Jiro Azuma is descended from a long line of ninja. He can also talk to animals, and his rough and tumble appearance belies his compassionate nature. He meets Rago, a mysterious, unique, and suspicious, stray black cat. Jiro's compassion for animals will get him into trouble, when his encounter with Rago rudely introduces him to the world of the mononoke and changes his life forever.
Black Torch, Vol. 4 (Chapter 12 to 15) opens in the aftermath of Jiro and Rago's defeat at the hands of the great mononoke, Amagi. Having removed Rago from Jiro, Amagi seeks the the black cat's amazing powers for himself. Rago, however, has left his powers behind, putting Jiro's life at risk both from the mononoke and from his human compatriots.
[This volume includes a bonus comic and an afterword by the author.]
THE LOWDOWN: I knew that I would enjoy the Black Torch manga. Its focus on ninja and the creatures of Japanese myth is double tailor-made for me.
Black Torch Graphic Novel Volume 4 is more about the education of Jiro, whereas the previous volume was a mixture of battle manga and mononoke melodrama. Creator Tsuyoshi Takaki does offer some battle manga here, but this volume seems to be about the evolution of the characters, especially Jiro, and also about the advancement of relationships. It's torch-ilicious
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of ninja and of supernatural Japanese creatures will want to read by the light of the Shonen Jump title, Black Torch.