Sunday, March 22, 2020

Kamuya Ride, vol.3

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Kamuya Ride, vol. 3, Masato Hisa. Grade: A-
Monko and Ousu are hogtied on the backs of the black shields being carried victoriously to the village of Yamato. The Black Shield leader, Ototachibana, is greeted by Princess Ayashikusa with a light pat on the head for doing a good job (which thrills both of them to no end). Monko easily frees himself from his bonds and comments on there being one more guest at this party. The Princess looks up and recognizes Ousu as fellow royalty, demands he be freed right away, and immediately bows down to apologize for this horrible breech of manners. But, when Ousu says it's ok because it was Ototachibana who ordered him tied up (he's still smitten with her), the Princess turns feral rabid and attacks him, before becoming all sweetness and light again. Monko and Ouso are allowed to enter the town on their own, where Monko tries selling some of his haniwa (clay figures) to the villagers. He then decides that he's going to try making a new haniwa on his own, and sets out for the nearest pottery shop. Meanwhile, the demon that has been opening gates to the other world has returned to his base - a floating jungle situated at the top of the cone of Mt. Fuji. The bridge leading to the jungle is packed with dead bodies. In the jungle itself are two unusual women - Ishikoridome (lizard-based) and Koyane (frog-based, or something with toad-like eyes). Ishikoridome greets the newcomer as Uzume (bird-based). They get into an argument over whether they should be indiscriminate in killing humans, or just target the strong ones. The heart of the argument is over how they can find the "first one" that had fallen to Earth 200 years ago and made the kilometers' long human-shaped crater from volume 2. A few other characters show up before Ishikoridome and Uzume go into full-blown battle against each other.

On his own, Ousu wanders the village and runs into his older brother, Oousu. They greet each other, and then Oousu sends Ousu to the work hut of the pottery master, Toreho, to find Monko. Meanwhile, Toreho is berating one of his apprentices for their shoddy workmanship, destroys the guy's bowl, and tells him to try again. Monko arrives, and Toreho goes into shock at seeing him, but recovers. The two of them go into Toreho's shop, and talk while Monko bakes up a haniwa of a fish. Elsewhere, Princess Ayashikusa gives a status update to her father of the monsters Ousu fought. The man sits hidden behind a screen, so we can't see his face, but he reacts violently at hearing that Ousu met up with Monko, who is said to be the "bearer of the clay armor." Time passes. Ousu gets to Toreho's shop, but Monko is now at the King's rooms, trying to give him the fish as a present. The King reveals his face, he's big, mean and angry, as he demands to know why Monko is still alive.

Toreho explains that a long time ago, Monko and he had worked together as potters. But, Monko went by the name Nomi back then. Nomi was a natural, gifted craftsman, and was revered by the other guys in the shop. He had attracted the attentions of Emperor Ohirowake and the previous Isachi Emperor Misakisumou. Nomi was summoned to the Emperor's part of the village compound, and the others didn't hear anything from him after that. Toreho snuck to the outer compound wall and tried to talk to Nomi through a gap in the wall, and his friend told him that things had changed and he'd never be able to return to the shop. Some time later, Toreho snuck back to the compound wall, which exploded on him. Inside, Nomi was standing in a strange ceramic armor, and the head of Misakisumou was now hanging from the corner of the roof of the Emperor's building. Back in the present, Ohirowake accuses Monko of having come back from the dead to overthrow his second Emperor.

Monko just tries to give the fish haniwa to the Emperor, who bats it away, saying he doesn't want it. Monko tries to escape, but the building is surrounded by armed guards. Ototachibana and Ayashikusa both arrive, and there's an extended cat and mouse chase, where Monko works to get to the haniwa of his Ride armor, and everyone else tries to keep him from activating it. Towards the end of the fracas, the demon monsters in female form, Ishikoridome and Koyane arrive at the front gates of the village. Koyane uses her toad-eyes to control various villagers and use their eyes to see what they see. Ishikoridome had gotten drawings of their three enemies from Uzume and is currently searching for them to fight them - Monko, Ousu and Ototachibana. Monko escapes Ototachibana and falls from the compound wall into a river where a village boy is fishing nearby. Monko holds his finger up to his lips to keep the boy from yelling out, and winks. Koyane is linked to the boy at this point, and she acts like Monko was just trying to seduce her (and she liked it). She also links to Toreho, and finds Ousu in the pottery hut. Ishikoridome sets out to commit carnage. She pulls out a weird machine in the shape of a magatama (a mystical comma-shaped stone produced from the Jomon era (1000 BCE) to the Kofun era (538 CE)), which rips her skin off like paper. She turns into a crazy-looking humanoid flower and promises to hurt a lot of the villagers staring at her in horror.

Summary: Lots of really good artwork and combat sequences, making for a fast read. I'm getting uncomfortable with the increasingly homoerotic S&M bondage poses, though. However, I do like Hisa's spin on Japanese mythology, and the usage of known found haniwa. Recommended.

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