Kichiro lost his parents to a vampire attack and winds up on the shore of Japan where he is taken in by the samurai Isamu. Isamu cares for and trains Kichiro alongside his son, Orochi, in the ways of the samurai. Unfortunately, since he's a foreigner, Kichiro can never earn the honor of the true title. There is a lot of tried and true family drama at work here. Kichiro has to contend with jealousy from his step-brother over the attention that Isamu shows him while struggling with his own sense of honor and inability to achieve his goals. The Bushido, the code of the samurai, is well-represented here with many of the facets that dictate honor or dishonor being major plot points in this first issue. The strict code of honor the characters uphold pushes the plot in directions you normally see, but how they get there is more roundabout and a fresh set of ideas. All of that said, the drama is over the top, dripping with angst and clichés. It is a story about samurai vs. vampires, remember? The drama is largely used to push along to the next fight scene.
Bushido is a damn good-looking book. It's detailed and stylized with gorgeous colors and incredible settings. This is a comic about samurai vs. vampires, so what about the action? Bushido is filled with crazy fight scenes and ridiculous moves: mid-fight amputations, throwing people through walls, and fighting in an undersized corset. It's not about realism, it's about looking good and for that the issue succeeds with flying colors.
Even in the midst of the fight, the art is beautifully detailed, and Jessada Sutthi did a great job of showing motion and playing with perspective for the art. Bushido features plenty of close-ups and dramatic poses that sell the Hollywood movie style. The letterer, Troy Peteri, impressed me the most. Peteri did a great job using coloring and different effects to characterize the sound effects for extra information and impact. For example, the effect “Szock” describes the action of a vampire slicing a man with his claws. The effect is all in red with almost fire coming off of it and is curled upward in the motion of the vampire's hand to give that impression of the attack's motion, pain, and that it's messy.
Bushido is the comic book equivalent of a summer action flick. It's fun to look at and filled with bad plot points, violence, and crazy stunts. Also vampires.
Three and a half Samurai vs. Vampire Duels out of Five