This is only the second one shot that i am reading after , and i have to say how surprised i was at the quality; as an otaku i have always been skeptical about the purpose of one shots, specifically there quality in the light of their briefness. After all what are the chances that anyone can tell a worthwhile story in a scant 64 pages; but maybe that is the mark of a truly gifted mangaka.
Souten no Koumori comes from Arakawa Hiromu, famed creator of Fullmetal Alchemist.
A young boy stumbles upon the fallen wounded figure of a young girl no older than he is, using his authority to have her taken back to his castle and nursed back to health. Upon regaining her mental facilities Hempukumaru is unnerved to find herself within the clutches of the master of Chiyozuru castle, basically enemy territory.
This is my first time reading anything from Arakawa and this manga was an admittedly good read. I could recognize some of the art style i had witnessed in the full metal alchemist anime, which made the experience of reading this one shot that much more pleasant.
The story follows a deadly Kunoichi that finds herself trapped in what she believes to be is the territory of the enemy. However what she encounters within changes her stance on the nature of the war she has been fighting, the enemy she had hounded after for as long as she could remember, and brings to the surface memories of a bloody and violent past, one that she struggles to qualify with the peace she comes to known in Chiyozuru castle.
Told in 64 pagesyou shouldn't expect anything profoundly complex or deep within the story, and even the characters receive rather brief development-understandable in 64 pages- yet that doesn't take away from Arakawa's ability to bring across her message of redemption and forgiveness, using her scant time to bring the relationship between Hempukumaru and her new master to life with surprising depth.
Sufficing to say there is tragedy in the story compounded by the truth about Hempukumaru's past deeds, yet that only makes the finale and eventual fates of the Chiyozuru castle's heir and Hempukumaru that much more satisfying.
The art is pretty impressive in this one shot, with Arakawa keeping the detail to a minimum with regards to fully representing the world as it was during this era, yet cranking up her skills when it comes to the actions scenes, jarring, fluid and lively.
RATING: 5/5, great one shot, the kind i would have been willing to follow as an entire series.This is a great ninja story.
HIGHLIGHTS: The final scene between Hempukuru and her former master/teacher.