Manga Review: Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume Two

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume Two continues to follow Lisa as she continues to relive the memories of her ancestor Shao Jun through an experiment.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume Two
Written by: Minoji Kurata
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 17, 2021

Like with the first volume, the second volume opens by following Shao Jun while she’s on a mission. The Templar Knights are trying to smoke her out by burning down a city, but Shao Jun escapes… but not before managing to save a young girl from certain death. But Shao Jun blames herself for the city being set on fire and endangering the people.

We then jump ahead to the present, where Lisa has finished a session in the machine that allows her to experience Shao Jun’s memories. She draws a parallel between the guilt Shao Jun felt to something that happened in Lisa’s life, where she thought she did something right but messed up a friend’s life instead. This then leads us into Lisa encountering Mari, the friend she was referring to. Lisa opens up about the “therapy” she thinks she’s going through, and Mari doesn’t believe Lisa needs this kind of treatment. Even though Lisa feels she’s messed up Mari’s life, Mari doesn’t think she did. A nearby man who comes across as a yakuza interrupts their conversation, saying that he agrees with Mari. The man says he needs to talk to Lisa about this “therapy,” leaving his card and instructions on how to meet him. It turns out this man is part of the assassins fighting against the Templar Knights in our modern world.

At this point, I was glad to start seeing the scenes taking place in the modern world finally start dovetailing with Lisa’s “therapy” and the concepts that have been introduced through Lisa experiencing Shao Jun’s memories. As the volume went on, I found myself becoming more invested in Lisa and the events taking place in the modern world. I think the introduction of Mari, as well as Kiyoshi Takakura (the yakuza man) really helped with this. It’s a good thing that Mari knows about the “therapy,” because she finds herself becoming integral to what’s going on. Lisa doesn’t want to hear what Kiyoshi has to say about the “therapy” and the side effects, because she wants to know what happened to Shao Jun. Lisa still believes that experiencing Shao Jun’s memories will help improve her as a person.

Between a scene of Dr. Kagami talking with another scientist about previous subjects and what happened to them, as well as what Kiyoshi reveals to Mari about the side effects, the audience knows that Lisa could end up in a very bad situation. And while I’m still riveted by Shao Jun’s story, I know that the more we see Lisa go through the “therapy,” the more likely she’ll start to experience significant side effects. In fact, we see Lisa have a hallucination of someone from Shao Jun’s time appearing before her in the real world. But Dr. Kagami tries to downplay the hallucination as a temporary side effect. But from what the audience reads in previous scenes, it’s easy to tell that Dr. Kagami is lying. All she cares about is finally having success in learning where the box that Shao Jun was entrusted with ended up.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun  Volume Two, since Volume One felt a little on the slow side and didn’t give a lot of focus or explanations for Lisa and her storyline in the modern world. I’m happy to say that Volume Two took care of this problem. I felt as if I finally understood Lisa and her situation a little better after reading this volume. I did also appreciate after hearing from Mari that she doesn’t blame Lisa for what happened, that in the next memory Lisa sees of Shao Jun, her ancestor is being told that the fire that destroyed the village wasn’t her fault.

I’m still impressed by the art style for the series. Since more time was spent in the modern world in this volume, I was better able to pick up on the fact that the look and feel of the modern day scenes have a different feel from Shao Jun’s memories. I can’t explain it very well, but there is some noticeable differences between the style used for the modern world and the style used for the memories. I thought this was a nice touch.

If you enjoyed reading the first volume of Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun, I expect that you will continue to enjoy the the story as it progresses in Volume Two.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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