At TBG we pride ourselves on being a platform for the introduction of new voices; voices you may not otherwise have an opportunity to hear. So when we come across new and independent artists, we always try to share them with you. In that vein, we want to introduce you to Samurai Shin, a new collaborative work from the creative minds of Mikel Miles and Ivan Aguilar. Issue one follows the story of Amir Atsuko and Keith Masaru, two young rivals who seek to be worthy of being called Samurai. The story opens with a dramatic fight scene between Amir and Keith, one I found eerily reminiscent of those between Naruto and Sasuke, with Amir assuming the role of Naruto, and Keith filling that of Sasuke. To be quite honest, the imagery, tone and visuals of Samurai Shin pay homage to Naruto and Afro Samurai, as well as the anime and manga genres as a whole. Although familiar, I did not feel as if the comic was a rehash of things already seen, but rather, it felt more like a contribution to something conversant and well liked.
Miles and Aguilar draw upon historical themes in how they craft the visual spectacle of their new world. Given that our young protagonists are eager to prove themselves to be worthy of being called Samurai, I’m guessing that Miles in particular was influenced by the Sengoku period of feudal Japan when the title of Samurai was earned, as opposed to the birthright it later became during the Edo period. The introduction of Amir’s mother and her past as a legendary Samurai who served in the Guardians during the Great Kings War, does much to bolster this theory, as there were no more petty kings during the Edo Period. But, this is just me providing some historical context upon a fictional narrative. However, as this is fiction, I will leave it to Miles to share his inspiration with us at a later date. We’ll have to invite him onto the podcast to discuss it one day soon.
Overall, Samurai Shin issue one was a fun and fast paced start to what has the potential to be a very good new comic series. So far, the characters are interesting, and the layouts are vibrant and well drawn. In addition, for manga and anime fans, the familiar style certainly allows you to feel right at home despite the fact that you are embarking on a new journey. I’m personally looking forward to reading what happens in issue two and taking this new journey as a reader. I’m also looking forward to having Mikel and Ivan on the Podcast to discuss their inspirations.