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The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

“The Swordsmith’s Burden” – Kagurabachi’s First 4 Chapters

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   If you were burdened with the fact that your profession could involve placing dangerous weapons into the hands of madmen all around the world, would you still continue on that path? That is the reality of Chihiro, the main protagonist of one of Weekly Shonen Jump’s newest manga, Kagurabachi, written and illustrated by Takeru Hokazono. With its first chapter officially releasing on September 17th, 2023, the series has already taken the world of manga by storm, receiving high praise from fans around the globe.

   The story begins with Chihiro and his father, Kunishige Rokuhira, forging katanas. We learn from Chihiro that his father is a renowned swordsmith who makes special katanas with his own unique method. Chihiro trains with his father everyday in the art of crafting swords. A bit later, we saw that Chihiro’s father brought home three goldfish, which Chihiro finds strange. His father told him that, supposedly, the red goldfish attracts good fortune, the black one wards off evil and the multicolored one is supposed to be “totally amazing.”

   Some time later, we meet Mr. Shiba, an old friend of Chihiro’s father. Mr. Shiba told Chihiro that his father is a great teacher and that fifteen years prior, in the Seitei War, he was more famous as a swordsmith than those who actually fought on the battlefield. “It’s no exaggeration to say the epic swords he made ended the war,” said Mr. Shiba. “Don’t forget that. Your dad saved a lotta people. He’s a hero.”

   Later, Chihiro’s father showed him a sword that he had crafted before he was born, during the war. His father said that, despite the fact that katanas have saved lives over the eras, they’re still tools used for killing others. “We are complicit in the deaths they cause,” said Kunishige Rokuhira. “If they fall into evil hands, they can kill good people. As swordsmiths, we have to always keep that in mind. Katana should be wielded by those dedicated to vanquishing evil and protecting the weak. That goes for us, too. We need to have principles and accountability.” He went on to tell Chihiro that, one day, he’ll sell his first sword and that, when somebody hands another a katana, that weight falls on the shoulders of the giver. Chihiro was asked if he could handle that burden, to which Chihiro replied, “I don’t know, but I’m willing to take it on.”

   After that scene, we transition to thirty-eight months (three years and two months) later. That’s when we learn of a Yakuza group known as the Korogumi, who have begun spreading violence throughout a once peaceful city. We also learned that there is a group of sorcerers backing the Korogumi.

   We then switched over to Chihiro and Mr. Shiba as they traveled on a train. For the most part, the latter’s appearance remained the same. The former, however, bore a white scar on the side of his face and wielded a katana.

   “That scar,” said Mr. Shiba. “You could get it removed, right? It really stands out. Why don’t you do something about it?”

   “Every morning, when I wash my face and look in the mirror, I see this scar,” said Chihiro. “And I remember that day. So every day I start the morning with fresh hatred.”

   A bit later, Chihiro and Mr. Shiba infiltrated the building where many members of the Korogumi were holding a hostage, where Chihiro tore through a majority of the men. It was then revealed that Chihiro’s father imbued his katanas with sorcery and that they were enchanted blades with special powers. We learned from Mr. Shiba that the katana Chihiro wielded was the final sword Kunishige Rokuhira made, the one he gave his life to make, which hints at the fact that something dire happened to him in the thirty-eight months that passed.

   After massacring most of the Korogumi, Chihiro spared the life of the leader, demanding information on the group of sorcerers backing him, a group known as the Hishaku. The Korogumi’s leader told Chihiro that if he wants to pick a fight with monsters like that then he is insane, to which the latter closed out the first chapter with, “Do I seem sane to you? I don’t care if they’re monsters. I have to cut them down.”

Chihiro Rokuhira on the cover of Chapter 2

   Chapter 2, titled, “Heaps,” picked up where the previous one left off, with Chihiro demanding information on the Hishaku from the Korogumi’s leader. However, just as the leader began to fess up, his body burst into a ton of ginormous tree branches. Using sorcery, Mr. Shiba was able to protect himself and the hostage by instantaneously transporting them to the outside while Chihiro protected himself. We also learned that the Hishaku supposedly emerged four years prior. We also found out, from an inner monologue of Mr. Shiba, that Chihiro had zero combat experience before three years back and that he hasn’t yet unlocked his enchanted blade’s true potential quite yet.

   We were then thrown into a flashback of the day Kunishige Rokuhira was killed. His workshop and house was protected from the outside by a magic barrier and that it was configured to alert Mr. Shiba of any interference. On that fateful day, Mr. Shiba was alerted of such an interference, so he rushed over, only to find Rokuhira laying in the arms of his son, Chihiro. It was then revealed that, during the war, Rokuhira had forged six enchanted katanas and sent them out into the world. Upon the war’s end, he retrieved them all and hid them in a cellar under his workshop. However, on the day he was killed by three sorcerers from the Hishaku, all six of his swords had vanished. With his father’s corpse in his arms, Chihiro vowed to cut all of the Hishaku down, tears in his eyes. We also learned that, currently, Chihiro wields Rokuhira’s seventh and final blade, his goal being to find the Hishaku and all of the enchanted swords as soon as possible.

   Back in the present, Chihiro and Mr. Shiba arrived in Tokyo, Japan and, to wrap the chapter up, the latter informed the former that they finally got a lead on the enchanted blades and that there had been a sighting of one.

   The third chapter, titled, “Witness,” started with a girl named Hinao, three years in the past. We learned that Tokyo has more than a thousand sorcerers, more than any other place in Japan and that her job is to connect those sorcerers to others who are in search of protection. Mr. Shiba had approached her and informed her about the murder of Kunishige Rokuhira. After hearing the story, Hinao had put up a sign, asking for anybody with information on the Hishaku to come forward. However, no leads were found until the present time, when a little girl named Char came into the cafe with information of her own.

   A bit later, Chihiro and Mr. Shiba entered the cafe, inquiring about Char, who was asleep. We found out that a “bad guy” had been chasing her with “the most strongest sword” and she wanted protection from a sorcerer. When Char woke up, Mr. Shiba questioned her about the whole situation, but she wouldn’t give up any information. That’s when Chihiro stepped in and offered to take her out to eat, which she agreed to. That’s also when we learned that Char was an orphan, without a mother or father.

   At the restaurant, Chihiro asked Char about the person who was after her, but Char still wouldn’t budge. Chihiro then asked her about the sword her pursuer supposedly wielded. When Char told him that the katana emitted clouds, it immediately reminded as one of the swords his father had forged, which eliminated any doubt in his mind about Char’s story.

   At that moment, a sorcerer at the restaurant attacked a waiter and blew a big hole through one of the walls. The man snatched Char, holding her hostage, the latter begging Chihiro to save her. The chapter ended with Chihiro answering her cry for help, declaring, “You got it.”

   Continuing to the fourth chapter, titled, “Sorcery and the Enchanted Blade,” the sorcerer who attacked the restaurant and Chihiro engaged in a heated battle, Mr. Shiba using his old teleportation sorcery to get Char out of the danger zone. That was when we learned from Mr. Shiba, when speaking to Char, that the spirit energy that powers sorcery is life energy and that it exists within every human being, also meaning that anybody can learn sorcery,

   “To use your words,” Mr. Shiba said about Chihiro’s sorcery. “That is the most strongest sword. The enchanted blade amplifies the spirit energy inside a person and whips it into such a hyper-concentrated form that the human body can no longer contain it.”

   As Chihiro’s battle carried on, the sorcery he fought hollered out to Char, realizing she was still nearby. “Watch carefully and see what happens when you go looking for help!” he said. “It always ends the same! More people will die horribly trying to protect you! Just like your mother did!”

   After more of the sorcerer’s taunting, Chihiro had had enough of it and, by using a technique called, “Red: Invincible,” he was able to reflect the sorcerer’s attack back at him, defeating him in the process.

   To end the chapter, Chihiro agreed to continue to protect Char since they share common interests. After that, he approached the fallen sorcerer with three questions. “Who’s your boss? What do you want with that kid? And where is the enchanted blade Cloud Gouger?”

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Shanyis Jernigan, Reporter

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