Daisan no Kagemusha by Kurofuji Hirotaka & Nanjou Norio

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Daisan no Kagemusha depicts the struggle of Kyounosuke, a kagemusha for the feudal lord, Ikemoto Yasutaka. Kagemusha are decoys, picked and trained to be exactly like someone in power (let’s say a feudal lord, yeah?), usually as a strategy to trick their enemies or have a foothold over their allies. They have the same feature and build as the person they’re imitating.

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Ninomiya Kyounosuke is a lowly farmer dreaming to become a samurai like how his father was. One day, Ikemoto’s men finds him while he’s out on the fields and seeks to bring him back to the city. Thinking it’s his chance to finally be a samurai, Kyounosuke gullibly left his home, family and girlfriend.

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But all is not what it seems. When Shinomura, one of Ikemoto’s retainer, greets him at the city’s gate, he is informed that he is to be a Kagemusha. He then meets his fellow kagemusha, Kuwano Genta and Ishihara Shoubee. Thus, begins his rigorous training to become the third kagemusha of Ikemoto Yasutaka.

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But how far is Kyounosuke willing to go with this lie before his life is forfeited? Will he ever get to bang Ikemoto’s beloved mistress, Kohagi? 8D

Najou Norio was a novelist known for his historical and period novels. I guess if anybody read Shigurui should have at least heard of him. But, his books are in every Bookoff’s period novel section. Sadly, Daisan no Kagemusha does not have the level of guro and intensity as Shigurui (no nipple slicing with a finger nail, sorry). So this short series was a slight let down.

kagemusha01_051Nonetheless, there are a lot of testosterone flaring in the manga. Of course, Kurofuji did an awesome job depicting war and battle scenes but in my honest opinion, his side character’s designs are more unique than main ones. Imagine it’s like casting a flat-faced Chinese (like me) as a main with tons of Western actors with more defined features (nose!) surrounding him/her. Just that Kyounosuke has pretty big eyes and nice clean face like he goes for facial wash every single week.

I had a hard time telling who’s who. I mean, Ikemoto the head honcho has three clones! When they do the switcheroo, I can never know who’s unless the retainer calls out their names. I guess that’s the whole point of a kagemusha.

You can also pretty much guess how the plot goes as you read along. Which body parts they’re about to lose, who’s going to die first and etc.

But the whole point of this manga is to just sit back and enjoy blood spurting of cuts and body disfigurations. Not to mention Kurofuji’s attention to details when drawing corpse, I mean backgrounds. His forest are absolutely gorgeous. At least, that’s something to look forward to.

Oh, did I mention how useless Ikemoto is yet? For all his skills as a samurai, he’s just so freaking stubborn and careless.

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