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Peacemaker Vol. 1
Distributor ADV Films
Date 08 Oct 2005
With the arrival of Samurai Champloo (which is on release in the UK. Go. Buy now), we have a stylish samurai series with a hip-hop soundtrack. But then, what would you expect from the creator of Cowboy Bebop? While Samurai Champloo has it’s own distinct style, it would be nice to have samurai series that shows the bitter, grittiness of being a samurai. Peacemaker seems to (in this volume at least) do this in spades…and shovels…and pick axes and any other digging tools you can think of.
The series starts off following Tetsunosuke Ichimura (or Tetsu for short) as he begins his path of revenge for the death of his parents by a murderous clan. He seeks out the Shinsengumi, an elite group of swordsman sworn to protect the capital of Kyoto. As the Shinsengumi are currently fighting with the Choshu rebels (those naughty people that killed Tetsu’s parents), Tetsu wants to sign up and become a warrior. However, Tetsu soon discovers that the Shinsengumi are just as capable of the same brutality as his parent’s murderers. Tetsu needs to face up to reality if he really wants to avenge his parents.
Peacemaker is really an interesting one. It seems to take the best bits of different animes and molds them together to create itself. It has the mix of comedy and seriousness that makes Fullmetal Alchemist such an instant hit, but bumps up the intense, hardcore action to a seriously high level. If you have a weak stomach, be sure as hell to have a bucket sitting next to you. While its no Blood: The Last Vampire, there is enough of the red stuff flowing to keep the action hungry, sadistic bastards among us happy. You know who you are.
Tetsu is an interesting character as well. He seems so reminiscent of Naruto, with the strong urge to become better and strong, the very loud personality and seeming to get into more trouble than actually getting anywhere. You can argue to high heaven if Naruto does it better, or Tetsu does the over-confident loud-mouth with more style, but the fact of the matter is that its this kind of character that fits in so well with this series that it really doesn’t matter. You still cheer him on, even when you know he has done some completely stupid.
Peacemaker hits all the right buttons, even with the other characters from the Shinsengumi that start to make their way in as Tetsu gets started in the elite group. They help keep the flow of the volume going with plot advances and making sure there are no boring sections to let your mind wander. Everyone and everything does its part to make sure your glued to the screen.
It keeps a good mix of comedy and action and never does either seem too much or over the top. When the serious action kicks in, Peacemaker doesn’t sugar coat it. When a sword hits, you know what to expect and boy do you get it. The comedy also makes sure that it never feels misplaced or badly timed, that it adds to the characters personalities and makes you want to give that bit more of damn about them because they made you chuckle.
Volume 1 of Peacemaker is a fantastic introduction to this series and can only hope this healthy mix of action, comedy, light-heartedness, gritty action and interesting characters keeps going in this seven volume series. Plus, its got a damn evil pig, how can it fail?