Asirpa and Sugimoto are faced with a shocking truth—Noppera-bo, the criminal mastermind behind the stolen gold hoard…is Asirpa’s father! To confirm this they decide to go to the impregnable Abashiri prison to attempt to meet him. Along the way they find more clues to the location of the gold, and make a stop in a hellish hotel. Meanwhile, Toshizo Hijikata lays down his own brand of justice in a lawless town...
A gold rush, a young indigenous girl, an ex-soldier: no, it's not the Old West, but rather Hokkaido, Japan, in the early 1900s. Saichi Sugimoto, known for his invincible status on the battlefield, is now one of the myriad penniless, misbegotten Russo-Japan war vets. One day in the backwoods of Hokkaido he finds an old miner who tells him a campfire tale about gold stolen from the Ainu, the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido. Once the tale is proven true, it sets Saichi on a quest to find the gold with the help of a local Ainu girl, Asirpa. This story has everything its genre requires: competing forces, rascally escaped convicts, attacking bears, and a hero forced to realize that he's a better man than he thought. It also integrates respectful, in-depth research into the Ainu; this volume alone has a textbook's worth of informative about them and the island's history. The book is gory and definitely for adults. The pristine artwork, background detail, and catchy characters leave readers wanting more.