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The Yamada Asaemon executioners and their criminal charges have forged an uneasy alliance, banding together to find a way off the island. Lurking in the shadows are the supernatural forces of Lord Tensen and a new enemy—another wave of samurai and ninja sent to the island by the shogun with orders to leave no one alive!
Kaku transforms the clich d ninja hero trope into an unexpected psychological thriller in this genre-blending manga. Ninja Gabimaru the Hollow, nicknamed for his r sum of emotionless assassinations, awaits death, sentenced by a double-crossing chief. Though resolved to his fate ("Any parting words?" "Nah."), Gabimaru proves impossible to kill, despite several gruesome methods attempted. His ninjutsu training kicks in subconsciously, fueled by a deep-seated instinct to survive and return to his wife. Offered the chance to have his crimes pardoned, Gabimaru agrees to leave on an expedition with a group of death row criminals and master decapitator, Yamada Asaemon Sagiri, who is charged with keeping Gabimaru in line to find the elixir of life on a legendary island of paradise. But paradise comes with a price: those who set foot on the island never return and their decaying corpses morph into thousands of delicately blooming flowers. Using densely hatched lines and manga's typical lack of color to his advantage with copious shading, Kaku blends horror and shonen (teen male-oriented) genres. His detailed illustrations, reminiscent of Junji Ito's horror manga, imbue the tale with an unsettling, gruesome charm. This mysterious first volume, and its intricate artwork, launches the series with promise.