Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Volume 1: Recap and Review

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru's volume 1 Japaneses cover
Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru’s volume 1 Japaneses cover

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru is the next series after his Naruto series and it’s sequel Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Kishimoto is responsible for the script, panel layout, word balloon placement, and rough draft of storyboards. He then passes all this to Akira Okubo, who then finalizes the art. Okubo worked on Naruto as an assistant starting with the 16th volume. Samurai 8 focuses on a galaxy that is heading towards its end. The only hope for saving it is to find Pandora’s Box. Within this box is the secret to saving the universe. However, the warrior god, Fudo Myo-o has made it so the box can only be opened with the Seven Keys.

Who is our main protagonists Hachimaru?

A sickly boy, Hachimaru dreams of becoming a samurai and exploring the galaxy. However, he is tethered to a life-supporting device created by his father, Furuta. He spends most of his days playing an online VR game while bickering with his father. Hayataro, Hachimaru’s pet dog with a cat AI, brings him Daruma. A blind robot cat, Daruma is known as the “wandering lone wolf.” A samurai trained in the ways of Kong-Yasha Style, he’s famous around the galaxy. Meanwhile, Furuta attempts to get parts for another machine to help Hachimaru. He tries to work with a ronin. However, the ronin notices that Furuta has the Samurai Soul of a legendary samurai around his neck.

What are samurai’s and how are they made?

In the Samurai 8 series, samurai are cyborg warriors. To become a samurai, one must commit seppuku with a small blade found in a Locker Ball. It’s possible that by doing this one’s body becomes a Key. A spinal shaped memory unit becomes the base of a new cybernetic samurai body. Each samurai’s cybernetic body can regenerate, allowing them to reattach limbs or regrow them altogether. When the ronin arrives at Furuta’s home to retrieve the Samurai Soul, Hachimaru commits seppuku. He becomes the samurai he’s dreamed of and defeats the ronin.

Is Samurai 8 any good?

It’s too early in the series to make any determination regarding this series quality. I like this series so far. The combination of sci-fi and samurai lore is interesting. I loved the designs of the samurai armor and the world by Akira Okubo. It’s only the first volume and if Bleach taught me anything it not just how you start but how you end. The character Nanashi being introduced as a part of Hachimaru’s team, only to be abandoned seems strange. The series pacing in the first 6 chapters is inconstant and I have to know the idea of how the power system functions. We only get a glimpse of the Princess that will join Hachimaru. Regardless, while many aspects of the story aren’t fleshed out yet I’m excited for what this series could bring.

Ajin: Demi-human Manga Volume 1: Recap and Review

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 18: Recap and Review

Use As Planned

The samurai Kotsuga and Ryu face off against Daruma. Ryu’s forgetfulness, results in him misunderstanding Kotsuga’s command of kill “everyone but the girl.” The ronin bandits are well weird. Sometimes stupidity can work as a form of comedy, but I’m not sure about Ryu and Kotsuga. Although, I did feel that there some potential for comedy here. Regardless, Ryu and Daruma battle. Ryu stop’s before asking Daruma if he’s a boy cat or a girl. Daruma responds neither, he’s a man. As they clash, Ryu takes out a second soul. He’s able to use his bone hilt from both sides. With the entire ship being Daruma’s key holder, he has control over it. He manages to capture Kotsuga. However, Ryu cuts him free and escapes into space.

Daruma follows, while being told that Hachimaru spent 17 million yen. Ryu lands a blow on Daruma, but fails to do much damaged. He knocks them away with a burst of power. He asks Hachimaru why he spent all that money on “gold thread embroidered fabric.” It was a gift for Ann, to replace her sash she tore to help his father. Now bankrupted, Ryu and Kotsuga suggest that they participate in a in a fighting festival. The winner gets a billion yen. The organizer is apparently a samurai that has one of the keys they need. Hachimaru wants to fight in the festival too. Most shonen manga series have a tournament arc, although they rarely occur this early.

The fact that this samurai can split a planet in half is presented as impressive, but at this point in the series which samurai can’t split a planet in half. The chapter is a little too convenient. Sure instead of being robbed, it’s Hachimaru’s irresponsible spending that bankrupts them. However, Kotsuga and Ryu knowing of a tournament that’s happening at the very moment, with a cash prize to recover the loses and a samurai with a key is a bit too much. I feel it should have been more subtle. Hopefully, we will get to see more fighting styles and get more in-depth information on the series power system. Finally, Ryu and Kotsuga seem to dynamic to disappear now, I think they will join the team.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 16: Recap and Review

Shattered Star

The civilians panic as the satellite falls down. All samurai are ordered to “proceed to the planetary orbit.” They destroy many of the smaller pieces of the satellite, but it has splintered into too many. As the debris crashes into the planet, Daruma warns Ann and Hachimaru that if the satellite crashes into the planet the “whole planet is finished.” They have to fly out as well. As Lord Daruma and his Keyholder head out of orbit, the other samurai are told to step back or risk becoming “collateral damage.” Daruma asks Ann to “share her power with Hachimaru.” A princess’s prayer apparently increases the power of a samurai. Ann begins to pray.

Hachimaru and Daruma extract their keys, Daruma tells Hachimaru that he needs to repeat his movements. He doesn’t have time to teach Hachimaru how to do it properly, but Daruma uses Vajrayaksa Style Atmospheric Blade. It’s one of his most powerful techniques, but in his cat body he lacks the necessary power. This is why he needs the help of Ann and Hachimaru. With the body of a samurai, Hayatarou’s bone hilt and a divine blessing from Princess Ann, Hachimaru has achieve the “Trinity.” As the Samurai hope for their success, the other Princesses are concerned for Ann’s safety. Meanwhile, Nanashi watches with the other trainees. Hachimaru and Daruma create a powerful attack, obliterating the satellite. The civilians rejoice as they’re saved. Hachimaru’s body becomes emaciated after the attack.

However, Daruma tells him he’ll return to normal after some rest. With the trio already in outer space, Daruma tells them they’re just going to start their search for the other six keys. They head off beginning the next adventure. I’m surprised that Nanashi was left behind. While I’m sure they will continue to get stronger and meet with Hachimaru later, I though they would become part of the team. The series still remains inconsistent, moving too fast in my opinion. That said I just have to adjust my expectations. I still enjoy the series and hope that they slow down now that the introduction arc is over.

Samurai 8 Chapter 14 – Recap and Review

Father’s Secret

Hachimaru is introduced to his “brothers.” The oldest, Ikkaku explains that they are children created by “the professor,” Hachimaru’s father. Ikkaku describes Hachimaru’s existence as “entirely accidental.” He tells Hachimaru that they were created to open a box that require seven keys to open seven locks. Hachimaru the “eighth child” destroys this “balance.” This “diminishes the power of the other seven.” Hachimaru must “return” this energy, meaning that he must die. Ikkaku is cold. He suggest that it’s only reasonable for Hachimaru to understand that he must die and that he just a “leech.”

Daruma asks if they’re trying to open Pandora’s box, Ata responds that they are going to open Mandala’s box. Their goal is to become Gods and rule the universe. They will “erase” the Vajrayaksa people, the three other schools, eliminate all life and restart. Ata disappears. Meanwhile, Hachimaru’s father begins to die. He has accepted his end, but Hachimaru isn’t prepared yet. He reveals that he was suppose to kill Hachimaru, but decided to flee with him. He apologizes, encourages Hachimaru to get strong to protect Ann and tells him that he’s truly “a samurai who protects people.”

Hachimaru’s fathers death was sad, but is it really a major death? He doesn’t even have a real name, which is evidence that the author knows he’s not long for this world. It was always going to be necessary for Hachimaru to leave his father behind if he was going to save the Galaxy. I’ve been struggling with the pace of the series since it started. Wouldn’t the “you are one of eight clones and need to die” come later in the series? Is this really a problem? For the record I don’t hate that they revealed this so early, but it seems like something that might occur later. Regardless, the are a million ways to tell a story and I still like reading this one.

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Samurai 8 #13 – Seeing Courage

Ata states that Hachimaru has “potential,” but lacks “strength and ability.” Hachimaru calls Hayatarou to help. They create a second arm to strike Ata, who is impressed by the communication between Hachimaru and Hayatarou. Ata says that Hachimaru “wasn’t suppose to exists.” Regardless, Ata tries to finish Hachimaru off. Master Daruma finally returns. Daruma acknowledges that Hachimaru “has courage.” Daruma attacks Ata with Vajrayaksa Style Dog Paddle, then Vajrayaksa Atmospheric Blade.

This results in a devastating attack that appears to defeat Ata. While Hachimaru’s father is stable, he’s likely to die. It turns out that Ata wasn’t actually present, he sent a replica of himself. I don’t know how I feel about that. It feels like a cop out. As my usual complaints about this series, is the fighting system. The final attack by Daruma was impressive, but how did he do it. He was wet afterward, is it a water based attack, does it matter? The final surprise is that Hachimaru has “brothers.” That has really pique my interest regarding the series.


My Hero Academia #238 – Liberation

Tomura Shigaraki decides that he no longer needs the hands of his family. This symbolizes his growth as a character. He has accepted that he killed his family and the fact that he wanted their death. Re-Destro tries to end his conflict with Tomura by using 100 % of his “Stress” ability. However, Tomura easily disintegrates Re-Destro’s ability. In doing so he almost destroys Deika City. Desperate, Re-Destro summons his “support item” to increase his quirk ability. Now his power is increase to 150%, but Tomura doesn’t seem to care. Compress and Daruma get into a conflict over how the organization functions.

Gigantomachia destroys the city, as Geten heads towards Re-Destro. When Gigantomachia finally reaches Tomura, he stops as he witnesses Tomura embracing evil. Tomura releases a his power creating a devastating attack. The Meta Liberation Army is likely to lose to the League of Villains at this point. They have served their purpose, by having other villains to fight and kill is different from killing heroes. The MLA are new characters that we don’t have any attachment to. If anything we are attached to the League. Tomura is becoming a truly powerful villain, I wonder how Midoriya will respond.


One Piece #951 – Rampage

One Piece is transitioning or I should say building up to the fight between the Strawhat, allies and Kiado’s crew. The Flower capital is on lockdown, as the alliance become wanted criminals. Shinobu and Sanji discuss the situation on a nearby rooftop. Nami comes into contact with Law’s crewmates, Bepo, Shachi and Penguin. It’s revealed that they were freed in exchanged for Law. He makes it clear to them that they’re not to tell Luffy that he’s been captured. Kanjuro intents to give Yasuie a proper burial, while, Ashura Doji show Kin’emon and Inuarashi the ships that they can use. Finally, on Onigashima, the Beast Pirates rush to make sweets for Big Mom. King is criticized for failing to kill Big Mom at the waterfall.

She asks King to join her crew, as he’s one of three races she doesn’t yet have. He quickly refuses. Big Mom demands that her cuff be removed. Kiado arrives and tells them to unchain her. She uses Napoleon, as she and Kiado clash. Like the previous conflict between Yonko, they spite the sky. I won’t be getting my hopes for Big Mom vs Kiado, as it will most likely happen off screen. However, the effects of the battle could handicap Kiado for any battle with Luffy. There seems to be too much going on for the battle that’s suppose to take place in a few days. This leads me to assume that many characters probably won’t participate, like Usopp or Nami. Instead they will do smaller things like freeing Law from prison.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 11: Recap and Review

Chapter 11, Are you mocking me

Ata demands that Hachimaru’s father “give him Hachikaku.” Hachikaku apparently became a samurai allowing him to be detected by Princess Niri. Hachimaru’s father decides that he needs to sacrifice himself to save Hachimaru. Daruma reveals that Ata was once his best student at the vajrayaksa school. Ata seems to maintain his reverence for his former master. He takes the “soul” that he claims belonged to the “Ucchusuma school.” Ata criticizes Hachimaru for his lack of respect for Daruma. Ata notices that Hachimaru resembles the other “seven.”

Ata says that Hachimaru is the “key” that unlocks the galaxy, bring it to it’s original state. Daruma is paralyses from the attack he sustained from Ata. “You do not have courage,” Ata states. He’s able to see through the thin bravado that Hachimaru possesses. Hachimaru’s father, Ann, Hayataro and Hagamichi step in to protect the Hachimaru. Ata easily defeats Hagamichi and announces that “samurai are not immortal.” He says that “once the God of War abandons us, it’s over.” The God of War has been invoked several times in this series.

I wonder if this “god” is real or theoretical. Anyway, Hachimaru’s father proclaims that he will “defeat Ata.” Ata attacks Hachimaru’s father for ruining the “plan,” but is absorbed with a device that is found in his stomach. The use of this device is suppose to cause both Ata and Hachimaru their lives. However, Ata is still alive, but more than half his body is gone, leaving him with his upper torso and a arm. While I’m still waiting to see what a full length battle is like, but this chapter was pretty good. It seems that Hachimaru’s father will die finally giving Hachimaru some adversity, while learning some humility. It will come at a cost but is necessary for him to succeed.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 10: Recap and Review

Chapter 10, Target Captured US

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.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 8 & 9: Recap and Review

Chapter 8: Slow and Steady

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.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 7: Recap & Review

Chapter 7, The Meeting

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.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Chapter 4 – 6: Recap & Review

Chapter 4, Fighting with dad

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.