Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru Volume 1 Review

Release Date
March 4, 2020
Published By:
Viz Media
Story By:
Masashi Kishimoto
Art By:
Akira Okubo

The long-awaited successor series to Naruto is here. Fans of that series will be happy to know that Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto, Boruto) has returned with an all-new epic called Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru. From living in a world dominated by Ninjas, Samurai 8 envelopes us in a universe of samurais. Not only are they samurai, but Masashi san also takes the concept of those warriors and goes beyond our imaginations. We are talking about cyborg samurais with cyborg animal companions wandering an entire galaxy. A significant difference Masashi san is doing in Samurai 8, is that he is not illustrating it. Instead, newcomer Akira Okubo is taking the helm. Okubo san has worked as a staff member on Naruto and even has illustrated a few panels. As far as being the lead illustrator, this is his major debut. 

The bubbly art style of Samurai 8 is refreshing and beckons to some of the older Dragon Ball Z art that I remember from my childhood. The characters seem to flow and blend in with the background at times, making it look like there are just panels of the landscape. If you pause for just a moment and relish every corner of the pages, it rewards you with understanding the accurate scale of the world and the grandeur of this tale. Reading this first Volume of Samurai 8, you can clearly see Okubo san embodying the art style of Kishimoto. This new partnership definitely aims to impress with the enormous amount of detail given to the world of Bushi and samurai. With an entire galaxy to explore, it is exciting to see what adventures Hachimaru will experience. Samurai 8 volume 1 consists of 6 total chapters, the first of which is traditionally the longest. The first chapter takes the time to introduce the story’s titular character along with the small corner of the galaxy in which he lives.

So what is Samurai 8? Well, we learn from the beginning that samurais are protectors of the galaxy. There is also an item known as Pandora’s box, which can only open up with seven keys. The contents of said box is said to contain the means by which the great Warrior Fudo Myo-o was able to protect the galaxy. The implication of such power has, of course, made samurai all over the universe seek out these keys to fulfill their Noble Calling. Enter Hachimaru, a sickly young boy, unable to leave his home on account of being attached to a life support system. His dream has always wanting to become a samurai. Hachimaru spends his days admiring his model katana collection and playing samurai video games (of which he is the number one player). One day, a cat claiming to be a samurai falls out of the sky and changes the confined young man’ forever. Despite his fear of sharp objects and his dislike of pain, Hachimaru becomes worthy of the title of samurai after acting selflessly. It is this transformation that propels our once skinny boy into a full-fledged cyborg samurai. This series also gives us a possible rival (the number two samurai video game player) and opens the door to an intriguing mystery; who is Hachimaru?

The answer to that might lie in this first volume but yet another interesting plot reveals itself in the tonkobon’s final chapters. The planet Hachimaru is currently on, as well as the surrounding systems, are under threat of obliteration by an unknown entity. Our protagonist is, of course, oblivious to this revelation that the readers discover. Before he can even think about protecting an entire world, he must find meaning within himself and learn what it truly means to be a samurai. 

There is so much left to explore, and I grow ever envious of Japan’s simultaneous release of the first two volumes. Luckily, Viz Media translates the chapters weekly if waiting one month at a time for a volume is too long. You can’t beat having a manga in your hand. Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru Volume 1 is one you want in your collection. Go check out Kishimoto’s newest series today! As Hachimaru would say, “you never know how sharp a blade is unless you unsheath it.”

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru Volume 1 Review
Hachimaru has always wished upon a star to become a Samurai. After meeting a legendary warrior, his wish comes to true and embarks on an epic journey across the galaxy!
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