or 17 years of age and older.

The “lone wolf” character is Ogami Itto, who served as the Shogun’s executioner during the Edo period. The “cub” is his young son, Daigoro. After Ogami’s wife gave birth to Daigoro, she and the rest of the household are murdered; however, Daigoro’s life is spared. After Ogami is framed for wishing death on the Shogun, he is branded as a traitor and has to forfeit his post. Ogami, along with little Daigoro, travel as ronin and become known as Lone Wolf & Cub. Ogami vows to avenge the death of his wife and his own disgrace.

The first omnibus follows Ogami and Daigoro on their travels. To make money during their travels, Ogami takes on assassination jobs. Because of these jobs, he often finds himself is dangerous and precarious situations. But at the end of the each job, Ogami finds ways to get himself and Daigoro out of those situations so they can continue on their journey for vengeance.

The tone of Lone Wolf & Cub is rather dark, and at times, it can even be intense. There is a lot of action that takes place, and there’s also quite a bit of violence and blood included in the action. There is also a few panels in this omnibus that include female nudity, with some of those being scenes of women being raped. It’s these elements of violence that nudity that made me decide that this series is more appropriate for older teens and adults. Lone Wolf & Cub is not a manga series for the faint of heart.

But even with all that violence, there is still a compelling and fascinating story being told. Ogami is a well-developed character, and the reader finds that they’re cheering for him to succeed. It also helps that his son, Daigoro, looks so adorable. Even though Ogami may be an assassin, he’s still a good guy and a caring father; this is especially evident by how he makes sure Daigoro is taken of and that his needs are being met.

Lone Wolf & Cub was originally published in the 1970s. However, the art style used for this series doesn’t look “dated”; in fact, I didn’t know it was a series from the 1970s until I did some research. From what I’ve read, it appears that Lone Wolf & Cub is a manga series that has held up well over the years, both with its story and its art. It’s no wonder that this series has been held in such high esteem as it has over the years.

Lone Wolf & Cub has a good story, but it’s definitely on the intense side. If you like stories about ninja and samurai and don’t have any problems with the intensity with the violence and action in this series, then you will probably enjoy it. However, if you like ninja and samurai stories, but want a story that’s less intense, then you should probably stick with Naruto.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.