Hitogatana by Onigunsou is a manga that I recommended enthusiastically a few months ago when I first discovered it. Now, I have to admit, on chapter 23, I’m kind of lost. I may have to go back and re-read. The bonus is, there aren’t very many chapters.
On the other hand, I’m not overly impressed with a manga that takes this kind of work. I follow a number of monthlies and I feel like a sign of a good story is that you can pick it up fairly flawlessly the next time it shows up and go from there.
I’m not sure, however, who to blame. I’ve only found this manga chapter translated in one place, MangaPanda. Having compared MangaPanda to MangaStream a number of times on Bleach chapters, I can say that MangaPandas translations are by far the least colloquial and the most clunky. (MangaHere has the previous chapters, but, as of today, does not yet have the latest chapter.)
I’m lost, but whose fault is it? I’m disinclined to blame the mangaka, especially given how much I’ve enjoyed this story to-date. So, maybe it’s me; maybe it’s the translation.
But, as you’ll see if you read into the spoilers, the story does SEEM to take an odd turn….
The title of the chapter is “The End and the Beginning.”
We start with some yelling among the AKCD (the good guy organization) about getting back-up to our people and something that shouldn’t exist, a “great calamity”–which is a katana/enemy of some sort that everyone seems shocked is still alive, “Itsu.” (Full name, “Itsu-no-Ohabari.”)
Then we’re shown a scene of carnage on the battlefield and told that we’re going to flash back ten minutes, which is when Itsu makes his first appearance in the fight.
Now what’s happening here gets confusing to me because of the katana/welder disconnect. Plus, I’ve not yet memorized who is who in terms of the warring factions of the AKCD and the Tenka Goken. But it looks like the Tenka Goken has defeated one of ours and is talking about returning to his/her* comrades. (*The whole male-looking katana/female rider thing does not help matters, even though it’s one of my favorite parts of this manga.)
Then this surprise character shows up and tears up everything while acting the part of a particular type of shounen villain (aka lots of wagging tongues and talking about how everyone is gross/disgusting while looking like a total freak.)
Itsu kicks everyone’s butts and leaves.
Then, we flash to the wake-up pods where all the riders come out.
Now we’re back to the characters I know best. We see Togusa opening up Yachiyo Seri’s pod with a smile. They walk home together where they meet up with their swordsmith buddy and the other katana-hybrid and talk about how they’re going to have a moment of quiet before everything hits the fan.
I think part of my confusion with this chapter had a lot to do with its whiplash nature. Everyone is in trouble, pull them out! Oh wait, let’s go back and set up the scene! Here’s a fight with people I can’t even find listed in the Hitogatana Wiki and a lot of back and forth between katana and their riders? Or the commander and her katana riders? Now everyone is defeated (including some of the “bad guys”? Who is this new guy?? What is his/her alliances?)! No, wait, let’s not talk about that because we’re all waking up and going home for some domestic time!
So, for my money, I needed a debriefing scene instead of a domestic one. Not that I don’t appreciate the domestic stuff–because really I like this made family a lot–and, I can only hope that the ACKD will have the ‘as you know, Bob’ conversation in the next chapter.
But, I’m intrigued by this new katana, Itsu. If for no other reason that I think he/she is going to be a clue into the back story of our living katana,Togusa, whose sort I’m kind of chomping at the bit to know more about.