Manga: Samurai Deeper Kyo

One thing I will always feel proud of is that, my parents are part of the reason I got so into manga. And even if they may think it’s destroyed my life (NAAHHHHH), I’m still thankful they had a part in that. Especially dad.

This series is something my dad recommended.

Manga: Samurai Deeper Kyo 「サムライ ディーパー キョウ」

SDK vol 1 cover

SDK vol 1 cover

Samurai Deeper Kyo is a Shounen, action, adventure, historical, ecchi, samurai series written and illustrated by Kamijyo Akimine. It was serialised from Oct 15, 1999 to May 10, 2006, spanning 308 chapters collected into 38 tankobon volumes. It was adapted into a 26-episode anime that aired in 2002. Both the manga and anime have been licensed in the US, Canada and the UK. Samurai Deeper Kyo will hence forth be shorted to SDK.

Set during the Edo period of Japan’s history, the story starts 4 years after the battle of Sekigahara, Japan’s greatest civil war. Bounty hunter, Yuya Shiina, mistakes medicine peddler, Mibu Kyoshiro, for the legendary wanted man, “Demon Eyes Kyo”. As they travel together, Yuya enlists Kyoshiro’s aid in capturing a gang of wanted criminals. When Kyoshiro is beaten and cornered by the criminals, he draws his sword and his eyes turn blood red, transforming into the legendary killer of a thousand men, “Demon Eyes Kyo”.

WARNING: NSFW. Somewhat censored nudity. Lots of fan service with curvy women. Well, it’s ECCHI. Violence. A lot of blood and gore, like severed body parts. It is SAMURAI SERIES.

Dad picked up the SDK Tokyopop volume 1 from Kinokuniya and told me to read it in 2007. This manga was rated NC16 and at that time I was 14. I don’t think I had read such a violent and bloody series before this. SDK was also probably my first ecchi manga. It was a totally new and exciting experience XD

SDK starts out fast-paced and everything builds up quickly. It caught my interest from the beginning with the strong start so that was pretty great. I liked the progression of the story and how all the conspiracies and situations were woven together. Battles were intense and the standard was set really high from the beginning so action scenes just got better and better. After maybe about 3/4 of the series though (I’m being optimistic), it seemed like a lot of the fights just kept getting repetitive and it didn’t evoke much excitement anymore. It was either that, or the fights got way too overboard with characters flinging attacks at each other in the battle of ‘who has the strongest attack’ and ‘who can be the last cockroach standing’. I was actually kind of glad when the last battle of the series ended partly because I was continuing to read just for the progression of story until the end and what comes after.

The characters are generally all pretty different from one another, in personality, attacks, skills and backstory. I never actually got tired of new characters appearing because they were all pretty darn interesting. Besides that, I think SDK did a pretty good job on progressive character development. You could actually see the slow and step-by-step change within the main characters, whether on their personality, beliefs or what they stand for. Plus the plot twists featuring characters being so much more than they seemed added just a little more depth.


The art starts out a little messy where it seems like there’s quite a lot of stuff going on in a single panel, but it slowly gets cleaner and sharper. Even the girls get bustier and curvier. The comic relief is mostly drawn in a simplified character form which I have to say, is pretty darn funny. I like how a lot of the jokes are more ‘sarcastic’ rather than ‘silly’.

Ah. I should mention this though. SDK is pretty text heavy. There’re a lot of words to be read throughout the series. Maybe even more so later on when backstory is explained. I never realised it the first time I read it, but now that I’m flipping through again… I really can’t be bothered to slowly absorb all the information word-by-word once more, whoops.

Originally, dad was the one that started collecting this series in English, and we’d occasionally get volumes whenever we go by Kinokuniya. But halfway through he stopped reading so it was just up to me to finish it HAHA. Oh well. Thanks for broadening my ‘manga horizons’, dad. SDK was cool and will always have a place in my heart. (And the bookshelf)



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