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Comic Fencing » No Need For Bushido

Posts Tagged ‘No Need For Bushido’

“We’re off on the Road to … Where?”

Posted on July 11th, 2008 by Anthony Cardno in Anthony, Talekyn, comics, two stars

TalekynNo Need For Bushido by Alex Kolesar and Joe Kovell
reviewed by Anthony R. Cardno


The Moderator pretty much said it all in his “next up” piece:  it is colorful, it is full of oriental culture, and it is somewhat in a manga/anime style.

I have to be honest, I had a hard time working my way through this.  Creating a comedy-action-drama, as the creators describe this comic, is not easy.  For instance, I think the movie version of Iron Man got the balance right, but Bushido struggles.  Sometimes the story is too comedic, rife with anachronistic dialogue (for instance, the seemingly requisite-in-web-comics diss of Canada, seen here.  Sometimes it’s too dark compared to what surrounds it (a bloody battle in a forest like this one.  Sometimes it tries too hard for a creative punchline (what exactly IS a “bad hair day’s worst nightmare,”)It doesn’t seem to be able to find a balance.

The characters, at least early on, are as one-note as the art is cartoonish.  The good news is, the art does improve over the 300+ pages of the story – it grows from wide-eyed and round-faced and flat-looking to more streamlined and possessing a bit more depth.  It does pick up more “typical” action-manga stylings as it goes on, and there are some pages that seem reminiscent of the style used in “The Gods of Arr-Kellean” (one of my current favorite webcomics).  The characters also seem to grow – as the creators give them more realistic looks, they seem to lose some of the rougher edges of the stereotypes they represent.    At the beginning, I decided that “Ina” must be Japanese for “selfish brat,” Yori must translate as “clueless simpleton,” and Cho Teko as “Mr. Miyagi.”  By time I reached the 300s, I still felt that way, but not quite as much.  Actually, my opinion of one main character did change early on:  by this page, I realized that Yori wasn’t just any stereotypical clueless simpleton obsessed with the power tools of his day – he’s Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor!

I have to give the creators of “Bushido” an A for effort – they’ve been plugging away at this story for a long time, and they’ve tried hard to improve their art and storytelling.  I also have to give them credit for the fact that the first half of the really did remind me of an old Bob Hope / Bing Crosby / Dorothy Lamour “Road To …” picture.  If Lamour were a loud-mouthed brat, Hope were a clueless wannabe-samurai and Crosby were a blind Chinese swordsman.  If you can struggle past the first half of the archive, you might find yourself caught up in the action and intrigue that develops in the second half of the story.  It couldn’t hold my attention, but it might hold yours. Rating: ★★½☆☆

No Need for Bushido
by Alex Kolesar and Joseph Kovell
review by Anthony R. Cardno
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)

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No Need For Bushido reviewed by Delos

Posted on July 11th, 2008 by Delos Woodruff in Delos, comics, five stars

Before I begin the review, I’d like you to understand my initial biases. One of my favorite comics of all time is the black and white masterwork entitled Lone Wolf. I am vaguely aware that oriental culture is regimented and more complex than it might first appear. With No Need For Bushido, I was not sure whether to expect a strict cultural sort of story, a parody, a satire or some mix. I was hoping that it would lean towards something other than a pseudo-documentary about a culture I barely understand. I was really in the mood for something lighthearted.

Sometimes, my knack for looking up side information on a comic pays off. The cast page is very informative and helpful in setting me straight. It offers this to say about Cho Teko, for instance…”Cho Teko is a blind Taoist priest who often spews absurd proverbs. He wields multiple bo staves in combat. Cho is part of a prophecy involving a blind Taoist Priest, a Hindu, and a Christian Priest walking into a Japanese bar, heralding the end of the world. He maintains a calm demeanor that seems to stem from his expectations that the events around him are determined entirely by fate.” I wasn’t sure what to make of that, but it didn’t sound too serious.

I also found this interview on Scienteers with the creators. NNFB was originally going to be an “outright parody of fighting based anime.” Clearly, NNFB is leaned towards parody and humor. Thank goodness.

nnfbAs of this review, there are 343 pages of NNFB. It would be hard to distill that down other than to say that the characters are always heading north. Take it easy. I’m kidding! If you really, really want the nitty gritty details, check the timeline or the wiki. You don’t have to do all that, though. You can get a very good idea of what NNFB is about by looking at the characters.

There are a bunch of very diverse characters. Ina, the girl in the story, runs away when she finds out that her parents want to marry her off for political reasons. Yori is the samurai who is avoiding his own problems at home. He tries to save her and succeeds almost unintentionally. It’s an understatement to tell you that his father is causing a lot of trouble for Ina’s family. Of course, let’s not forget Ken - the Ronin with his three-times-his-height-giant-sword, is out to kill Yori’s father and ninjas that are constantly attacking for purposes unknown. Cho is the blind monk involved in the end-of-the-world-prophecy but is not really all that concerned with the end of the world. He might be the only character that doesn’t have some personal stake in what is going on. (And these are just the main…uh…heroes. There are bad guys, too.)

All of that gives a bit of story to work with. As you can see, all the characters have some fairly dramatic things going on with big consequences hanging over them. This acts nicely as a backdrop for the humor. It’s also worth mentioning that the foreshadowing is handled very well in NNFB.

What is especially scary is that the nonsense spouting Taoist Monk actually makes sense sometimes. I had to read this comic several times to make sure, but he actually makes sense if you pay attention. That’s also about the point where the art gets a little crisper and more fun to look at. It continues to improve and looks pretty good by the time you read up to this point. The backgrounds get better and the coloring and shading get better at showing forms. The layouts get easier to follow and become more interesting due to the framing of the panels. There are some very good fight scenes and you even get some improv Kabuki theater.

I liked the action scenes quite a lot, particularly those using “Standard Horizontal Slice Attack” and the “Flight of the White Lotus Attack” sorts of anime state-your-action traditions. (That second attack would have worked better with a full length katana, I’m sure. Yori looked pretty convincing that time.) All during the ninja fight scenes, I was reminded of the Tick’s words of wisdom…”Ninjas are more afraid of you than you are of them.” The tone of NNFB slides seamlessly between drama and comedy - not an easy thing to accomplish.

The jokes in NNFB are fun. Most of them are character humor bits and some others are anime parody. There are a few visual gags like this one that amused me as well. NNFB is consistently worth a chuckle. The visual sound effects were novel, too. Some of them were what you’d expect - ‘boooom’ and ‘ploosh.’ Others were exotic sounds like ‘kick’ and ‘kneed’ and, my personal favorite, ‘girlslap.

NNFB is proceeding along a fairly well defined storyline but refuses to take itself too seriously. I liked this comic a lot. It’s got some story, some humor, good art and interesting characters. It’s fun and not too simple, not too deep - NNFB is light entertainment done right. Five stars. Rating: ★★★★★

No Need For Bushido
art by Alex Kolesar
written by Joe Kovell
review by Delos Woodruff
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5 out of 5)

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Foolish Samurais: A review of “No Need For Bushido”

Posted on July 11th, 2008 by Larry Cruz in comics, three stars

El Santo

In this world where we are beset on all sides by the Shaolin shadowboxing and the Wu-Tang sword style, is there No Need For Bushido? I climbed up to the Thirty-Sixth Chamber to consult with my Master. He greeted me warmly and poured me a cup of green tea. “Your heart seems troubled,” he said calmly, his voice like the gentle wind caressing the leaves in summer.

nnfb“I am torn,” I said. “On the one hand, my soul tells me to hate this comic. The female character named Ina fills Three out of the Six Webcomic Cliches as defined by Master Croshaw: Female Characters Are Hot, Female Characters Are Violent, and Female Characters are ‘Straight.’ Not unlike her other sisters in Hammerspace (such as Akane Tendo and Naru Narusegawa), her constant mood swings began to wear on my soul. The other characters are also cliches: the clueless yet startlingly adept samurai; the not-quite-stoic blind Taoist priest; and the brooding guy with the big sword. If I tried hard enough, I should be able to find their exact duplicates in Inu-Yasha or Rurouni Kenshin.

“Then there is the humor. It is cornier than a KFC Famous Bowl. The jokes about being in Canada or the samurai mistaking everyone for a girl cause my eyes to roll in exasperation. And ‘Holy Shnkikies’? That pale attempt at a catchphrase incites within me nothing less than a boiling rage directed at the True North. This is humor I may have found funny in Grade 3 when Knock-Knock jokes were good for a laugh. However, judging from the copious bloodshed and slight instances of nudity, I gather the under 10 set are not Alex Kolesar and Joseph Kovell’s primary target audience.”

The Master cupped a small dash of sesame seeds in his palm. “Yet,” he said, “for every ying, there is a yang. You admit that the comic does have its moments. Tell me, my son, what do you like about No Need for Bushido?”

“Well,” I said, “I actually thought the relationship between Ina and Yori was pretty sweet. What can I say? I’m a big softie at heart. There is nothing quite like the relationship between the dorky samurai and his lady love. Despite being walking cliches, I actually found myself liking the characters quite a bit … which is probably why writers stick to these cliches in the first place. The guy with the big sword, Ken, may be my favorite, just for being an unrepentant jerk with a love for theater. I guess he reminds me of myself sometimes.

“Plus the comic does a good job if mixing comedy elements with serious elements. I found some of the more dramatically inclined moments difficult to read and grasp, what with the warring clans and the vows of vengeance. At the beginning, there’s walls of text explaining it all. Eventually, though, the art gets polished to the point it can carry the brunt of the story, and the dialogue gets easier to follow. I also appreciate that the different elements were present from the beginning. It felt natural when Bushido transitioned from comedy to drama to action sequences.”

“I see,” said the Master, as birds lighted onto his palm to feed. “I sense there is something else you are not telling me.”

“This review might not be totally fair,” I said. “For you see, No Need for Bushido is about 350 pages long. We were asked to review it over the busy Fourth of July weekend, which for the most part I spent under the stars and very far away from city lights. I read the first 150 pages straight, then skipped around until about the last 70 pages. The rest I tried to fill in from Wikipedia. Curiously, the ‘Plot Details’ section also omits the parts I hadn’t read. The art evolves drastically in six years. It changes from being a crudely drawn cartoony images to a highly polished imitation of anime. Both styles do have their strengths: the early stuff better serves the comedy, while the late period feels more suitable for kinetic action sequences. Since No Need For Bushido dabbles in both, either style feels appropriate in their own way, though the recent style is far easier on the eyes. Don’t you think so, Master?”

“How should I know?” the Master said. “You just made me up for this ridiculously gimmicky review.”

“Oh,” I said, enlightened. “Well, despite not having read every single page of the comic, I feel confident splitting the difference with Bushido Muyo.”


“Um, I mean No Need for Bushido.”

Rating: ★★★☆☆

No Need for Bushido
by Alex Kolesar and Joseph Kovell

review by Larry “El Santo” Cruz

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)

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