Punished not the man himself,
but the evil within him
Story: Kazuo Koike
Art: Goseki Kojima
10 Volumes – Completed
Yamada Asaemon Yoshitsugo, known as Kubikiri Asa, the decapitator Asaemon. He is the official O-Tameshiyaku of the shogunate. O-tameshi is a test of the shogun’s sword on a living body. He is also a decapitator. Beheading criminals that were sentenced to death as a lesson for other people so they won’t commit the same crime. Because of his job, most of the people see him as a demon or Shinigami (The God of Death).
He lived alone. He didn’t intend to get married because as someone who takes away lives, he won’t allow himself to create life. He take this rough path because he believed that every head he cut will bring him one step closer to his goal; to create a better world.
A quote from the manga:
Every time I raised my sword, I ask, will it come?
A day when people respect each other and build a better world?
I answer yes and swing.
Killing another person can never be forgiven. Never.
Believing in that day, in this world I make myself God of Death.
To ensure that I will be condemned.
Each beheading a lesson for a later age.
This manga was created based on careful research to re-create the Edo-period in Japan. Lots of things about the situation on that era, i.e. it’s social hierarchies, can be learned from this manga. If you want to know about bushi (samurai) and bushido (the way of samurai), this manga could be a good reference. Moreover if your knowledge about samurai is limited to Rurouni Kenshin. :p Well Kenshin is a great manga itself, but it lacks real samurai values.
So what’s make it interesting? It’s not just about cutting people’s head. As an executioner, Yamada wants the criminal to salvage themselves; ready to pay the price for their crimes. So sometimes he get involved with the criminal before the execution to make them like that. He is also willing to listen to any of the criminals last wishes. No matter how unusual it is. If he can’t understand it, he will find out the reason behind it.
This manga also tells stories about the criminals. Their motives, the chronology of the crimes committed, and the process of capturing them. It also talks about the bitterness of life in that era. Reading this manga is like studying criminology and sociology; trust me. 😉
One letdown of the manga is the face of the characters. Aside from the main characters, it’s hard to differentiate one to another. So don’t get confused if the same face keep appearing with different names. -_-`
It is also important to note that this is a manga intended for mature readers, because it’s contain a lot of explicit violence and sex. A lot!
[Reviewer: Adityo Ananta K.]