This volume of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's rich series finds Ieyasu both fighting for his life and looking to the future. First, a couple of eerie and mysterious ninja try to take his life, but find themselves foiled by the increasingly able ninja Hattori Hanzo. And then a nation's tribes face off and spin through intrigue and tactical webworks, all while fascinatingly dark ninja politics weave subtext and sexy action throughout the masterly drafted pages.
Kazuo Koike is a prolific Japanese manga writer, novelist, and entrepreneur. Early in Koike's career, he studied under Golgo 13 creator Takao Saito and served as a writer on the series. Koike, along with artist Goseki Kojima, made the manga Kozure Okami (Lone Wolf and Cub), and Koike also contributed to the scripts for the 1970s film adaptations of the series, which starred famous Japanese actor Tomisaburo Wakayama. Another series written by Koike, Crying Freeman, which was illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami, was adapted into a 1995 live-action film by French director Christophe Gans. Goseki Kojima was a Japanese manga artist known for his collaborations with Kazuo Koike. The team was often referred to as the "Golden Duo." Kojima's best-known work was Lone Wolf and Cub. Other titles attributed to Kojima are Samurai Executioner and Path of the Assassin. In 2004, Kojima won an Eisner Award.