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.
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