Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.
Basilisk Vol. 2
Author/Artist Futaro Yamada/Masaki Segawa
Once again I'm thrown into a series without volume 1, but the handy catch up guide at the front of the book fills in the gaps very nicely.
Essentially a tale of 2 ninja clans (the Kouga and the Iga) fighting to the last, a scroll containing 20 fighters, 10 from each clan, must be eliminated until one side is victorious.
The storyline is fairly superfluous to events, so I won't dwell on the meagre political dealings within the book, as that's just there to back up the fighting, which is brutal to say the least. Be warned that the book deals in quite graphic terms with murder, rape and torture. As such it's about as far from my cup of tea as it could get, but I managed to read to the end.
Taken on its own merits, the manga isn't bad. The artwork is clean and detailed, although it does occasionally suffer from characters being hard to distinguish from one another. The fighting scenes are clear, if a little fetish heavy at times (strained toes, massive breasts, hard nipples, that kind of thing) and the storyline has just enough meat to push the action along.
It feels very much like Ninja Scroll TV with 2 clans of super powered weirdos going at it, and I imagine the ending to this will be just as miserable as Ninja Scroll's was. If you like no-holds-barred ninja action with plenty of detailed images of young girls straining in every direction, this could be for you. For those of us with more delicate sensibilities, this is best avoided.
Not a bad example of its genre, but not for the sensitive.