Quantity 6 of Shinobu Ohtaka’s Orient is one thing of a transitional quantity because it takes us from the Blue Demon God/Obsidian Goddess arc into the Awaji Island arc, and whereas there’s not an excessive amount of motion right here, there’s nonetheless loads it must arrange for the following huge combat.
A whole lot of this centres on new character introductions, which it will get straight into as Musashi and the gang attempt to make their approach east via a forest that feels extra like a jungle. Jungles, after all, are synonymous with flesh-eating vegetation, and that’s precisely what they arrive throughout right here, with Kojiro and Tsugumi being captured by an Octopus Pot demon. This offers Musashi the chance to not solely showcase his new sword expertise, but in addition make a reputation for himself as he rescues one other traveller who had been captured by the demon, who seems to be Michiru Saruwatari, a samurai lady across the similar age as our major trio. It seems Michiru and her wizened retainer are travelling to the port city of Harima, the place the Uesugi Alliance are gathering all their forces for an assault on the Inexperienced Demon God, Yamata no Orochi, which occupies Awaji Island.
Whereas she initially appears simply one other fairly face for Musashi and Kojiro to drool over, we do see flashes that Michiru is each educated and resourceful in her personal proper, saving herself and Musashi after a contrived tumble off a cliff with probably the most helpful demon metallic blade powers now we have seen to date. She doesn’t appear a lot of a fighter, however she has quite a lot of potential for being a utility or support-type character, so I’m trying ahead to seeing extra of her and the way she makes use of her distinctive talents within the upcoming battle, because it’s apparent even at this early stage that she’s going to be a central character on this arc.
We additionally get a chance right here to fill in a few of the gaps within the overarching plot and backstory, because it tries to maintain issues shifting alongside in what in any other case is a quiet quantity. We lastly get to listen to how every little thing began and what plunged the nation into this mess, whereas a reveal that Kojiro’s father was concerned with the Uesugi Alliance provides our major solid a agency purpose to comply with Michiru to Harima to attempt to meet the chief of the Uesugi to seek out some solutions. As soon as once more, it’s very cautious about how a lot it reveals so there’s nonetheless that hook to maintain pulling you ahead, however there’s sufficient so that you can perceive the place issues are going.
The world constructing right here remains to be the collection’ strongest side, and you actually begin to really feel the characters’ world broaden, notably as we get all this info and begin assembly totally different samurai bands. I discovered it amusing in the best way it mixes in trendy know-how as you start to see every little thing from automobiles to tanks getting used as transport that are dressed as much as attempt to make them really feel not fairly as misplaced as they need to be in a 16th Century setting, however nonetheless find yourself being hilarious to take a look at. In the meantime, we get a better really feel for the mythological and spiritual inspiration behind a few of the demons, because it chooses certainly one of Japan’s best-known monsters (and certainly one of my favourites), the eight-headed and eight-tailed Orochi, as the following one to take down.
That is one combat I’m actually trying ahead to because the monsters are one of many major areas to date the place Ohtaka’s artwork has actually excelled, and even simply seeing it as a silhouette right here makes it appear a scary creature. Let’s not overlook the background artwork both although, as we get some actually hanging panels as we’re launched to the Uesugi chief, Tatsuomi, who places a lot worth on blood ties that he prays to his ancestors in a spectacular room creepily adorned with their skeletons. Exterior pictures of Harima and the Uesugi citadel are additionally actually detailed, and you’ll actually get a way of scale in what’s the largest location within the collection to date. Character designs are additionally robust, with Tatsuomi slicing a hanging determine together with his Yakuza-style tattoos and lacking eye.
I really like the “don’t mess with me” vibe he provides off, which he utterly doubles down on when Musashi lastly bumps into him, throwing him and his pals first into jail, then recruiting them for the struggle effort towards Orochi, splitting them between totally different platoons. That is the place it seems like we’re lastly entering into the following a part of the story because it introduces all the principle gamers who won’t solely be key to the battle, however who’re additionally competing towards Musashi in a combat to be platoon chief because the story heads into Quantity 7, the place hopefully issues will begin kicking again up a notch by way of the motion.
Orient continues to be printed by Kodansha in each digital and bodily codecs. The bodily copy is effectively introduced, whereas translation is dealt with by each Nate Derr and Kevin Gifford and it reads completely effectively with no points to talk of.
Total, whereas Quantity 6 of Orient isn’t any match for the meat of the earlier quantity, it nonetheless seems like a clean transition over to the following a part of the story, introducing a swathe of latest characters in preparation for the upcoming arc, whereas filling in bits and items of the overarching plot whereas it may. With this being a long-running shonen manga it’s quite anticipated we get a lot of these volumes once in a while, and I really feel like Orient handles it fairly effectively regardless of there being not an excessive amount of happening. Whereas it’s tempting to skim via to get to the following a part of the motion, it’s nonetheless price taking the time to understand a few of the world constructing and character introductions and keep away from lacking a few of the finer particulars that will pay dividends in a while.