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Crying Freeman Volume 3 TPB

Crying Freeman Volume 3 TPB

Media Manga
Genre Action/Adventure
Publisher Dark Horse
MSRP $14.95
Release Date 09/13/06
Age Rating 18+
Website DarkHorse Manga
Pages 408
ISBN 1593074891
Size 5 1/8" x 7 1/4"
Layout Right-to-Left

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October 04, 2006

by: Michael Bartholow

Strip naked and prepare for a wild ride, 80s style!

Manga Description: A failed assassination attempt brings into Freeman's possession Muramasa, The Devil's Sword, an ancient blade that brings misfortune and death to any who possess it. To tame the sword's malevolent spirit, Tiger Orchid, freeman's wife, takes the blade to train with a legendary swordsmaster, but she'll need to find him in the Kowloon Walled City, a slum so virulent that it does not officially exist. Its dangers are all too real, including a criminal army bent on selling Tiger Orchid into slavery!

Written by the legendary Kazuo Koike, creator of Lone Wolf and Cub, and illustrated by the incomparable Ryoichi Ikegami, Crying Freeman is adult manga at its most challenging: dark, violent, morally complex, erotically charged, and regarded worldwide as one of the classics of adult graphic fiction. Dark Horse Manga is proud to present Crying Freeman, yet another of the jewels in the crown of manga classics, presented in its original right-to-left reading orientation and an entirely new and faithful translation.

Content: (This section may include spoilers.)
When we last checked in with Freeman, he was preparing for a showdown with the Terrorist Cell "African Tusk" in Crying Freeman Vol. #2. Volume 3's first 100 pages conclude this "Chakram" storyline as Freeman tracks the cell to its leader. A dramatic and passionate showdown ensues!

As the Manga Description above summerizes, the "Sister" story finds Freeman's wife, Tiger coming into possession of the most cursed sword in Japan's fabled history - the Muramasa. Quickly realizing that she can't rid herself of the sword without reaping horrible consequences, Tiger decides that she will become the sword's one true master, stopping its cursed history. This development doesn't worry Freeman in the least, as he knows his wife is of incredible mind and will. Her safety is challenged when her journey to find the only living martial arts master who can train her to use the Muramasa leads her to an abandoned floating city. Husband and Wife eventually reunite for a torrent of talented lovemaking.

The last story in this volume, "Tohgoku Oshu" chronicles Freeman's encounter with Japan's most lethal pro wrestler and part-time assassin, the titular Oshu. The two trade quite a few exciting fight sequences as Freeman learns of Oshu's plan. Oshu turn out to be part of a rival gangs attempt to overthrow the entire 108 Dragons Clan with the mythical Model 100 machine gun, manufactured in small batches by Japan during WWII and said to be more accurate and deadly than modern firearms. The plot thickens further as Freeman finds himself captured by the organization. As ridiculous as it sounds, they have plans to clone him!

While Vol. #2 focused more on the 108 Dragons Clan struggling with Yakuza for power, Vol. # 3 finds the 108 in full control of the underworld. Freeman's missions are more about business and the protection of clan interests. Everyone is gunning for the top, and Freeman just so happens to be the unofficial king of all crime groups. The final story about Oshu comprises the bulk of this book, but it's the middle story - "Sister" that really makes this volume worth a read. This is also the first chapter of the series that changes the focus from Freeman himself. Watching his gorgeous wife take up sword training is really pretty cool. There's lots of run and gun to behold. While the previous volume really went in one straight line, both narratively and chronologically, this one jumps around a bit more, shaking things up. It diversifies the storytelling while still focusing on established characters that we care about. Koike's writing is as exciting as ever, and really dates itself (in a good way) to the 80s. This is what Miami Vice would look like if it had happened in Beijing and got sprinkled with leftovers from Knight Rider. Tons of over-the-top action and lovin' keep you drawn in!

Art: Ryoichi Ikegami's artwork in this series just keeps getting better. The style is incredibly atypical compared to today's manga offerings. There are not sharp angles or progressive compositions to be had. Everything is rendered in a classical/realistic style that almost mimics watercolor. We're talking heavy, heavy shading and textures, and a real effort to render faces and bodies in an extremely realistic way. The love scenes become exhibitions for Ikegami's talented stroke (no pun intended!).

Fitting right on the shelf beside the previous two volumes, the cover art for Vol. #3 continues the Orange/Red theme. The featured painting for this volume showcases Freeman's massive Dragon tattoo and muscles. The rear shows the 108 Dragons Submarine base.

Translation: Check out the review for Crying Freeman Vol. #1 for an in-depth look at the translation and sound effects. Volume 3 continues all of the good things that the series has done so far. There were no notable errors found in this book. The text is understandable and very legible while containing the sense of levity that Koike's dialogue often carries. Much of the dialogue would be corny in a lesser quality story, but here everything reads urgently and seriously. The series is still missing a table of contents to sort the stories, but the reader will quickly become too engrossed to notice.

The Bottom Line: This series is such a great value. Where else can you get 400 pages of top-notch story for $15? Since the chapters are long stories, it's more akin to reading a novel than the familiar short-shot manga many of us spend our time with. Crying Freeman shows no sign of slowing down! Some might be a little let down with the focus leaving Freeman himself in this book, but there's plenty of action, adventure, and steamy love moments to make up for that.

Content The least linear book in this series moves the focus from the protagonist, but makes up for it with action. 6.8

Art The tempered hand of Ikegami grounds the fantastic events of Freeman's world in realistic and classical imagery. 8.5

Translation Another top-notch job from Dark Horse. 9.2


Freeman's third volume changes things up a tad and could frustrate fans. Those who've grown to love the other 108 Dragons Clan members will adore the added exposition time for other characters.

[not an average]

+ Character art is so good it's unnerving.
+ Looong stories in this book captive interest.
- Focus leaves Freeman a few times.
- Narrative jumps more than previous volumes.

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