Dozens of new comic books are published daily around the world, but the manga, known as Japanese comic books, are the ones you should start with. Along with anime, manga is one of Japan’s most well-known forms of pop culture.
Looking through a samurai’s eyes is one of the most acceptable ways to understand feudal japan and eras like Edo and Meiji. When you hear the word samurai, what comes to mind? Most of the time, it’s usually a swordsman with nicely styled hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, dressed in a kimono.
5 Must Read Manga If You Are Samurai Sword Fans
You might begin your exploration of these swordsmen by reading a samurai manga if you’re curious to learn more. Here are the top five samurai manga in detail
1. Kaze Hikaru (Taeko Watanabe, 1997– 2020)
In Kaze Hikaru, a young girl poses as a boy during the Bakumatsu era (final years of the Edo period). Sei Tominaga, our heroine, joins the Shinsengumi, a Special Police Unit of samurais, by assuming the identity of a young boy named Seizabur Kamiya. Sei risks her life to avenge those who killed her father and brother. She meets fellow samurai Okita while she is in her training. These series have won the hearts of fans not just for their historical approach but also for their compelling characters and blend of romance and adventure. This series has received praise because it exemplifies several elements that pull readers into the world of samurai manga. You’ll keep returning to Kaze Hikaru because of the well-developed, likable characters and the compelling historical storyline.
2. Ooku (Fumi Yoshinaga, 2004-2020)
Your mind will work overtime reading Oku, a unique reverse history shoujo manga by Fumi Yoshinaga.
A mysterious plaque terrorizes an alternate version of Edo, Japan. Surprisingly, just one in five males survive the illness, while women are immune to the disease. Japan’s social structure underwent a significant transformation 80 years after the pandemic. Today, women serve as war generals, the Shogun, and so on. Ooku gives a unique spin on the samurai and harem genres. Fumi Yoshinaga received a lot of praise and awards for her work.
The special award at The Japanese Association of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy’s 5th annual Sense of Gender awards in 2005 is perhaps the most noteworthy strength of the series.
3. Shigurui (Takayuki Yamaguchi, 2003-2010)
Yamaguchi, the author, did a fantastic job of capturing the cruelty of what it meant to be a samurai. Shigurui is for you if you want to see samurai battles without restrictions.
The story takes place in the 1600s, during the brutal rule of Tadanaga Tokugawa (Japanese feudal lord). This daimyo organized a martial arts contest in the area and ordered fighters to use real functional katana swords rather than wooden ones. Seigen Irako, a blind swordsman, and Gennosuke Fujiki, a one-armed swordsman, fought the tournament’s opening fight. These two people have a great deal of animosity for one another, and they would even consider fighting to the death as their last wish. The series also included captivating fight scenes, contributing to the manga’s success.
4. House of Five Leaves (Natsume Ono, 2004-2010)
Another manga series from the Edo Era is Natsume Ono’s House of Five Leaves. Natsume Ono, a manga artist who works in various genres, is a versatile talent in the field of manga. She has demonstrated an aptitude for producing deeply emotional work via the numerous series she has worked on.
The story features a mystery and an overarching message of forgiveness. The story involves the journey of Masanosuke Akitsu, who accepts a job from an evil gang leader named Yaichi. In the end, Akitsu becomes the gang boss’ bodyguard and is given orders to find and kill Yaichi’s former employee. Samurai Akitsu starts to question the motives of the new gang he’s joined and feels terrible about what he did, but with time, he begins to feel like he has found something in them- a family. Ono’s storytelling shines in the House of Five Leaves. It leaves behind an uplifting message to its readers.
5. Blade of the Immortal (Hiroaki Samura, 1993-2012)
This manga is set in the middle of the Tokugawa Shogunate period and portrays the tale of Manji, an eternal warrior. The narrative of Manji, a swordsman famous for slaying “100 innocent men”, is told in Blade of the Immortal. When he is ultimately on the verge of dying, a 100-year-old nun injects him with blood worms, which can cure any wound. The warrior is given the mission of slaying 1,000 evil men to lift the curse of immortality. This chic revenge story encourages some spectacular action scenes that are all accurately renowned for the era. This manga was placed on the list because of its engaging plot and stunning illustrations.
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