Next Author: Jacqueline Kolosov
Previous Author: Gini (G.J.) Koch

Kazuo Koike

Kazuo KoikeThough widely respected as a powerful writer of graphic fiction, Kazuo Koike has spent a lifetime reaching beyond the bounds of the comics medium. Aside from co-creating and writing the successful Lone Wolf and Cub and Crying Freeman manga, Koikehas hosted television programs; founded a golf magazine; produced movies; written popular fiction, poetry, and screenplays; and mentored some of Japan’s best manga talent. Lone Wolf and Cub was first serialized in Japan in 1970 in Manga Action magazine and continued its hugely popular run for many years, being reprinted worldwide. Starting in 1972, Koike adapted the popular manga into a series of six films, the Baby Cart Assassin saga, garnering widespread commercial success and critical acclaim for his screenwriting. To give something back to the medium that gave him so much, Koike started the Gekiga Sonjuku, a college course aimed at helping talented writers and artists – such as Ranma 1/2 creator Rumiko Takahashi – break into the comics field. The driving focus of Koike’s narrative is character development, and his commitment to character is clear: “Comics are carried by characters. If a character is well created, the comic becomes a hit.” Kazuo Koike’s continued success in comics and literature has proven this philosophy true. The author lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Lone Wolf and Cub

Readers’ average rating:

Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume One by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima

Dark Horse has just started reissuing one of the best manga collections of all-time: Lone Wolf and Cub. If you are interested in Japanese art and culture, this volume is one you want to order immediately! Even if you aren’t interest in the historical role of the Samurai warrior in Japan, you’ll want this book for the beautiful black and white artwork.

In the U.S., we’ve been inundated with manga aimed primarily at teenagers, so we’ve gotten a warped view of what is actually available in Japan. Lone Wolf and Cub is a wonderful reminder that in Japan, manga is written for all audiences. Lone Wolf and Cub, however, is not just an example of what manga for adults looks like, but also repres... Read More

Lone Wolf and Cub: The Bell Warden by Kazuo Koike

Readers’ average rating:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Vol. 4): The Bell Warden by Kazuo Koike

The Bell Warden, Volume 4 of Lone Wolf and Cub, is still obviously chock full of action and bloodshed as Ogami continues cutting a swath through Tokugawa-era Japan on his path of vengeance. The main story arc doesn’t get a significant push forward here, hence the slightly lower rating from previous volumes, though we do get a lot of details on Tokugawa-era Japan and more than a few interesting things in the stories Koike & Kajima choose to tell. To wit:

“The Bell Warden”: Apparently the position of Bell Warden of the watchtowers of Edo was incred... Read More

Lone Wolf and Cub: Black Wind by Kazuo Koike

Readers’ average rating:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Vol. 5): Black Wind by Kazuo Koike

Black Wind, Volume 5 of the Lone Wolf and Cub, series does some good work in moving forward the main story arc by giving us further insights into the events that brought about the downfall of the Ogami clan especially in regards to the motivations of the insidious Yagyu clan. It’s always interesting in these stories to see how Ogami is both something of a selfless hero and at the same time a remorseless killer truly willing to follow the ‘demon’s road’ of Meifumado and abjure normal human feelings and values no matter their cost to himself and others. On the one hand,... Read More

Lone Wolf and Cub: Lanterns for the Dead by Kazuo Koike

Readers’ average rating:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Vol. 6): Lanterns for the Dead by Kazuo Koike

The Lone Wolf and Cub series is well-known for the amount of research that went into allowing a lifelike picture of the historical era to be faithfully presented. This definitely adds to my enjoyment of the series, but added to this is the fact that while each individual story is generally self-contained there is a wider story arc that informs each of them both within and across volumes. Best of all is when specific details from previous tales make their way into later installments and not only add to the full picture we see, but show how Ogami Itto and Daigoro are growing and changing as they follow their bloody quest.

“Lanterns for the Dead”: One of the things I really like about the Lone Wolf and Cub series is the inside view it gives to the many facets of Tokugawa-... Read More

Lone Wolf and Cub: Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger

Readers’ average rating:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Vol. 7): Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger by Kazuo Koike

The Lone Wolf & Cub series by Kazuo Koike is well-known for the amount of research that went into allowing a lifelike picture of the Japanese historical era to be faithfully presented. This definitely adds to my enjoyment of the series, but added to this is the fact that while each individual story is generally self-contained, there is a wider story arc that informs each of them both within and across volumes. Best of all is when specific details from previous tales make their way into later installments and not only add to the full picture we see, but show how Ogami Itto and Daigoro are growing and changing as they follow their bloody quest.

“Dragnet:” Despairing due to the fact that even his greatest warr... Read More