Musashi #9 Volume One is rated “T” for teen, with a notation included for violence.

Musashi #9 Volume One
Written by: Miyuki Takahashi
Publisher: Akita Shoten
English Publisher: CMX
Release Date: January 1, 2005

The main character in the series goes by the codename Musashi #9. She is part of an ultra-secret organization called Ultimate Blue, which is also known as the “other United Nations.” Musashi #9 may only be 16 years old, but she is already a very skilled and competent agent. Over the course of this volume, Musashi #9 protects a high school girl who is being targeted for a reason that is unknown to the victim, a police officer being targeted for revenge, a scientist and his teenage son who are trying to get away from a group wanting to use his research for evil purposes, and two high school boys who have an obsession with weapons who find themselves mixed up in a kidnapping plot.

Rather than being one continuous story, each chapter in this volume of Musashi #9 is an individual story that is not related to any of the others. As I read this volume, I was riveted by the storytelling that Takahashi employs to tell each story. I was also impressed by how Takahashi utilizes the length of each self-contained story to develop the characters enough for the reader to care about what happens to them. Musashi #9 herself is also an interesting character, even though the reader doesn’t really learn a lot about her in this first volume.

The art Takahashi utilizes for Musashi #9 is perfect for illustrating the kinds of stories being told in the series. I especially appreciate how the action sequences are drawn to convey the action without overusing the “sound effects” and the “busy” panels that are so often employed in manga to illustrate fighting and action. I also appreciate how Takahashi utilizes different character designs in this volume. With the amount of characters that need to be drawn in this volume due to having several different stories, it would have been easy to fall into the trap of utilizing characters with a more “cookie cutter” look to them. Musashi #9 also has a lot of detail for the characters and the backgrounds.

Personally, I would recommend Musashi #9 to manga readers who are in their mid-to-late teens and older.