Thursday, May 6, 2010

Foreign Favorites: Lone Wolf and Cub

First appearing in Japan's Manga Action in August 1970, Kozure Okami (A Wolf and His Cub) was written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima. A period strip set in the Edo era, it tells the tale of Itto Ogami, a former high executioner of the realm and his young son, Daigoro, who are targets of an assination plot from the powerful Yagyu clan. With his wife murdered, and now disgraced before the Emperor, a "lone wolf and his cub" vow vengance against the clan, leaving his former life as a samurai to become a roving paid assasin for hire. The saga continues for six years and over eight thousand pages with Itto and Daigoro fighting the dreaded head of the family, Retsudo Yagyu, who eventually loses an eye, as well as his four sons and a daughter to the savage Ogami in their many bloody swordfights. Late in the run a new enemy emerged, Kaii Abe, who now opposed both Yagyu and the Okamis on a deadly rampage. An instant best seller, it spawned six motion pictures, a TV series, and numerous records, that depecticted not only revenge and violence, but a story of family loyalities, honor, and a rough tenderness between a father trying to raise his son.

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