Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Booknote: Musashi

Sean Michael Wilson, Musashi. Boston, MA: Shambala, 2014. ISBN: 9781611801354.

This graphic novel is about real life samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi was not just a warrior; he was also a writer, author of Book of the Five Rings. As I start reading, the art reminds me a lot of works like Lone Wolf and Cub. The art in this one is certainly a pleasure to look at, not only the comic, but also some of the illustrations and calligraphy, which add to the beauty of the work.

The book starts with a nice opening frame: Musashi's son looks on the grave of his father. An old sensei (who could be the grave keeper?) asks to hear about Musashi's life, and thus the adopted son begins the story. We learn that Musashi was a skilled fighter, but he was also a smart man, a good tactician, and a wily individual. The narrative with the son works very well. The comic does not just elevate Musashi; it brings him to life and gives him humanity. It is not just the legend, but it is also the man. The work was very accessible, and it was a joy to read. The art also adds a bit of a zen to the reading experience. I learned a bit about the man, and it makes me want to read more. In the end, this is one of the best books I have read this year.

5 out of 5 stars.

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