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House of Five Leaves, Vol. 1 Paperback – Sep 21 2010

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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: 21 x 1.8 x 13.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #527,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3687b88) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2f7bc48) out of 5 stars Little flash, big story May 28 2011
By Cheryl - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa340406c) out of 5 stars A unique read, which will both benefit and hinder it Aug. 10 2011
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
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
HASH(0xa34040e4) out of 5 stars enjoyable first volume May 25 2011
By spacedog - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3404474) 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.
HASH(0xa34044a4) out of 5 stars Anime comparison May 23 2013
By Iret - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was completely amazed by this series back in 2010 when it first came out as an anime, and I have rewatched that series many times, each time more and more fascinated by the story line. Three years later, I have finally bought and read all the manga volumes. And I loved it nearly as much. Though, despite being almost exactly the same in terms of narration, they have very different feel to them. Anime version gave you a little piece of Edo in which the characters just lived their lives. The manga is much more deeply focused on the characters, on who they are. This difference is very minute, but I did feel it nonetheless.

Past the volume three, the storyline does deviate ever so slightly. In manga it becomes more complex, introducing more characters, adding a few extra twists, and an actual samurai fight which lasts longer than 3 seconds. Some parts of it are magnificent, some, slightly less so. And I guess, at least for me, it does take away ever so slightly from the simplicity that the anime has, particularly the very very end. I still can't decide whether the last arc here was too drawn out, or whether it did not go deep enough. My main concern is at the last page, I guess. It did not provide the sense of fulfillment or closure as it was supposed to.

Still, though. The art is amazing. With just a few strokes the characters did come alive, and it was possible to experience their lives with them. And that is saying something.

This collection is a must have for any fan of the series, and every volume is very well made, too. It is printed on a fairly thick, good quality paper, and everything is very readable. I have to question a few of their translation choices, to the point that I actually wanted to find the original Japanese copy and compare what exactly was being said, but there were only few of those cases.