Itsuwaribito: Volume 18 manga review
By Leroy Douresseaux
August 17, 2016 - 14:02

Viz Media
Writer(s): Yuuki Iinuma, John Werry
Penciller(s): Yuuki Iinuma
Letterer(s): Susan Daigle-Leach
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8388-4
$9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, 192pp, B&W, paperback
Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)

Itsuwaribito Volume 18 cover image

Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”

Utsuho Azako once inadvertently caused an enormous catastrophe because of his truthfulness.  Utsuho would become an unrepentant troublemaker and a self-professed “Itsuwaribito,” a crook that practices all illicit trades.  This teen 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. 18 (Chapters 168 to 177) opens, Utsuho and company battle the forces of Gin Hobaku, the Itsuwaribito who killed Utsuho's family.  However, in the small town of Owari, where the battle takes place, Gin has the advantage.  He has tricked the townsfolk and its princess into believing that he is their hero.  Utsuho and his friends retreat to a tower where they prepare for the next battle against Gin and company, but is Utsuho and his “family” willing to go as far as Gin and his family are willing to go to win.

[This volume includes bonus manga.]

THE LOWDOWN:  Yes, the Itsuwaribito manga is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates:  the reader never knows what he is going to get with his adventure.  That is a good thing because this manga sometimes has the makings of a topnotch drama.

Itsuwaribito Volume 18 has lots of fighting and bloodshed, featuring clever and deadly adversaries.  However, creator Yuuki Iinuma digs into the past of a few of Gin's cohorts.  These flashbacks and back stories are engaging, even as short as they are.  Itsuwaribito is eccentric and off-beat, but I like that Iinuma dares to change up the pace and tone and to be edgy.

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


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