Hiroaki Samura may be best known for Blade of the Immortal (Dark Horse), but if you want an easier (and less expensive) way to observe his birthday, I strongly recommend his one-volume Ohikkoshi (also from Dark Horse). It’s a unique collection that includes the titular novella and some appealing short stories. But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s see what some other reviewers have to say:
“Samura doesn’t give us clever plot twists or neat endings. His characters are messy, and the stories are as illogical as real life. This work is full of caricature, exaggeration, and just plain ridiculousness, but in a way, it also feels more real than other manga.”
“A romance comedy by the writer of Blade of the Immortal with cover art based on a Thin Lizzy album cover…translated into English? Yes, yes, (the album ‘Fighting’) and an enthusiastic yes! Welcome to the unique and rarely explored modern world of Hiroaki Samura’s Ohikkoshi.”
“I definitely applaud Dark Horse for not only supporting one of their top artists and rewarding fans of Samura’s, but also for releasing a manga that while still niche, is also something off the normal beaten path of dudes and swords.”
“So this is a turbulent, endearing work. I think it’s very flawed, but also very interesting in the way that only a real talent’s hazardous steps toward something not entirely familiar can be. Surely there’s no self-delusion: in that Afterward, Samura himself deems the works collected here as ‘just another average achievement.’ He’s both right and wrong, but his honesty will take him places, with the skills he obviously has.”
If you’re looking for something a little unexpected, particularly from Samura, give Ohikkoshi a try.