Hachimaru regrets lying to An about his childhood. Ata destroys Muun. He arrives a the Planet’s Samurai guard. He is told that he’s violating the laws of “this Galaxy’s Ball Federation of Planets.” Lord Mujin decides to fight. He transforms into a “garuda” like being. Daruma senses the “strong aura.” Lord Mujin is suppose to be on par with the “federation’s generals.” Apparently they’re not strong enough to beat Ata, because he destroys Mujin and the Planet’s Samurai guard.
Hachimaru’s father locates him with a tracker. Meanwhile, Ata arrives a locates his target, the sword Hachikaku. Hachimaru returns with An and the locker ball. Hachimaru father finds them and scolds them for “kidnapping” him. Daruma sense Ata arriving and they clash. He calls Hachimaru father “Professor Furuta,” and asks where’s Hachikaku. I was disappointed that the fighting was more in-depth. So far we haven’t seen what a full blown samurai battle is like.
Also, power scale is difficult to discern in this series. They are already at planetary destructive scale. Obviously, Hachimaru is at the beginning and Daruma is a master. However, what separates the “masters” is completely unclear. I don’t know if this is going to be an on going problem but it’s a current one. Also, the stakes are really high early or at least it seems to. It’s hard to tell if this series is too fast or too slow in the narration. The pacing is a problem with this series so far. Hopefully, Daruma vs Ata will display the full fight that I’m craving.
Princess Niri and Samurai Ata begin their search for the 8th child, Hachimaru. Meanwhile, Hachimaru and An finally meet. Hachimaru predictably makes a fool of himself and wishes to skip the hard work necessary to get stronger. An introduces herself to Daruma. He explains that the “A” in her name means “the first word,” and “N” in her name means “the last word.” An is a sweet girl with (if I’m reading the translation right) has a stutter. Hagamichi asks to take Hachimaru assuming that Daruma isn’t fit to teach. Daruma asks him to “show him his mind’s eye.” Princess Un approves of An receiving training under Daruma’s watch.
Chapter 9: Just the two of us
Hachimaru continues to master his swordplay. Meanwhile, An tries to search for locker balls. So far the value of these balls did seem clear to me but it’s clear that they matter. Princess have a “sixth sense,” that allows them to detect the locker ball. Only a princess can do it so it’s their duty. This makes them incredible valuable and samurai from other planets try to kidnap them. Locker balls make samurai, and samurai are the planets military force. The better the princesses are the more locker balls they find, the stronger the military force and the better they can protect the world. This is why samurai protect the princesses. The explanation of this “ecosystem,” really puts the world in perspective.
An and Hachimaru begin to bond as they go to find the locker ball. Ata arrives on the satellite called “Muun.” He tells “Hachikaku” to “wait.” Hachikaku is clearly the name of Hachimaru’s father. My prediction is that we get an epic fight that will reveal what the highest level of samurai ability is, but Hachikaku will die. This will inject some seriousness into Hachimaru, prompting him to work hard. The pacing of this series is much better and now that the world is explained more everything just makes since.
Daruma tell Hachimaru that a “samurai and a princess are fated to create courage together.” Hachimaru asks what he means by “fated.” Daruma says that something that is “destined to happen whether you do anything or not.” Hachimaru claims that he doesn’t believe in fate. Meanwhile, Princess Woon has a meeting with Hagamichi. He asks the Princess to find Hachimaru. Princess Sa lets them know that Hachimaru is a novice that isn’t a threat to them.
Hachimaru actually became a samurai via Ann’s locker ball. Princess Ann is asked to find Hachimaru by Hagamichi. Meanwhile, Hachimaru continues to train with his blade. He manages to point the sword into his own head. Of course he’s not harmed. Hagamichi arrives and Ann meets Hachimaru for the first time. Finally, we get to see one major potential villain. There isn’t a whole lot in this chapter. Hachimaru continues to be impatient, but in typical manga fashion it seems likely that he would “master” abilities that he didn’t learn.
I still feel that the fighting mechanics in this series hasn’t really been explained in depth. Also, what the hell does a Princess really do? I know that this will get explained further but so far they only seem to do traditionally female roles. Making Ikebana, and generally being passive aids to samurai. Also they seem to largely sit around being protected all day. All that said, Hachimaru seems primed to violate the rules so maybe Ann will do so as well. The next chapter will be interesting once we get to see more of the villain.
Hachimaru and Hayatarou enjoying flying among the clouds. Daruma interrogates Hachimaru’s father. He officially introduces himself as a master of the vajrayaksa style of fighting. Hachimaru’s father is surprised that Daruma is the legendary samurai that made a wolf into his holder, killing a thousand people. Daruma tells Hachimaru’s father that “if he does nothing the planetary belt would be destroyed.” In order to stop this he needs a to open a box with a special samurai key.
He’s been search for the box and the seven keys for 50 years. Hachimaru is one of these keys. Hachimaru’s father refuses to allow Hachimaru to leave with Daruma. He continues to be over protective towards Hachimaru. Daruma asks Hachimaru “what his favorite number is?” He responds “8.” Daruma uses vajrayaksa style silent cut, that allows you to set time between when you “cut something and when that thing is cut.” Daruma states that if Hachimaru steps over the cut he created that would mean that he cannot live with his father any longer.
Chapter 5, Heading Out
Daruma arrives at a tree where he senses the “horse samurai’s aura.” Meanwhile, Hachimaru is excited to begin training. Daruma reveals a swords bone-hilt in the horse. He concludes that Hachimaru’s father knows a lot about “samurai.” The horse samurai is a “key holder.” Key holders holds everything a samurai owns. Daruma states that a holder is “a samurai,” a weapon, armor, shield, transport and a symbol. They arrive to a hideout with two massive statues in front. Both statues attack. Hachimaru attempts to fight them but fails to make a dent.
Daruma intervenes using the Vajrayaksa Sword Stroke. Daruma uses a samurai’s soul to create a sword. He slices the statue in half. The second one fires missiles at Hayatarou and Hachimaru. Daruma shows Hachimaru that samurai are able to use weapons other than swords. He manifests guns. When a missile fly’s towards Daruma he transforms into a shield. He finishes the remaining statue with Vajrayaksa Eye of the Sword. Daruma explains that Hayatarou is a “simple holder,” and Hayatarou gives Hachimaru a bone-hilt meaning that it becomes a key holder.
Chapter 6, O Fateful Samurai
Daruma aims to find the “fighting the samurai style” of Hachimaru. Daruma teaches Hachimaru the samurai code beginning with the trinity. He says that a samurai on it’s own isn’t very strong on his own. He says that a samurai can only “realize” their true strength if there’s a samurai, key holder and a princess. Giving away a bolt-hilt means that the key holder regards the wielder as it’s master. The true sword of a samurai will manifest from the combination of a bone-hilt and a samurai soul.
As Daruma lectures Hachimaru on the values a samurai needs, we get to see the Princess Sa. She senses that a new samurai (Hachimaru) has been born through the crystal of a lost samurai. Meanwhile, we see another princess that’s clearly going to become the “fated princess” for Hachimaru. Anyway, the princesses are the only ones that can sense “locker balls” in the ground. As a result princesses can “manufacture the forces needed to protect the planet.” Daruma states that “there will always be a single samurai meant for the princess.” Together, they will create “courage.”
I still feel that Samurai 8 is moving too fast, but the pacing in chapter 6 was slower. I feel that they’re explaining everything all at once. I guess I’ll just have too reread the chapter, but ideally you shouldn’t have to read a chapter multiple times to get everything. Regardless, I’m loving this series so far. As the lore continues to be expanded I become more interested. That can only be a good thing.
In this chapter we learn that swords are locked by biometrics, preventing anyone from drawing out someone else’s sword. Hachimaru meets some students from the dojo. They admire him, while ignoring Nanashi. They’re attacked by the pig bandits in their cake like tank. They shoot their cannons at Hachimaru, who fails to pull out his sword. Lucky for him, Hayatarou saves him. Turns out that he took Nanashi’s sword by mistake and the biometrics prevent him from using it.
Nanashi afraid that Hachimaru will die, but terrified to intervene is frozen by fear. Nanashi’s hands, righty and lefty encourage them to save Hachimaru and be more in charge of their life. Nanashi grabs Hachimaru’s hand and uses the sword to cut the cannon in half. Lifted into the air on the back of Hayatarou, they jump down together slicing the tank in half. Nanashi and Hachimaru make plans to go into space one day.
Meanwhile, Daruma asks Hachimaru’s father about the samurai soul. He notes that due to it’s weight it mush have belonged to an “extraordinary” owner. He draw’s his sword and Hachimaru’s father doesn’t flinch. Daruma implies that there’s some secret to what Hachimaru is and who his father is. I would assume that Hachimaru’s father is some legendary samurai that abandoned the life of a warrior to try to save his son.
Whether, Hachimaru is something other than we expect remains to be seen. As for Nanashi it doesn’t seem logical that they would be part of Hachimaru’s team when he goes to space. I don’t know how long this series plans to focus on Hachimaru and his family before heading into space, but it feels like the series is moving too fast.
Hachimaru begins to experience life outside of his home for the first time. He realizes that food can “taste good,” as he enjoys takoyaki. He use to have many allergies and stomach issues, so all he had to eat was liquid food and apples. Hachimaru and Hayatarou heads for a walk. Hachimaru asks if he will finally get friends. It seems obvious that Samurai 8 like most anime/manga he will collect a number of friends along the way. At this point the world isn’t fleshed out yet, so I don’t feel much connection to it.
We are introduced to a new character, Nanashi. A recluses like Hachimaru use to be, she/he play games and lives at the Yasha-Style Dojo. Nanashi has two gaming gloves called “Left Hand-kun,” and “Right Hand-kun.” It was unclear to me if they spoke or Nanashi has a weird mental illness that results in the hands talking. It’s also unclear what Nanashi’s gender is, her/his hands debate Nanashi’s gender. One hand says that “he’s a boy,” the other says that “her soul is female.” Furthermore, Nanashi even refers to themselves as “a girl.” It seems likely that Nanashi will be a gender non conforming character, otherwise there’s no need to even bring up the question of gender. Right?
Anyway, Hachimaru falls through the roof of Nanashi. Nanashi has no idea about their pasts and has been a recluse for eight years. To get Nanashi to go outside, Hachimaru offers a wager. If he’s wins Nanashi goes outside, if he loses Nanashi can remain a shut in. Hachimaru defeats Nanashi in the game proving that Hachimaru is the highest ranked player. The significance of this game remains to be seen but it’s clear that the online game is important. Nanashi is the number 2 gamer so does the skill in the game correlate with fighting skills in the real world. We are loosely introduced to new pig-like villains, who plan on attacking Nanashi and Hachimaru.
It’s always exciting to get into a new series. Not knowing what to expect or even whether you like the series or not. Like most Naruto fans the expectation of Masashi Kishimoto next series was going to be high. Could he managed to live up to the hype? Probably not. Does he need to? I don’t think so. My first judgement of every manga series is the art. Akira Okubo didn’t disappoint. The chapter begins with a look of the galaxy, we see two characters having a conversation that at this point doesn’t make much sense yet.
Anyway, we see a battle between to samurai that ends with a clash. The concept of keys are introduced. The defeated samurai “transfers” the key. He turns into a sphere shaped thing and his spine seems to be the key. All this seems to be a game that our main protagonist, Hachimaru is playing. He’s a sickly kid that has “Trypanophobia – an extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.” He yells at his father and it’s revealed that he must be connected to a machine otherwise he won’t “last 3 minutes.” His father is planning on creating a “Portable life support system” for him. His father leaves to find more parts.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to our main villain for this chapter at least. One of his henchmen owes him money for something. Ritual suicide is apparently the price he has to pay. The henchmen refuses to do this and is called a coward and is killed for it. Back at the house of Hachimaru, his dog brings him a daruma. Hachimaru prays to it, claiming that he wants to become a “samurai.” The daruma turns out to be a cat like being. At this point it’s made clear that theirs something that separates “warriors” and “samurai.” Our main villain makes this distinction clear.
Humans are warrior, when someone becomes a samurai they become something else. The samurai are cyborgs, chosen by warrior gods. Their spines become “memory units” called “keys.” All other body parts are robotic. The locker ball is a “small star created by the warrior god Acala.” The body of a samurai can even travel in space and stores a “very special soul.” Meanwhile, Daruma formally introduces himself, revealing himself to be a blind samurai. If past knowledge of manga series is any indication, a small blind non-human swordsman means he’s a badass.
We get to see some of his skills when the villain arrives. They clash briefly, revealing that Daruma is the “lone wolf samurai” that mastered the “vajrayaksa style.” Our villain destroys Hachimaru’s pet dog Hayatarou, stabs Daruma and uses the key to open Hachimaru’s chest. To receive the code Hachimaru must die. The villain allows him to commit ritual suicide, with the promise to “let his father go.” Hachimaru admits his love for his father, then commits suicide. He “dies,” and the villain removes the samurai soul of Takatsuna giving him the crimson blade called “the vampire.”
Unsurprisingly, Hachimaru isn’t dead and he is transformed into a samurai. Daruma tells him that he has been given the power of “sanrinshin.” Hachimaru battles the enemy samurai who puts on his samurai armor on. He defeats the samurai and rescues his father. I liked this series. The combination of sci fi and samurai lore is interesting. I love the designs of the samurai armor and the world. It’s only one chapter and if Bleach taught me anything it not just how you start but how you end. Regardless, while many aspects of the story isn’t fleshed out yet I’m excited for what this series will bring.
A preview chapter for the new series, Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru (Samurai 8: Hachimaruden) will be released on Saturday, April 27th. Samurai 8 was written by manga Masashi Kishimoto, creator of Naruto. Akira Okubo a former assistant of Kishimoto will be illustrating this series.
The details on what this series is about was scarce. Kishimoto has stated that Samurai 8 is “a combination of his love for Japanese culture and science-fiction genre.” He believes that “the new manga series is more interesting than Naruto as it will also feature samurai using futuristic weapons.” The first chapter will be released in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump on May 13th. It has been reported that it will be 72 pages long.
Since Naruto ended in 2014 after 15 years, Kishimoto worked on the script and character designs for the spin off movie Boruto. Mikie Ikemoto and Ukyo Kodachi launched the Boruto manga series, which is supervised by Kishimoto. I’m hoping that Samurai 8 will do for samurai what Naruto does for ninja.