The story of 47 Ronin is one of the most important stories of Japan. It is interesting to note that this story and the tale of events it follows are in fact based on true events and has captured the imagination of the Japanese form the very beginning. There are many versions of this story and this is one of those versions brought to us in a 5-part mini-series from Dark Horse Comics.
47 Ronin was written by Mike Richardson, founder of Dark Horse comics and one of the three creators of the brutal 90’s comic The Mask. Since there are so many versions of 47 Ronin, the story was consulted with Kazuo Koike, known best for his more tame works like Lone Wolf and Cub. The art is done by the legendary Stan Sakai, a Hawaiian Japanese-American artist known for his deservingly award winning Usagi Yojimbo series. Truthfully, seeing Stan Sakai’s name being slapped onto this book is what peaked my interest initially.
The story of 47 Ronin is fairly simple. In 18th century Japan, powerful landlord Asano is wrongfully killed while being summoned to the Shogun’s Palace. This leaves his samurai to become Ronin, Samurai without a master. It is then up to these warriors to restore the honor of their master. The beautiful art by Stan Sakai and story direction really made 47 Ronin engaging and fun to read. This version of this story took Mike Richardson many years to set in motion and I for one am glad that it is finally here to be enjoyed by myself and everyone else interested in this tale.
”To know this story is to know Japan” and this book is a nice love letter to Japanese culture. I definitely recommend checking this series out, especially if/when it gets released to the more easily accessible trade paperback form. Alternatively, 47 Ronin is available digitally from Dark Horse.