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[personal profile] skjam
You may have heard that there's going to be a "47 Ronin" movie starring Keanu Reeves as a mixed-race 48th ronin who got left out of the official records. This is perhaps the least of the film's liberties with the story, but still....

In the meantime, a much more faithful adaptation has been put out by Dark Horse Comics.

The tale of the forty-seven ronin is based on a real-life incident, and considered one of the classic examples of samurai honor and sacrifice. If you have not read or seen one of the adaptaions before, SPOILERS follow.

Two lords from the countryside were summoned up to visit the shogun's court in Edo in 1701. They were to work with an etiquette master, Lord Kira, to learn the proper behavior. Unfortunately, Kira was a jerk, and instead of teaching them, spent his time insulting and provoking the visitors. One lord's head retainer did some digging, found out Lord Kira was greedy, and successfully bribed him. But Lord Asano's head retainer was incompetent, so his abuse continued. Finally, Asano snapped and struck Kira.

Although this was not fatal, drawing a weapon at all in Edo Castle was a death penalty offense. Asano was ordered to commit ritual suicide, and his holdings were confiscated. His warriors were immediately made ronin (masterless samurai) and ordered by the shogun not to seek revenge.

Forty-seven of the ronin decided to seek revenge for their lord's death despite the order, led by a man named Oishi. Knowing that Kira would be expecting this, and that he had in fact requested extra bodyguards from a powerful relative, the ronin decided to lay low for a while. They went about their lives as though they had lost the will to fight back, and Oishi in particular managed to simulate a descent into shameful alcoholism.

A man from Satsuma went so far as to berate Oishi in the street and spit on him for conduct unbecoming a samurai. When Lord Kira heard that Oishi had just taken this abuse, he began to relax and sent back many of the bodyguards.

After a year, Oishi figured that Kira was off-guard, and summoned the rest of the ronin.

Four pages from the final issue )

The book giveaway at my blog ends tomorrow, 9/30/13!

Your thoughts and comments?


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