REVIEW: ‘Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun,’ Volume 3

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Blade of Shao Jun Vol 3 - but why tho

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 3 continues the tale of Shao Jun in the wonderful adaptation by Minoji Kurata of the Assassin’s Creed: China video game. It is serialized in Monthly Sunday Gene-X, with the English translation by Caleb Cook and retouches and lettering by Brandon Bovia. It is published in English by VIZ Media.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 3 contains chapters 9-13 of the series and leads off with Shao still in Nan-an. Shao’s mentor, Wang Yangming, is also in Nan-an and Shao discovers he is in grave danger. After springing the trap set for them Shao has to act swiftly in order to try to save her mentor. I won’t spoil what happens, but I thought the action here was incredibly well-drawn. The character writing here too, both for the heroes and the villains, was top notch. I have been impressed about how much I care about even the smallest side characters, which is a testament to Kurata’s writing.

One of the biggest highlights of the series so far has been the beautiful artwork, specifically in the fighting scenes. The Assassin’s Creed series is well known for the fighting and killing techniques of the Assassins, and Kurata brings them to life with excellent detail. Each battle feels authentic, and the physical and emotional toll it takes on the characters involved is felt on every page. Blade of Shao Jun is easily one of the most underrated manga series when it comes to the visual aspect. It is up there with more popular franchises like My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer.

Outside of the Animus is where the story is really starting to hit its stride. Lisa continues to suffer from the Bleeding Effect, and the true intentions behind Dr Kagami are revealed. The real world climax is quickly approaching, and it has arguably been the best part of the entire story so far. I was initially disappointed that this part of the story was barely focused on in this volume, but I understand why. The development of Lisa has been really well handled even in such a short period of time, so it makes sense that more time is focused on the development of Shao.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 3 feels like the perfect final setup before a magnificent ending. The characters on both sides of the conflicts, both inside and outside the Animus, have been introduced and their motives explained. Volume 3 finishes giving most of the background information that is needed to really make readers care about how the conflicts will play out. Will Shao and Lisa both be successful in their endeavors, or will they fail horrifically? While the latter is assumed, I can’t wait to see how Volume 4 wraps up what has been such a fascinating story so far.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 3 is available now wherever books are sold. 


Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 3
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TL;DR

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 3 feels like the perfect final setup before a magnificent ending. The characters on both sides of the conflicts, both inside and outside the Animus, have been introduced and their motives explained. Volume 3 finishes giving most of the background information that is needed to really make readers care about how the conflicts will play out. Will Shao and Lisa both be successful in their endeavors, or will they fail horrifically? While the latter is assumed, I can’t wait to see how Volume 4 wraps up what has been such a fascinating story so far.

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