Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: Dark Horse Manhwa
Author: Park Joong-Ki
Genre: Graphic Novel (Manhwa)
MSRP: $12.95 US
Release Date: Available Now
The Shaman make a last stand.
Much like one of my favorite manga series, Dragon Ball Z, I came late to the Shaman Warrior manhwa by Park Joong-Ki. Having picked up Volume 7 of the series, I managed to track down the first six volumes and now I am hooked. The bad news is that the series ends with Volume 9 but, if you were following this series from the beginning then you know it has been a wild, action-packed ride while it lasted. Volume 8 of Shaman Warrior reaches a stunning conclusion as the story is coming to a most interesting end.
The Shaman Warriors had once been the protectors and servants of the kingdom of Kugai when the very same kingdom made the existence of these warriors illegal. Outlawed and no longer bound by their kingdom, the warriors fled but only one of them, a young girl named Yaki, harbors hatred for the death of her father by the hands of a Death Lord as well as the General that ordered her father to die. We followed Yaki as she has become a skilled fighter as well as a cold-blooded assassin.
In Volume 8 of Shaman Warrior, Yaki and the few allies she has left are confronted by the brother of Master Gogu who sees them as the responsible party for said Master’s death. In the desert town of Maruchette, he goes up against Yaki in a fight that is quickly stopped by Master Gogu’s daughter, Bokara. It is Bokara who has now inherited her father’s land as well as agreed to accept the Shaman Warriors of Kugai and not hate them.
Unfortunately, Sakai isn’t going to let his niece ruin his plans to reclaim his deceased brother’s land for him alone. It’s clear from the company of assassins that Sakai keeps, which also includes assassin Yoku, that the man is willing to do what is necessary to claim the land. He decides to enter Maruchette and murder Bokara. Meanwhile, in the outskirts of the dusty wasteland, skilled bounty and assassins begin their battle against the remaining Shaman Warriors in the vicinity. Batu is attacked by two of them in a vicious blood-spurting skirmish.
As Sakai enters his brother’s land, the killing begins but with Yaki still hanging about she confronts Sakai and his band of killers in a fight to protect Bokara. At last we witness Yaki take on Sakai in a close-quarters combat setting as the remaining assassins fight against the Shaman Warrior who has promised to stay by Bokara’s side seeing as she made the decision to stay in Maruchette.
Things get interesting when two familiar bounty hunters are spotted by Genji’s seemingly dim-witted by hilarious friend. Genji recognizes the descriptions of the two bounty hunters, one of which is a white-haired woman with a scar that Genji herself had inflicted with her whip. When they do show up, the female warrior takes on the dangerous pair with nothing more than her whip, a few explosives and her skills. Believe me when I say that Genji’s fight against the bounty hunters is one of the more exciting, action-packed and intense moments that outshines the earlier fights in this volume.
It’s good to see that after eight volumes the series manages to keep up the same action-packed momentum and having watched Yaki evolve to the woman she is now is proof that Park Joong-Ki not only knows how to tell a story but also develop the characters enough that you’ll actually care about them. On top of that there’s the gorgeous art that makes the fights look absolutely stunning.
Volume 8 of Shaman Warrior is yet another outstanding volume in a series that just raises the bar in terms of storytelling and action sequences. If there’s anything disappointing about this series it’s that it is going to end with Volume 9. Yes, it’s that good that you’ll wish the story kept going and that is the sign that we have a manga worth every dollar. If you haven’t checked out this series you should definitely do that right away.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With the death of Master Gogu comes a flood of violence by Sakai who sees this as an opportunity to claim his dead brother’s assets from his niece. Yet Yaki and her Shaman Warrior companions stand against the hired muscle as the warriors go up against the most dangerous foes hunting them down.
Joong-Ki’s art is exquisite and has progressively gotten better and better with each volume. He also knows how to make action sequences look spectacular.
With the series coming to an end with Volume 9, this eighth volume of Shaman Warrior is utter manga gold as the story takes an interesting turn that will surely lead to an epic climax. As the Shaman Warriors of Kugai face off against those who have been hunting them down, Yaki’s fate is becoming clear to her as the end is near.