Itsuwaribito: Volume 12 manga review
By Leroy Douresseaux
August 20, 2014 - 15:58

Viz Media
Writer(s): Yuuki Iinuma, John Werry
Penciller(s): Yuuki Iinuma
Letterer(s): Susan Daigle-Leach
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6523-1
$9.99 US, $12.99 CAN, 192pp, B&W, paperback
Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)

Itsuwaribito Volume 12 cover image is courtesy of

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Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”

When he was a child, Utsuho Azako learned that telling the truth can lead to heartbreak and loss.  Now, Utsuho is an unrepentant troublemaker and a self-professed “Itsuwaribito,” a crook that practices all illicit trades.  Still, this teen wants to help people.  He travels with his talking tanuki, Pochi; a young physician who hates liars, Dr. Koshiro Yakuma; the refugee, Neya Multo; the mysterious Hikae Nibyo; and Iwashi, ruler of Ouna.  They all help people, but Utsuho does so by being a liar.

As Itsuwaribito, Vol. 12 (Chapters 108 to 117) opens, Utsuho and company have nearly stamped out the rebellion in the capital city.  However, the plot to kill Tokino-o Hiinnomiya, who is the Onkado, the city’s ceremonial leader, continues.  The rebels, known as the Kaiten Party, are closer than they have ever been to doing this.  All that separates rebel leader, Gain Shishio, from his goal is a curtain.

Later, Yorushichi, a covert agent of the Shogunate, competes with Utsuho and his band for another part of the treasure known as the Kokonotsu.  Three rival Itsuwaribito:  Uzume, Choza Habaki, and Minamo Kawazu, decide to join Utsuho and his friends.  They end up in the mysterious Village Village, where they make many shocking discoveries.

THE LOWDOWN:  What one finds in the Itsuwaribito manga is a mix of combat violence and silly, playful humor.  Itsuwaribito Volume 12 adds an atmosphere of mystery and some stunning revelations.  I was tired of the capital city rebellion plot, but what happens after that story arc finishes pleased me quite a bit.

There is a ghost village story, some Japanese fantasy creature action, and revelatory bits that return to the early chapters of this series.  I find that Itsuwaribito can be a bit up and down, just a little inconsistent.  However, Vol. 12 shows off what the series does as well as it does violence (comic and otherwise), and that is imagination.

POSSIBLE AUDIENCE:  Fans of martial arts and samurai comedies will want to try the Shonen Sunday title, Itsuwaribito.

Rating: A-/10

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