Delve Deep Into the Life of an Assassin in the Classic Manga “Lone Wolf and Cub”
The classic ‘70s manga Lone Wolf and Cub is hailed as one of the most authentic landmarks in graphic fiction that influenced a generation of storytellers in Japan. Written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by the matchless late Goseki Kojima, Lone Wolf and Cub follows a Shogunate executioner named Ogami Itto who is framed as a traitor by agents from a rival clan. Further tragedy befalls Itto when he watches his wife get brutally murdered, leaving him with a defenseless infant son whom he must protect at all odds. Itto winds up becoming a ronin, or a “masterless samurai.” With his infant son in tow, Itto travels Feudal Japan as a hired sword and gains a reputation as the “Lone Wolf.” Still, even wolves hunger for vengeance, and every step the ronin takes leads him closer and closer to the agents that betrayed him and killed his wife.
Thanks to the combination of Koike’s writing and Koijima’s stunning illustrations, its stark beauty is breathtaking. The story is a visceral one that goes beyond the usual motif of “epic action story” that is found in most media adaptions concerning samurais. Koike’s story shows the truth about life in Feudal Japan; it was definitely not pretty, and the “normal people” certainly didn’t thrive under the caste system. Although the samurais are stripped of their romantic status, this dark manga gives you a chance to sink your teeth into one of Japan’s most well-written graphic novels and see firsthand the truth about how life was really like for honor-bound warriors.