Book Review: Lady Snowblood (Guest Review)


LADY SNOWBLOOD by Kazoo Koike & Kazoo Kamimura

Review by Adeline Jaden

This is a  story of bloody revenge. When others saw for the first time KILL BILL’s poster, they thought: “Awesome!” When I saw the same poster, I thought: “Lady Snowblood!”

And I was dead on.

Who is she, you ask? That is the same question that lingers on everyone’s lips. Right before her blade cuts through their skull like butter. LADY SNOWBLOOD is a manga by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura published in 1972. It tells a dark tale of revenge and vengeance; the dark path Yuki must walk on even before she was born. A woman gives birth to baby girl in prison while she serves a life sentence. She has seduced many men to get pregnant and all her inmates think of her as a whore. With the baby in her arms and dying she tells her story. How her husband was killed by a group of con-artists to gain some money, how she was raped for days and days, how her 5-year old son was killed in front of her eyes. And how she wished for her daughter to carry out her revenge. Thus Yuki was born, a revenge spirit from Hell, an instrument of death, and an assassin.

Yuki is a reverse Snow White. Her name means snow, her skin is porcelain white and her lips are red. Just not by the prickle of a needle but by her sword. And she is not one to wait for a prince. Armed with an exquisite beauty, a katana hidden in her umbrella and many talents, Yuki roams the world killing those she is paid to kill and making her way to her family’s killers. And in this path she finds herself naked in various situations. Because if there is one element that is present constantly in the comic, that is sex. After all, the comic was published by Weekly Playboy. But instead of making it a cheap, steamy pornography, the creators manage to make art, incorporating sex in a way essential to the story and Yuki’s nakedness – titillating as it might be – is a thing of terror, not pleasure. Yuki is sexy, men desire her, they get distracted by her naked body and she uses that to her advantage. And she is deadly when she gets the advantage.

Yuki is a sexy Beatrice Kiddo, a methodical killer that relies on more than her sword. She is a painter, a singer and a pick-pocket when the circumstances require her to be. She can be innocent, respectful, seductive when she needs to be. But in all, Yuki is deadly. And unforgiving. No wonder Quentin Tarantino was inspired by her story.

You can follow Adeline Jaden on Twitter @AdelinaJaden


Movie Reviews: Kill Bill Volume 1


Once a year a film comes out that is a masterpiece. In 2003, Kill Bill Volume 1 was that film. We all know the story. Uma Thurman is the Bride and she is out for revenge for killing her wedding party and putting her in a coma. I watched this in the movie complex being relatively new the town I was living in at the time. You know the feeling. I really wanted to see the movie but had zero friends in this new city in the midwest.

I was so eager to see it I walked up to the window and bought my ticket for one. The girl gave me a look. You’ve seen it before. Ticket for one at the movies is like going to a restaurant alone.  It is socially accepted to do so, but people look at you a little weird. Like “too bad” look at him.

I didn’t care. This was Quentin Tarantino and I wasn’t missing opening night.

To make it more awkward, I thought perhaps people would want arrive early to score seats. Nope. I walked into a theatre with a pack of four girls, each dressed as if they were bigger superfans of Tarantino than me. I sat five rows behind them and didn’t realize we were at two different spectrums of dedicated fandom.

They were not waiting for the movie to start. They had just seen the movie and just finished watching the credits. They talked loudly (before the era of smartphones to soak up time). I’ve heard of people sneaking into movies, but sneaking into a movie without moving an inch is a level of dedication I didn’t know existed. So I watched them curiously. One girl had an invisible sword she wielded on her friends. I am not sure what the body count was by the time the crowd flowed in, but she was more pumped up than me by the time the previews started.

I watched the Bride do her thing. The movie was awesome. Hearing RZA’s score pump through the theater when O-Ren Ishii and the yakuza enter a Tokyo restaurant was awesome. It shows the mastery of Tarantino and what he can do.

At the end, I finally understood the girl with the invisible sword. She imagined she had a Hattori Hanzo sword and did what anyone does with it.

She put it to work.

Movie Rating 11/10 (off the damn charts)