Blade of the Immortal is one of my top samurai stories as well as one of my favorite manga in general. It’s unique in comparison to other samurai titles too, so it really stands out. Not only do I think the concept of revenge is handled really well in this story, but Hiroaki Samura modernized this one in a way that makes it feel fresh thanks to the personalities and actions of the characters in this story.
It has some of my favorite characters in all of manga and the development of all the characters is just so expertly done. Hiroaki Samura also has this sketchy, gritty art style that I personally love; His work just feels raw and visceral and it invokes an emotional response. Of course, there’s so much more to it, but a short explanation as to why I love it.
Blade of the Immortal is one of my most recommended seinen manga, but what’s the best way to collect it? In this post, I'll give you guys an in-hand look at the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Editions and talk about how they compare to the omnibuses and singles.
To date, Blade of the Immortal has been released with English translation in 4 different formats: 131 comic issues, 31 singles, 10 omnibuses, and Deluxe Editions. The most recent edition to release is the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Editions. Each Deluxe Edition collects three volumes, so Dark Horse will most likely be releasing 10 of these as they did with the omnibuses. The Deluxe Editions are the largest format to release of Blade of the Immortal so far and they are around 7x10in.
As far as cost goes, the Deluxe Editions retail for $49.99 USD, but I’ve seen them get into the mid-20s on sites before. At retail cost, the cheapest way to collect Blade of the Immortal right now is via the paperback omnibuses. The Deluxe Editions are marginally more expensive than the paperback omnibuses when you find them on sale for around $26 USD when sites run manga sales, though, which is an incredible deal given that they are hardcover.
One of the reasons I love the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Editions so much is that they are wrapped in gray pleather. The texture of the volumes is really nice. The color is a little muted in comparison to the other two deluxe editions that have been released or announced so far, including the Hellsing Deluxe Editions, Berserk Deluxe Editions, and Trigun Deluxe Editions—if they choose to go with that bright yellow we've seen in preview images—but they are still high quality nonetheless.
The text on the volumes is inset and has a glossy finish. In the center, you have a sticker of the artwork that’s seen on the cover of Omnibus 1. It’s placed in an inset square, which not only serves as a border for added detail but protects the sticker as well. The spine also has inset, glossy black text. Another thing to note is that while the other Deluxe Editions’ spines are rounded, the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Edition’s spines are squared off.
Another reason the Deluxe Editions are worth picking up is their print quality. The Deluxe Editions still have the best print and page quality out of all of the editions. This just comes down to the fact that this one is a larger format, so the details stand out even more and the contrast is even sharper than it is in the other releases.
The readability in the Deluxe Editions is better too, because while the other releases of BOTI have a glued binding, the Deluxe Editions have a sewn-binding, which allows the pages to open up more while reading and helps to prevent gutter loss. Since they are hardcover, they are heavier though, so they are easier to read in your lap or on a desk or table.
All editions of Blade of the Immortal that have been released with English translations read left to right, even the Deluxe Editions. The other Deluxe Editions that have been released so far for Berserk and Hellsing read in the original right-to-left reading format, which preserves the original orientation of the artwork. I really wish they would have done the same for the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Editions, but since all of the editions of Blade of the Immortal to release so far also read this way, I’m not as bothered given their quality. Would have definitely been a nice change though for this new edition in particular!
Since all of the Blade of the Immortal English editions read left to right, the artwork had to be reworked and they used something called the cut-and-paste method to do so rather than using the mirroring method, where the pages are reversed. This is actually something that was requested by Hiroaki Samura himself. Reversing the pages would have caused some issues with the artwork, especially the manji symbol seen on Manji’s back. Also, the scar on Manji’s face would have been on the other eye if mirrored. Dark Horse let us know that the mirroring method was used on pages or panels when it wasn’t possible to use the cut-and-paste method.
When it comes to the translation, it’s the same in all editions after doing a side-by-side read-through. The sound effects are handled the same way in every edition as well. The Japanese sound effects were only translated and redrawn when they were necessary for the understanding of the panel. As it currently stands, in every edition, some of the sound effects are redrawn whereas others were not.
Now that we've gone over everything, are the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Editions worth picking up? Yes, they definitely are. In terms of what reads the best and holds up the best over time, the Deluxe Editions are the best choice. They have the best print quality out of the three as well and are the largest format, so the artwork looks the best in these editions. They are a great value for their price, especially when you can find them on sale and they are one of the highest-quality manga editions you can buy right now.
You can get an inside as well as all-around look at the Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Editions in my review on YouTube and you can shop the volumes now at a manga retailer listed below!