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Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories Paperback – February 26, 2013


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Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories + Blade of the Immortal Volume 26: Blizzard + Blade of the Immortal Volume 27: Mist on the Spider's Web
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Manga (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616550651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616550653
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alt on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Hiroaki Samura is brilliant. Whether he's going for drama with depth or light humor, he absolutely nails it.

The lead story, "Emerald," is an American western (a genre that tends to share themes with Japanese samurai tales). Jimmy Weed has a reward on his head, dead or alive. A girl named Sara is playing a dangerous game to release her father from a debt. A woman named Rosalie ("Black Rose") tricks Weed into helping Sara, at the same time helping herself. Gritty and clever, "Emerald" is a fine piece of storytelling. The narrative is sometimes a little choppy, a fault that isn't present in the other stories.

"The Kusein Family's Grandest Show" features a teenage girl and her widowed father who is keeping a secret from his daughter -- a secret that involves the housekeeper his daughter resents. The story is an excellent family drama that avoids descending into melodrama. It explores fetishes and jealousy and a range of emotions in a surprisingly sensitive way.

A wonderful series of stories, collectively titled "The Uniforms Stay On," focuses on teenage girls who bond while having ironic conversations about the faces on currency, the importance of good food to religion, and the difficulty of dating boys. They talk about forming a band and argue about naming it without ever accomplishing anything. They comment on trashy novels written by teenage girls that appeal to prurient middle-aged men. They make fun of the popularity of Korean culture in Japan. It's all very funny.

"Brigitte's Dinner" is about a girl in 1919 who is living on the street with her older brother. She is sold at an auction and becomes a proxy for a wealthy man's younger sister. This is a poignant story, both sad and inspirational.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have to be an anomaly in that I have never read Blade of the Immortal, but I picked up Hiroaki Samura's "Emerald." I have no doubt that "Blade of the Immortal" is an amazing series -- it has a great reputation -- but I have a hard time picking up the first volume of a 25+ -volume commitment. Little self-contained volumes like this, however, are right up my alley. I love short stories, and self-contained books. I figured this was a good way to give Hiroaki Samura a shot.

I wasn't disappointed. Samura proved himself to be a versatile artist, working a range of genres within this one book and doing a good job with all of them. There is a classic western, a few high school slice-of-life vignettes, a sci-fi piece, an SM piece and a psychological horror story. The range is so broad it is almost like Samura is showing off, but because he handles each story so well you can tell that his interests are broad, and he doesn't want to be pigeonholed as "That guy who does Blade of the Immortal."

My favorite story in Emerald was the titular western "Emerald." It wasn't really a surprise that this was good -- samurai and western films have a long and storied history together, and anyone who can do one should be able to do the other. As has been shown many times, all it really requires is a change of costume. What's impressive about "Emerald" was the characters -- Samura created a cast of fully realized characters even though they are essentially disposable, just for this one story only. But Samura makes them live and breathe, and adds a psychological depth to the story that keeps it from being a straight action piece.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a grand divorce from the deeply involved, multi-volume series Blade of the Immortal, Hiroaki Samura brings us a collection of short stories from various genres. As ever, his art is very impressive. The collection as a whole left me a little uncertain - they were all very different from one another which resulted in something of a disconnect. One of my favorite things about Samura's work is that he creates characters of such depth, and while I didn't think that he would be able to do so in short stories, he pulled it off like the master he is.

The first and title story, Emerald, was possibly my favorite. I loved the clever heroine and if Samura ever produced a series based on this story and the characters, I'd be buying them with the same enthusiasm that I buy Blade of the Immortal.

The second story, The Kusein Family's Grandest Show, was deeeeefinitely not what I was expecting. Very twisted and frankly it made me uncomfortable. That's not to say it was bad - quite the opposite! The story was interesting in something of a horrific way, and I was very impressed with the costume designs in this piece. It was a story that made me squirm and feel sad for the characters all at once.

The Uniforms Stay On were a funny series of shorts. It reminded me very much of a common writing prompt that teachers make students do: go to a public area and listen in on a conversation that strangers are having, then write a story about it. These shorts are very text-heavy and come across as just normal girls chatting idle hours away. They were entertaining, but not especially strong.

I read Brigitte's Dinner on my lunch break at work which ended up being a terrible mistake - I could not get it off my mind!
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