Hey guys! Man, I’ve just been typing and-a typing at my keyboard all day. I started writing this Sunday, right after putting the “pause” on my review for the first half of Season 1 of The Owl House and putting up my recap of One Piece Chapter 975. It feels good to have a bunch of posts just ready to go. I can can just press post and be done with it! I don’t even know when you’re seeing this post; that’s how far I am! I guess it all depends on when I finish writing this. But we’re not here to talk about that; we’re here to talk about “Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru;” the new series by Naruto creator, Masashi Kishimoto.
It was cancelled. It wasn’t selling well, Shonen Jumps target demographic(young boys) weren’t into it, so Shueisha axed it. I’ll give it this, though; it made it further than Tokyo Shinobi Squad and The Last Saiyuki. Those series were cancelled before chapter 30; “Samurai 8” made it all the was to chapter 43 before they put the series down. And I think that’s because it had Kishimoto’s name attached to it, so they were holding out hope that people would be drawn in by a name they recognize. Plus; the main selling point of the series was “A new series from the creator of Naruto!” Naruto was a MASSIVE series for Shonen Jump; they were probably expected a similar reception. Especially sense their biggest series, One Piece, is setting up its endgame. For all the joke, I think the flashback is enough proof: One Piece only has a few more years left in it. Shonen Jump needs something to be just as popular to fill the void. “Samurai 8” just couldn’t do it.
The story follows the titular Hachimaru; a “bubble boy” with dreams of becoming a Samurai. Problem: He’s a twig. He’s been hooked up to a life support machine that takes up most of his house for his entire life. His dog is a robot that says “meow” instead of barking, and he hates pain. Even so much as a cheese knife is enough to scare him. But that all changes when he meets the legendary samurai; Daruma “The Lone Wolfe.” Who ended up in the body of a cat. While Hachimaru’s dad is away to get stuff for his portable life support machine; the 2 talk, and Hachimaru eventually gets Daruma to make him his apprentice.
Now I think is the time to tell you what went wrong with the series: Chapter 1. I was SO confused when reading it. I think I read the whole thing(72 pages in length) 2 or 3 times that day. Bad sign. It was so confusing because there was a lot going on at once; you had the Samurai legends being explained, the mechanics of how battles are going to work in this series, the art was…..pretty fre@kin’ GREAT, but it had a lot going on at once to properly enjoy. I think the problem was that Kishimoto looked at what he did with Naruto, and wanted his next work to be “better.” The problem he saw was that it took a long time to work out how to do battles that he forgot about world building. So he tried to build the world from the start-in a “here it is, okay? Now leave me alone!” manor; not in the same way Oda built his world. The world building of Naruto was virtually non-existent; “Samurai 8” was just really heavy handed on it, and tried to just get it out of the way rather than taking time and doing this right.
One improvement over Naruto is the “romance” aspect of the story. This is actually fairly recent development in the story-like; 2 or 3 chapters ago. Too bad it happened right at the end of it. Hachimaru and his “fated princess,” Ann, went through an “awkward point” in their relationship. Ann’s story is that she’s an orphan; the only family she had in this world was her adoptive older brother, “Nanashi,” for “Nameless.” He’s the second character to be called “nameless,” but more on that a little bit later. Ann’s brother died trying to become a Samurai, leaving her completely orphaned. Along came Hachimaru. Yeah; who she was fated to be with-she could only see her older brother. But Hachimaru saw her as a “Princess he’s to protect;” just a friend. They couldn’t see each other in a romantic light. In that way; their relationship worked-to a point.
When Goku(I know), another samurai, came into their lives; he threw a wrench in things. You know how boys are with swords in anime, so Hachimaru challenged Goku to a fight and lost. And when Ann tried to help him up; Hachimaru’s took out his anger and jealousy on her. They went silent for a while, and finally talked bout their relationship going forward. CANCELLATION. But at least Kishimoto made a better love story!
Usually; I just go on and on about the characters. But I think I should talk about “Samurai” in the since of the series. We all know what a Samurai is, right? No need for me to go over that? And if there is, then you can just visit the link? Alright? Alright! Now in the sense of “Samurai 8;” the way you become a Samurai is committing seppuku in front of a locker ball. If you are “chosen;” you will come back to life as a Samurai-cyborg. And this cyborgs work like cyborgs in Boruto; they regenerate. But not from tech. They’re made of of these things called “H particles.” Hachimaru commits seppuku to save his dad, and the locker ball turns him into a samurai-or, at least; a samurai in training. To become a full fledge samurai; he needs a “key holder-” an animal companion, and a “Fated princess,” which was Ann.
Like I said; chapter 1 had a lot to unpack. But other problems came from the fact that, at times…….it wasn’t really all that interesting. It took like 13 chapters for people to get into the story. Which means it’s already dead! The “Rule of 3;” you have 3 chapters/episodes to hook someone. Then they can decide to drop it or keep going. You’re getting good 13 chapters in?! But after that hump, it starts to get really good. Between Hachimaru trying to gain Ann’s affection, learning what it means to “practice what you preach,” and the fights; it was a pretty interesting story, for most.
Now that “Samurai 8” is over; what’s next for Kishimoto? He’s in a very rare position. Usually; the mangaka has a failed 1 or 2 series and then a huge hit(just look at Yuki Tabata and Kohei Horikoshi), but with Kishimoto; he had a mega hit still going to this day, and a second series that almost made it to his ideal “10 volumes.” It’s not like it’s a complete failure, but it was cancelled. So he either does a short term serialization like Tite Kubo is doing with Burn The Witch to redeem his name and then “go out a champ.” Or he can take this L, and leave the industry with his head held high. It’s not like money’s a problem for him; he’s still getting royalties for Naruto and Boruto.
Whatever the future holds for this man; I wish him the best of luck. See you guys later!