EL本棚紹介(33) Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1, by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima

[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]


Do you like Tokugawa history? Do you like crazy violence? Do you like…little babies? If so, you may be interested in Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼). It is the story of Ōgami Ittō, the former executioner or the Shogun, now an assassin, and his three-year-old son. He is an unbeatable warrior who will not stop until his enemies have all fallen.

Don’t be scared by the size of the book (over 700 pages!). Each story/chapter can be read alone as a short story. In fact, the first half of the book has very little story at all—just lots of fighting and killing. The second half introduces more backstory and Buddhist ideas. This book may be a good example of “culturally-familiar learning materials,” too. There are lots of Japanese names and words in this book, which can help you remember the story and read more easily.

My two cents: This manga looks and feels like Gogol 13: the hero is a super masculine, unfeeling killer. I didn’t personally enjoy reading a lot of this, but it was an interesting time capsule of when it was written in the 1990s.