Saturday, December 14, 2013

Oudou no Inu, vol. 2

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Oudou no Inu, vol. 2, by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, Grade: B
In this volume, Fuma has a flashback, where he accidentally killed someone while trying to steal some food. He's on the road now with a hunter, and the other guy is pushing him around a bit too much. When the hunter is sleeping, Fuma strangles him, then makes his way back to the family that had been hosting him and Kanoh. He cuts himself on the forehead and claims that a bear had attacked them and killed the hunter.

(Back cover.)

No one in the family believes this story, though, and he and Taki eventually escape, take a small boat and meet up with a fishing boat. There, Fuma joins the crew, and Taki is left crying out for him to come back some day, but it's pretty clear he won't. She returns to her family, and the master has her escort Kanoh out of the mountains. Kanoh had tried visiting Nishite's cabin, but it had been ransacked and the rest of his family is gone. Kanoh visits town and picks up a lot of piled up mail, one letter of which causes him to finally go back on the road, escorted by Taki. One night, they're attacked by a bandit, but Kanoh has gotten so good at jujitsu that he easily disarms the guy and he joins their party. Another night, Taki pretty much rapes Kanoh.

(Fuma and the hunter.)

The three travelers get to Kushiro, where Kanoh boards a ship and leaves Taki behind to wave him off at the docks. He gets to Sapporo, and the government agents there assign him to work with one of the most famous people in the city - Sokaku Takeda. There's a big martial arts contest coming up, with Sokaku judging. Kanoh is entered as a participant, and he defeats pretty much everyone he faces. One particular opponent uses a 3-section staff that gives him a hard time, until he finally figures out the timing and lets the staff thrash its wielder for him. In the final round, Kanoh goes up against Juugo Onodera, a karate master, who just completely destroys him with a hammer punch.

(Wolves in the night.)

Sokaku gives the match to Onodera, and Kanoh lies in a lump on the floor, crying for his teacher to give him another chance. However, the foreign dignitary watching the match is impressed, and he approaches Kanoh to give him a job. After his wounds heal, and now bearing a wicked scar on his forehead, Kanoh begins working as a bodyguard for the Korean revolutionary, Kim Ok-gyun.

(Fuma has a flashback.)

The chapter ends with Kanoh's bandit trying to spy on Onodera. Onodera catches him at it and beats him into a bloody pulp. The body is left at Kim's front door, and Kanoh and the other staff take the bandit to a nearby doctor for treatment. This leaves Kim unguarded, and on the last page, he finds himself facing a conspirator that had approached Onodera for help in reaching Kim.

(Kanoh defeats the bandit.)

Comments: There's a lot more fighting in this volume, but still a lot of dialog and political intrigue. It was a faster read than volume 1. Many of the characters that show up are historical figures, and it's interesting to see how they all come together within the storyline. If you like Japanese political history, this is a good series for you. Recommended.

(The martial arts contest, where Kanoh fights the guy with the 3-section staff.)

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