Lady Snowblood vol 3: Retribution pt 1

Lady Snowblood vol 3: Retribution pt 1
Lady Snowblood 3 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse Manga - 978-1-59307-458-6
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 1973
  • English language release date: 2006
  • Format: Black and white
  • UPC: 9781593074586
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Over the previous two volumes it was established that due to her dedication and training there’s very few opponents that Lady Snowblood is unable to overcome with a little planning. Unfortunately for her, in the closing chapter of The Deep-Seated Grudge pt 2, she rather played matters by ear and ran into just such a person.

Or not. There are some rather unsavoury revelations in the continuation, providing some insight into both Lady Snowblood as a character and Kazuo Koike as a writer. Sex has featured throughout the series, and at times has definitely skirted the gratuitous. Here, though, there’s not a hint of straddling a fine line. The straddling occurs, but it’s in a different context as Lady Snowblood moves from titillation to graphic sex, and there seems little purpose other than peddling erotica. Leaving all that aside, as the four Lady Snowblood collections have differing page counts anyway, this chapter would have been better placed providing a conclusion rather than a cliffhanger to the previous book.

This is a less satisfying book in other ways as well. Koike’s diversions from Lady Snowblood’s primary mission continue with two tales, and while there’s an admirable variation, neither match what we’ve seen in the previous books. The first mission involves targeting the local Yakuza clan, in which there’s a surfeit of talking heads, a gratuitously unpleasant description of female sexual torture, and a perfunctory climax. The second is madcap whimsy as Lady Snowblood solicits a writer to provide her story with a wider circulation.

Having been excellent over the previous two volumes, there’s a decline in the art over the early pages of this volume. Perhaps Kazuo Kamimura was having a bad few days, or perhaps one of his assistants drew more than usual, but there’s a lack of delicacy to the brushwork, and the layouts are standard rather than creative. The latter persists through much of the book.

The fourth book ends Lady Snowblood’s quest.