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Brave 10, Vols. 7 + 8

Welcome to another midweek manga review! This week will see an end to Kairi Shimotsuki’s Brave 10, but before we get to that have some news!

And now onto this weeks review of Brave 10, Vols. 7 + 8!

Brave10v8Brave 10, Vol. 7 + 8
by Kairi Shimotsuki
Rating: Young Adults (16 +)

After 8 volumes Kairi Shomotsuki brings the Brave 10 to an end. After protecting Isanami and her mysterious power from a number of different warlords, Sanada has finally assembled all 10 of his warriors only to be faced with a betrayal from within. This betrayal was merely a prelude to an all out assault from the Iga Grotesque Five, an elite group of ninja led by Hattori Hanzo with designs on capturing Isanami and using her power to change the fate of the world. It all hangs in the balance with this final two volumes full of blood, action and battles!

This series has been a really odd and uneven ride, but these two volumes really pick up and delivers a rather explosive and action packed climax. Sure, the introduction of Hanzo’s ninja squad feels a little random and unexpected, but Kairi Shimotsuki manages to weave some interesting threads and plots despite this sudden and dramatic development. Revelations about the Brave 10 come hard and fast as nearly each member is forced to push themselves to their limits and in some cases confront insecurities and tragedies from their past if they hope to survive the onslaught. Throughout the series it’s been clear that Shimotsuki favors certain characters over others and that’s no different in these final two volumes. For example, while Sekei, Benimaru and Jinpachi each get standout moments in these two volumes during their individual fights, Kamanosuke’s duel takes up a huge chunk of the story, encompassing several chapters complete with a fantasy/dream sequence and brutal fight scene. Likewise when it comes time for Saizo to face off against Hattori Hanzo towards the end, despite all ten of the Braves being present, the fate of Isanami is ultimately left in the hands of these two to the point where Sanada orders the rest of the group to stand down and let them handle it. While this all well and good if you’re interested in these specific characters, it does leave the rest of the group feeling a bit shallow and woefully underdeveloped.

Page from Brave 10, Vol. 7

Kamanosuke enjoying a shower in their foes blood.

The visuals continue to be something of a mixed bag. Incredibly gorgeous and elaborate costume designs make for some cluttered panels and sequences, but they look absolutely gorgeous on the covers, during splash pages and in the chapter breaks. While the ninja women have generally been of the femme fatale brand, none of them had costumes that came close to being as ridiculous as Kaiyo. Seriously, she’s nearing Hideyuki Kikuchi levels of ridiculousness in both costume and demeanor. Her costume is completely lacking in any sort of bottom, meaning she’s basically fighting with her naughty bits exposed. This is a good thing seeing as half the time she’s on the page she’s reaching between her legs and commenting on her state of arousal, so I suppose in that sense the costume is practical…? At any rate, she’s just ridiculously over the top and stands out as one of the most memorable members of the Iga Grotesque Five thanks in part to her designs and her blush inducing levels of lewdness.

Brave 10 has been a wildly uneven read, alternating between interesting, boring, and wonderfully over the top. The last two volumes definitely aren’t boring and thanks to the costume designs, and non-stop fight scenes they’re definitely fun and over the top. Unfortunately nothing is really or truly resolved despite these being the final two volumes in the series. Isanami’s power is still nearly uncontrollable and represents a threat and potential weapon that could be turned against Sanada and is lusted after by other warlords. Sanada’s rivalry with the Tokugawa and Date is unresolved and the series actually wraps up on something of a cliffhanger promising bigger threats in the future. There is a spin off series, Brave 10 S currently running in Japan, but it’s unlicensed in the US, which means readers are bound to be left wanting more and wondering what happens next.

Brave 10, Vol. 7 + 8 are available now from Digital Manga Publishing and Emanga.com. Digital review copies provided by the publisher.

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