The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan (Y十M ～柳生忍法帖～ Y- Jū -M - Yagyū Ninpōchō?) is an 11-volume manga series written by Masaki Segawa and first published in Japan by Kodansha in 2005. Like Masaki Segawa's first manga Basilisk, the Yagyu Ninja Scrolls is based on a novel from Futaro Yamada's Ninpocho series and can therefore be considered a sequel to Basilisk, especially as several of the same historical characters featured in Basilisk make a return appearance. The story centers on seven female survivors of the Hori Clan and their crusade of vengeance against the tyrannical daimyo who slaughtered their family.
In the Nineteenth Year of Kannei (1642) a rebellion by the Hori Clan against Kato Akinari, the daimyo of Aizu, has been suppressed through the intervention of the Shogunate. Placed into the custody of the Seven Spears, Kato's personal enforcers, the Hori men are dragged to the Tokeiji Divorce Temple at Kamakura where the Hori women had been hiding. Despite a law passed by former Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu forbidding men to enter the temple, the Seven Spears force their way in and brutally slaughter the Hori women before their husbands and brothers. The massacre is stopped only by the intervention of Princess Sen, Tokeiji's guardian and older sister to the reigning Shogun Iemitsu. Unfortunately, though the Seven Spears agreed to depart, only seven of the Hori women survived.
In retribution for the violation of Tokeiji Temple and those who she had taken under her care, Princess Sen sends a message to the famous monk Takuan Soho to locate one person who can train the seven Hori women to seek their revenge. The one chosen is Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi, son of Yagyu Munenori and former instructor to the Shogun. With Jubei's instruction and guidance, the Hori women begin their war against the Seven Spears and ultimately Kato himself.
- Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi
- Son of the famous Yagyu Munenori, Jubei was formerly a sword instructor for Shogun Iemitsu but gave up the post to his younger brother in order to live as a wandering swordsman. Chosen by Takuan Soho at the request of Princess Sen to train the Hori women in the arts of war, Jubei had strong doubts as to whether they would be able to win but agreed to teach them as it might prove interesting. As the Seven Spears greatly outclass the Hori women in terms of power and martial ability, Jubei instead instructs them in the ways of military strategy, devising ambush tactics for the Hori women to eliminate the Seven Spears one by one in ways that neutralize their individual skills. Although a harsh and merciless teacher (Takuan relates to Princess Sen how during one of his lessons with Iemitsu Jubei beat his student to the point that Iemitsu couldn't even stand) Jubei has a mischievous streak to him and he enjoys needling and annoying the Hori women while his cavalier attitude belies both his strong sense of justice and his dedication to his students.
The Hori Clan
- Hori Mondo Tsunafusa
- Lord of the Hori Clan and former samurai to Aizu daimyo Kato Akinari. Despite his disgust at the wanton acts of violence and depravity performed by his lord, Mondo performed his required duty as Kato's Kuni-Garo (chief vassal) until he was pressured to surrender his daughter Ochie to be Kato's mistress. Knowing that Kato would never accept his refusal, Mondo sent Ochie and the other Hori women into hiding at Tokeiji Temple while he and his men launched an assault on Kato's castle. Defeated by Kato's soldiers, Mondo and his men fled to Koyasan where they posed as monks before being captured by Shogunate forces who turned them over to the Seven Spears. Mondo was then dragged in stocks to Tokeiji where he was forced to witness the slaughter of nearly all the Hori women before being taken back to Aizu where he and his men were brutally tortured to death.
- The daughter of Hori Mondo and princess to the Hori. Following the genocide of her clan, Ochie rises to take leadership of the survivors in their quest for revenge against Kato and the Seven Spears. Because of the abuse she and the others suffered at the hands of Kato and his subordinates, Ochie develops an aversion to all men and at first refuses to accept Jubei's help yet gradually comes to respect him as both a mentor and a comrade.
- The attendant and confidant of Ochie, Ofue is the most easily distinguished of the Hori women due to her shorter, brown hair. The most outspoken of the Hori women, Ofue is easily riled which makes her a prime target for Jubei's teasing. She frequently serves as comic relief. Though she hates Jyubei at first, she gradually develops a large crush on him, which she reveals in the fourth volume of the manga, much to the amusement of the other Hori women.
- The daughter of Mondo's brother Manabe Shobei and cousin to Ochie. Quiet and introspective, Sakura is sometimes assigned by Jubei to spy on their enemies as her close-cropped hair allows her to disguise herself as either a woman or a young man.
- The wife of Mondo's brother Tagei Matahachiro and aunt to Ochie and Sakura. Osawa is a talented seamstress whom Jubei assigns to create whatever costumes and disguises are required to spy or entrap their enemies. She serves as a mother figure to the other Hori women. in the fifth volume of the manga, Osawa kills the Spear Gusoku Jyonoshin, ambushing him on the grounds of Tokaiji Temple while he is distracted by Ochie.
- The wife of Mondo's vassal Kanemaru Hansaku. Although dedicated to avenging her clan, Oshina is the most timid of the surviving women and rarely speaks.
- The daughter of Mondo's vassal Itakura Buden. Despite her plump frame, she possesses both great agility and balance which aided her during her duel with Magobei.
- The wife of Mondo's vassal Inaba Jyuzaburo. When the Seven Spears start terrorizing Edo and kidnapping couples on their wedding night to lure out Jyubei, Okei and Jyubei disguise themselves as a recently married couple and allow themselves to be kidnapped by the Spears. They are taken to the Kato mansion, where they plan to take Lord Akinari hostage. The plan goes awry, and without the surprise intervention of Ochie, Ofue, and Sakura, who had followed them in secret, they both would have perished in the mansion. After the ordeal, the other Hori women begin to show jealousy toward her, thinking that Jyubei has begun to favor ever since she played the role of his bride.
The Kato Clan
- Kato Shikinobusho Akinari
- The daimyo of Aizu and lord of the Kato clan. Sadistic and perverse, Kato ruthlessly slaughters any who oppose him and spends his days fornicating with the constantly changing members of his harem. Although Kato's public face is of a fearless and powerful noble such as when he held his own against the attempted intimidation by Date Masamune (a bold man known as The One-Eyed Dragon); his private moments reveal him to be an insecure and apprehensive individual plagued by nightmares and constantly overshadowed by the legacy of his father.
A clan of ninja who once ruled over Aizu, the Ashina rescued Lord Kato seven years prior to the Manga's beginning when he was attacked by an unknown assailant while out hawking. In gratitude, Kato selected seven of the strongest Ashina to be his personal bodyguards and enforcers, naming them the Seven Spears of Aizu after the Seven Spears of Shizugatake whom his father, Kato Yoshiaki, had led. The Ashina are as perverse as their Lord and whenever Kato grows bored with any of his consorts, the unlucky women are given to the Seven Spears who rape and torture them to death.
- Ashina Dohaku
- The primary villain of the second half of the series. Dohaku is Lord of the Ashina ninja clan and vassal to Kato. He trained the Seven Spears and seems to hold the true power in Aizu, ruling from behind Kato's throne. He is 107 years old, the father of Oyura, and the twin brother of the High Priest Tenkai. His life is inextricably linked to that of his holy brother: If one of them is killed, then the other one will die at the same time. But like Yakushiji Tenzen, the villain in Basilisk (Yamada/Segawa's previous work), Dohaku seems to be unkillable, and the secret to his defeat has not been fully revealed yet.
- The daughter of Ashina Dohaku. Oyura is beautiful and seductive, and serves as Lord Akinari's main concubine in Aizu. She first appears in Volume 6 of the manga.
The Seven Spears
- Urushido Koshichiro
- The central member of the Seven Spears, Koshichiro is a master swordsman despite missing his left arm. In volume 1, he leads the massacre at the convent in Kamakura. Throughout the series, but more noticeably in later volumes, Koshichiro is portrayed as Jyubei's opposite among the enemy. He is bent on crossing blades with Jyubei, eager to determine once and for all which of them is the better swordsman.
- In Volume 4, after being defeated in a brief encounter with the Seven Spears, Jyubei expresses doubt as to whether or not he would be able to defeat Koshichiro if they ever dueled.
- Koshichiro shows a peculiar mannerism when he kills, as shown in Volumes 1, 9, and 11. Before engaging an opponent, he slips a flowering twig of cherry blossoms into his mouth (if one is available), and grips it in his teeth as he attacks. Though the manga does not specify a reason for this, there seems to be an poetic significance behind this quirk; falling cherry blossoms have traditionally beem seen by samurai as a metaphor for death and the fragileness of life.
- Koro Ginshiro
- The youngest of the Seven Spears, Ginshiro is cocky and impulsive. He is very feminine in appearance, but his otherwise beautiful features are marred by a thin, dark, scar that runs vertically down the middle of his face. He wields a net that when folded can easily be concealed within the palm of his hand yet when deployed can expand to envelop multiple people. The net possesses surprising strength despite its delicate appearance and its mesh is fine enough that not even air can pass through.
- Following Jubei's surprise raid on Kato's mansion, Ginshiro was the one who discovered that that the Hori women had departed the convent. He also lusts after Sakura as during the murder of the Hori Clan's female members he requests that the others allow him to slay her personally.
- Of all the Seven Spears, Ginshiro has the quickest temper and the least self-control. He is prone to sudden, violent rages, and often resorts to hissing, screaming, and insults when faced with a conflict.
- Daidoji Tessai
- The oldest of the seven spears, Tessai wields a two-handed scythe that can be split in half to form a Kusari-gama. The weapon also contains a weighted chain in the butt of the handle and a retractable secondary scythe blade in the head. Tessai is easily angered and will even lash out at his allies if he feels they've insulted him.
- Tessai often goes to the Yoshiwara brothel district to purchase women on his lord Akinari's behalf. In fact, a flashback in Volume 1 reveals that Tessai was the one who requested that Hori Mondo send his daughter (Ochie) to serve as Akinari's mistress. In respose, Mondo rebuked Tessai, insulted Akinari, and later lead the doomed rebellion against his cruel lord, setting off the events of the story.
- Tessai dies at the hands of the Hori women, ambushed at dusk in the streets of Yoshiwara. After a short fight, the women trap and immobilize both ends of his chained weapon, then rush in from all sides to stab him with their blades.
- He is the first of the Spears to die.
- Hiraga Magobei
- Magobei stands out among the other Seven Spears due to his dark complexion. A specialist in long range combat, he wields a Script error cavalry spear with the same speed and precision on foot as he would on horseback. In the second volume of the manga, Magobei accompanies Tessai to the Yoshiwara brothel district to purchase concubines for Lord Akinari. Disgusted by the brothel owner's smugness, he decalares to Tessai that he will not return with him later to pick up the women. This decision may have saved his life--Tessai returns to Yoshiwara alone, where he is ambushed and killed by the Hori women.
- In the third volume of the manga Magobei pairs up with Gusoku Jyonoshin to confront Jyubei and Otoro at night in the streets outside Edo Castle. A canal divides the street between him and Jyubei, and so he strikes across the water with his spear. Jyubei swiftly traps the spearblade to the ground, disabling the weapon while Otori charges arcoss the shaft, using it as a bridge to cross the canal and strike down Magobei. Magobei draws his wakizashi and slices through the shaft of his trapped spear, but instead of falling into the canal Otori springs ino the air, catapulting herself above and inside his range of attack. Her blade slices him vertically from head to naval.
- He is the second of the Spears to die.
- Gusoku Jyunoshin
- The weakest of the Seven Spears, Jyunoshin specializes neither in weapons nor hand to hand combat. Instead, he controls a pack of vicious dogs the size of calves whom he uses to hunt down and ultimately tear his opponents to pieces. His small size and overlong arms cause him to resemble a monkey, a fact the other Seven Spears frequently use to insult him.
- In the manga's third volume, Jyunoshin aides Magobei in a sneak assault on both Jubei and Otori which ended in the death of both Magobei and two of Jyunoshin's dogs at the hands of Jubei, leaving Jyunoshin deeply traumatized and convinced that the Hori women's mysterious teacher was well beyond their ability to slay.
- Following the Hori women's infiltration of the Kato mansion in the fourth volume, Jyonoshin and Lord Akinari were captured and cast before Edo Castle's Takebashi Gate, where they were discovered by Princess Sen. The princess recognized them and, as punishment for their wickedness, had them marched through the streets of Edo like common crimonals, exposing them to public ridicule. Following the incident, Lord Akinari went into a blind rage and promised to have Jyonoshin killed unless he uncovered the whearabouts of the Hori women. Using Tenmaru, his only surviving dog, Jyonoshin tracked the Hori women to Tokaiji temple. Shaving his head and posing as a priest, Jyonoshin managed to enter the temple where he discovered Ochie picking flowers in the temple grounds. Taking her by surprise, Jyonoshin gloatingly remarked that it had been he who had finished off Ochie's father Mondo in an attempt to goad her into attacking when Osawa, who had been hiding in a nearby tree, leaped down from the branches and drove her sword into Jyonoshin, pinning him to the ground.
- He is the third of the Spears to die.
- Washinosu Rensuke
- The most physically powerful of the Seven Spears, Rensuke is easily distinguished by his massive chin and sideburns. He disdains the use of weapons in favor of kenpō (Japanese martial arts inspired by Chinese Kung Fu) and his own inhuman strength. During the Seven Spears assault on Tokeiji, Rensuke was able to break open the temple's gate using his bare hands and feet. In the fourth volume of the series, while the Seven Spears are terrorizing Edo in Hannya masks, Jyubei tries(unsuccessfully) to pose as Rensuke in order to enter the Kato mansion. Koshichiro sees through his ruse and strikes at him, splitting the hannya mask to reveal not Rensuke, but Yagyu Jyubei (though through the darkness and rain he cannot recognize Jyubei's features.)
- Aside from Jyonoshin, Rensuke appears to have the most self-control of the Seven Spears, though his stems from his own intelligence, whereas Jyonoshi's is typically the result of cowardice. He is often called upon to hold Ginshiro back when the boy's tantrums threaten to become dangerous.
- In the 6th volume of the manga, Rensuke attempts to hunt down the Hori women and captures Otori and Oshina on the Aizu Echigo Road. He strips them of clothing and ties them to his body as a shield. As a result, Jubei is prepared to offer his life for theirs when their monk companions from Tokeiji Temple take up their own swords and confront Rensuke. They drop the swords for the captive women as Rensuke kills them, allowing Otori and Oshina to seize the blades and sever Rensuke's legs. As he bleeds to death, Jubei arrives on the scene, pinning Rensuke to the ground with his foot so the big man cannot struggle toward the women. Rensuke realizes Jubei Yagyu was his true enemy, and he smiles as he dies, contented by the fact that ultimately he had been defeated not by women, but by the greatest and most famous swordsman in the world.
- He is the fourth of the Spears to die.
- Shiba Ichiganbo
- A one-eyed pig of a man, Ichiganbo's bulk belies both his incredible martial ability and his cunning. Highly observant, he's usually the first to figure out crucial aspects that his comrades overlook and was the one who proposed framing Princess Sen in order to draw out Jubei. According to his plan, the Seven Spears would dress up in hannya masks and terrorize Edo, kidnapping betrothed couples on their wedding nights. The women would be brought to Akinari, and the men would be tortured and cast off in front of Edo Castle's Takebashi gate. In battle, he wields a whip that responds as though it were an extension of his own being. He can even use it to amputate parts of an opponent's body by wrapping it around their limbs or necks and pulling the whip taut.
- In the seventh volume of the manga, Ichiganbo leads a patrol of one dozen men into the wilderness of Northern Aizu to seek out the Hori women, who have infiltrated Lord Kato's territory. He is ambushed and killed by the Hori women, who had been concealing themselves in the fallen autumn leaves, stabbing him on all sides. Ochie finishes him off, splitting his head like a log with her blade.
- After his death, Ichiganbo's body is hidden inside a snowman outside Lord Kato's castle, where it is discovered on New Year's Day (Ashina Dohaku's birthday, incidentally) by Koshichiro and Ginshiro.
- He is the fifth of the Spears to die.
- Tokugawa Iemitsu
- The grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu and the current reigning Shogun. In the years between Basilisk and The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls, Iemitsu has grown from a somewhat dimwitted child into a capable and efficient ruler. Although he sympathizes with the Hori clan, his responsibilities as Shogun demand that he arrest them for the crime of rebellion and deliver them to Kato for punishment. As the Hori women had hidden in a divorce temple forbidding the entrance of men, Iemitsu was willing to spare at least them and was greatly troubled to hear that the Ashina were the ones charged with delivering the Hori to Aizu.
- Nankoubou Tenkai
- The archbishop of Kanneiji temple. As with Ieyasu, Tenkai serves in Shogun Iemitsu's inner circle as his most trusted advisor. While he agrees with Iemitsu's decision to turn over the Hori men to Kato while leaving the Hori women sequestered in the divorce temple, Tenkai is all too aware of the Ashina clan's capacity for violence and the potential of the Seven Spears to escalate the already tenuous situation. He is the twin brother of Ashina Dohaku.
- Yagyu Munenori
- The father of Yagyu Jubei and another former member of Tokugawa Ieyasu's inner circle. In the years between Basilisk and The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls, Munenori had been appointed Sometsuke (the overseer of the daimyo) and since retired yet still holds a place in Iemitsu's council. Like Tenkai, he supports Iemitsu's decision to arrest the Hori men, stating that regardless of how justified their actions, allowing any sort of anarchy to go unpunished would jeorpardize the Tokugawa Shogunate's hold over the various regions.
- Princess Sen (Tenjuin)
- The granddaughter of Ieyasu and older sister to Shogun Iemitsu. As the guardian of Tokeiji temple, Princess Sen was the one who convinced her grandfather to enact a law banning any man from entering. When Hori Mondo staged his rebellion against the Kato clan, Princess Sen agreed to grant shelter for the Hori women, disguising them as nuns but permitting them to keep their hair in the hopes that they would be able to leave once the matter had been settled. When the Seven Spears launched their attack, Princess Sen offered her life in exchange for the seven surviving Hori women and the Seven Spears retreated for fear that she would convince Iemitsu to have Mondo and his men released as well. Because both of her prior husbands died shortly after marrying her, a rumor spread throughout Edo stating that she seduced men only to kill them after having her way with them. Following the death of Magobei, the remaining Seven Spears took advantage of the rumor in order to draw out Jubei by framing her for the kidnapping of several soon to be married couples throughout Edo.
- The high priestess of Tokeiji Temple and the granddaughter of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Ieyasu's sworn rival. Following the siege of Osaka Castle in which the Toyotomi clan perished, Tenshuni was adopted by Princess Sen-whom Ieyasu had wed to Hideyoshi's son Hideyori as part of his political ambitions-and sequestered in Tokeiji. During the raid by the Seven Spears, Tenshuni was almost killed by Ginshiro who enveloped her in his net and nearly suffocated her before Ochie and the other Hori women revealed themselves. Although put off by Jubei's lack of grace, Tenshuni allows him to stay at Tokeiji to train the Hori women under the condition that he wear a set of bells to alert the other nuns to his presence. Jubei would later repay the favor by having the Hori women wear bells while staying at Tokaiji.
- Takuan Soho
- The High Priest of Shinagawa Banshozan Tokaiji Temple in Edo. Because of his friendships with various generals and swordsmen, Takuan was asked by Princess Sen to find a sensei who could train the surviving Hori women to defeat the Seven Spears. Later, as the Hori women begin their assault, he grants them and Jubei shelter at his temple since the last place the Seven Spears would look for them would be a monastery forbidding women to enter.
- Shoji Jinnemon
- The owner of the Nishida-ya Brothel in Yoshiwara who frequently sells girls to Kato. In the past, Jinnemon was a bandit known as Shoji Jinnai who plundered the region of Kankatsu-sa as part of a trio of thieves known as the Three Jinnais. Although he learns of the way Kato abuses and eventually kills his consorts, he continues to sell women to him in exchange for higher costs to ensure his silence. After the Hori women kill Tessai who had been escorting the latest group of girls Kato had purchased, Jubei assaults Jinnemon and forces him to provide money for the girls to escape, promising that he would return if Jinnemon ever sold another woman to the Kato clan.
Script error The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls was serialised in Kodansha's Weekly Young Magazine from 2005–2008, and was licensed for English publication by Del Rey Manga, which began releasing volumes in 2007.
</td></tr><tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol02">02</td><td style="text-align: left;">Blood on the Trail</td><td>November 4, 2005
ISBN 978-4-06-361390-2</td><td>February 5, 2008
ISBN 978-0-345-50120-2</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
</td></tr><tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol03">03</td><td style="text-align: left;">Strike and Counterstrike</td><td>March 6, 2006
ISBN 978-4-06-361426-8</td><td>May 13, 2008
ISBN 978-0-345-50121-9</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
</td></tr><tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol04">04</td><td style="text-align: left;">Blood Wedding</td><td>August 4, 2006
ISBN 978-4-06-361466-4</td><td>August 19, 2008
ISBN 978-0-345-50122-6</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
</td></tr><tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol05">05</td><td style="text-align: left;">Stalemate!</td><td>October 6, 2006
ISBN 978-4-06-361482-4</td><td>October 21, 2008
ISBN 978-0-345-50421-0</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
<tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol06">06</td><td style="text-align: left;">Vengeance!</td><td>February 6, 2007
ISBN 978-4-06-361526-5</td><td>June 23, 2009
ISBN 978-0-345-50422-7</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol07">07</td><td style="text-align: left;">Hot Pursuit!</td><td>June 6, 2007
ISBN 978-4-06-361562-3</td><td>November 24, 2009
ISBN 978-0-345-50423-4</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol08">08</td><td style="text-align: left;">—</td><td>September 6, 2007
ISBN 978-4-06-361591-3</td><td>—</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol09">09</td><td style="text-align: left;">—</td><td>January 4, 2008
ISBN 978-4-06-361635-4</td><td>—</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol10">10</td><td style="text-align: left;">—</td><td>April 4, 2008
ISBN 978-4-06-361657-6</td><td>—</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol11">11</td><td style="text-align: left;">—</td><td>August 6, 2008
ISBN 978-4-06-361689-7</td><td>—</td></tr> </table>
Script error In Jason Thompson's online appendix to Manga The Complete Guide, he praised the layouts of the manga, and described the character designs as "reminiscent of Go Nagai". Theron Martin, writing for Anime News Network about the first two volumes, enjoyed the attention to historical detail, but felt the character designs were "overly harsh". A.E. Sparrow, writing for IGN, appreciated the distinct character designs for the women and their enemies. The reviewer for PopCultureShock felt that the massacre at the beginning of the story was not gratuitous, as it establishes the antagonists as being "deserving of the women's wrath". Ken Haley, writing for PopCultureShock about the seventh volume, felt it was surprising that all the female leads were still alive. Julie Gray, writing for Comic Book Bin about the first volume, found the story immersing.
- ↑ http://www.suvudu.com/2009/09/365-days-of-manga-day-4-the-yagyu-ninja-scrolls-revenge-of-the-hori-clan.html
- ↑ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/the-yagyu-ninja-scrolls/gn-1
- ↑ http://au.comics.ign.com/articles/831/831625p1.html
- ↑ http://www.popcultureshock.com/yagyu-ninja-scroll/42937/
- ↑ http://www.popcultureshock.com/manga/index.php/reviews/manga-reviews/manga-minis-113009/
- ↑ http://www.comicbookbin.com/The_Yagyu_Ninja_Scrolls_Volume_1_Revenge_of_the_Hori_Clan.html