Review – 365 Samurai and a Few Bowls of Rice

Publisher/s: Dark Horse Comics

Genre: Action

Author/s: J.P. Kalonji

Artist/s: J.P. Kalonji

Format: Graphic Novel

Vintage: 2009

The Plot: After Ningen leaves his dojo and discovers that his master has been murdered he makes a vow to defeat three-hundred-and-sixty-five samurai so that he may come face to face with his master’s killer.

The Good? This graphic novel is an extremely fast-paced read as there is very little in the way of dialogue and as a result your eyes blaze through the pages from panel-to-panel.  This fast-paced design gives the story an almost animated feel to it as you literally only spend a few seconds reading per page.  If I’m not mistaken this is the first English entry from the Swedish author/artist J.P. Kalonji and it’s very clear that he has been heavily influenced by Asian cinema and manga.  What would a tale of revenge be without a decent amount of carnage? – 365 Samurai thankfully has bucket-loads of the red stuff as Ningen cuts, stabs and bludgeons his way through all who oppose him.  Throughout his arduous journey, the seasons change and with it different challenges and encounters (friend and foe alike) are presented to him.  The entire story is basically a metaphor of the cycle of life and 365 Samurai will have you hooked from beginning to end.

The Bad? While I’m sure a lot of work and effort was put into this graphic novel, I found J.P. Kalonji’s artwork to be underwhelming and due to its rushed art-style oftentimes it can be a bit difficult to see what’s going on.  Apart from the aforementioned, no other complaints come to mind.

To Conclude: 365 Samurai and a Few Bowls of Rice is an enjoyable read and one that I stumbled upon completely by accident.  If you’re looking for a fast-paced action epic, you can’t go wrong with this one, just don’t expect Alex Ross levels of artwork, then again maybe that’s because 365 Samurai is 392 pages long.

Grade: B

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