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House of Five Leaves, Vol. 1 [Paperback]

Natsume Ono

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Book Description

Sept. 21 2010 House of Five Leaves (Book 1)
A best-selling series from one of Japan's most respected authors.

R to L (Japanese Style). A best-selling series from one of Japan's most respected authors. Masterless samurai Akitsu Masanosuke is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve, diffident nature has more than once caused him to be let go by the lords who employ him. Hungry and desperate, he agrees to become a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a group calling itself "Five Leaves." Although disturbed by the gang's sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi's motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he's drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (Sept. 21 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421532107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421532103
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14.5 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Natsume Ono made her professional debut in 2003 with the webcomic La Quinta Camera. Her next works, not simple and Ristorante Paradiso, met with both critical and popular acclaim. Her current series House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Goyou) is running in IKKI magazine, and Gente (a continuation of Ristorante Paradiso) appears in Erotics F magazine.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little flash, big story May 28 2011
By Cheryl - Published on
This series is not for manga fans who like a lot of continuous action sequences, half naked guys and gals, and paper thin plots. This series IS for manga fans who love a good, well-developed story that will stick with you well after reading.

While the art may take some getting used to for some, I personally fell in love with HoFL after the first chapter. It remains one of my favorites and I highly recommend it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long and Meandering Feb. 23 2011
By Bernard Kwan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought volumes 1 and 2 of the House of Five Leaves in order to get a good idea of the style and the storyline before writing a review, as I had heard good things about Natsume Ono. However I was left scratching my head somewhat with regards to how I felt about the story. It's not that I don't like historical or jidaigekki manga or shojo manga, or that I am a hopeless philistine who is only attracted by the blood, sex and violence of say a Lone Wolf and Cub.

Part of the reason is the languid pacing, as though it were a movie shot by an European Auteur, where people talk and talk but not much happens. Part of the "hook" of the story line is meant to revolve around Yaichi, the leader of the group of Five Leaves, who is meant to be a beautiful and mysterious character, and the author wants us to be intrigued by him and want to find out more. I thought he was pretty two dimensional (all mysterious airs and no substance). Without an interest in the main plot device, it was hard to get into the story.

The style also did not help as the characters, be they men or women, all seem to be tall and effete, making the main character Akitsu Masanosuke quite unbelievable. He is meant to be shy and reserved but quite good with the sword. The set piece where he shows his "true abilities" and chases off some threating ronin was terrible because he looked too skinny to be wielding a sword properly and did not look threatening at all. There was also no way to distinguish the fact that he is meant to be "tall", everyone looked the same size. The female characters all start to look the same as the manga goes on.

There are some good dramatic parts such as when Akitsu Masanosuke bonds with the child that the group is looking to kidnap, but these good parts didn't outweigh the nagging feeling I had that I had better things to do with my time than read this manga. Also a glossary would have helped, as many Japanese terms such as yojimbo, etc are tossed around and unexplained.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique read, which will both benefit and hinder it Aug. 10 2011
By - Published on
House of Five Leaves is a very unique read, which will both benefit and hinder it. It's not a mainstream read, but it definitely has a niche.

Despite being about samurai, it's actually a very slow-moving story. Samurai stories mean action, adventure, and fight scenes, right? Well, not so much in this case. The lead character, Masa, is a timid and moping samurai in need of money. While he looks as if he'd be no threat, he is in fact a good fighter. He's trying to find employment, and ends up getting involved with the gang House of Five Leaves. The gang might try to think of itself as a group of chivalrous thieves, but when you get down to it, they kidnap. Masa is appalled, and yet this doesn't stop him from drawing ever closer to the people in this gang.

Taking place in the Edo Period, this manga is more about characters than it is about action. Masa seems to constantly look either sad or frightened, which can get readers to feel sympathy for him. On the other hand, it's kind of hard to get behind such a downer of a character.

It gets more interesting as some of the other characters get to be better known. There are some touching moments here.

The art style is most certainly not that of the average manga. Natsume Ono has her own way of doing things. She's a good artist, but the art is rough. Characters look jagged, scratchy and sloppy, as if they're early doodles and not the finished pieces meant to be published. It's an avant-garde way of drawing, but it's hard to get used to, especially if one is a fan of beautifully illustrated graphic novels.

House of Five Leaves is one of those stories that feels as if it's going to build up, but unfortunately its slow pace may have readers leaving it before it has a chance to get anywhere. It has a simple feel at the same time it has an artsy feel, in the sense that it's artsy by doing something different. It doesn't try to be bombastic like so many other books out there. It may not be for everyone, but it does have fans who appreciate the story's pace and the very unique take it has on the manga format.

-- Danica Davidson
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable first volume May 25 2011
By spacedog - Published on
i'd really enjoyed not simple, so i thought i would give this one a try. this is a period series, featuring an unemployed samurai who gets caught up in a somewhat unlikely crime gang. the book is clearly an introduction to the series and we don't end up learning a whole lot about the characters, but they all seem intriguing. the sense of melancholy that pervades the artwork is what makes it all work. the moral dilemma of the protagonist who needs the money for his family but doesn't want to join the group, along with his equally pressing need to belong somewhere and not continue in his loneliness are conveyed well, as are the shyness of the protagonist and the magnetic personality of the leader of the group. looking forward to reading vol. 2.
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Boring Compared to the Anime Adaptation. Jan. 22 2014
By ZeeZee - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first saw this anime adaptation on Crunchyroll. I wasn't sure what to expect, but ended up really enjoying this series. The end left things a bit too open, however, and I've heard that the original manga was finished slightly after the airing of the anime. I had to see how the manga version ties up loose ends, so I've finally had the chance to read the first chapter...

And I was bored to death.

That isn't to say that it's terrible. I just can't tell if it's a poor localization or else the anime was such a superb adaptation. The meat and potatoes of the plot is the same, but something is just not right. This is very hard to follow and the dialogue is poorly penned and broken. The translation appears to be almost too literal. The characters aren't as likable (in spite of being the same) and it lacks the magic of the anime version.

I'll probably stick with this 8-part series to see how it all ends, but so far I'm not liking what I see. Maybe it picks up a bit in the following books.

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