With only three ninja remaining on each side, the battle between
the Iga and the Kouga clans is nearing its bloody end. Believing
he has slain Yakushiji Tenzen, shape-shifter Saemon Kisaragi
morphs into Tenzen's body and infiltrates Iga territory. But
what Saemon doesn't know is that Tenzen is an immortal ninja
and has a plan to dispose of Saemon and the Kouga clan. Meanwhile,
Oboro, leader of the Iga clan, has sworn that she will die
rather than fight against her lover, Gennosuke. Every death
brings these two star-crossed lovers closer to confronting
each other on the battlefield at last...
fifth, and final volume in this series sees the victor of
the feud between the Iga and Kouga clans emerge. It was fairly
well signposted from the start, and I assume I'm not really
spoiling things here for those who have been following this
collection, that lovers Oboro (Iga) and Gennosuke (Kouga)
would end up being the only two left alive - with the fate
of the competition left in their hands to decide the eventual
final volume features some fine writing. There is some incredible
deception on the part of members of both clans - with both
sides believing that the other is walking straight into their
finely laid trap. It also features some of the best art work
you'll see in a modern manga. There are also a few surprises
in store for fans, with at least one hero that they may have
been routing for turning out to be nothing more than a monster.
But then it's writing like this that keeps readers on their
toes - not knowing what to expect next.
I was impressed that author Futaro Yamada managed to squeeze
this tale into five volumes. It would have been so easy for
him to stretch the story to breaking point and run for at
least another five volumes. The end result is that manga fans
are treated to a breakneck paced story that doesn't waste
a single panel.