Have you ever watched the movie Lilo and Stitch and wondered to yourself, “Man, what would happen if Stitch crash landed in feudal Japan instead of modern Hawai’i?” No? You never wondered that? Well, the manga series Stitch and the Samurai hopes to answer that question anyway.
In this series, Stitch’s ship crash lands in Sengoku-era Japan right in front of a warlord by the name of Mikoto Yamato who is in the process of invading nearby lands. The first volume shows Yamato and Stitch getting to know one another while Stitch continues to distract Yamato from his duties as a warlord. Volume 2 continues where Volume 1 left off and brings us Jumba and Pleakley on the trail of Stitch. That is, until they erase their own memories. The remainder of the volume goes back and forth between the mind wiped Jumba/Pleakley and Yamato trying to return to a bit of normalcy while still promoting the greatness of Stitch.
If you read the premise and are interested in this series – good. So was I. The entire premise is ridiculous, but works. The art is fantastic. Hiroto Wada’s more traditional manga art style when sitting side by side with the American cartoons of Stitch and his alien trackers is amazing. It’s such a fun juxtaposition when you see them side-by-side that it’s hard not to snicker at the entire concept.
The second volume also introduces us to a ghost who ends up befriending Stitch at night. The ghost lived in a gift that Yamato received. Well, the ghost just wanted to play with Stitch and has a huge crush on on of Yamato’s lead soldiers. It just gets sillier from there.
Look, I get this concept will not work indefinitely. One of the things that made Lilo and Stitch work was that it was a self-contained story with a defined ending. This really could use a defined ending and, perhaps, the final volume provides us with that. I am not sure yet, but am ready to find out. Overall, I liked it and the humor/story is aimed at all audiences so this is a story that can be shared with the entire family.
Overall Rating: 8
Art: 9 — I love the contrast of manga and Disney art styles side by side in one single, cohesive story. It makes Stitch look even more fantastical and over the top than normal, which actually works to the benefit of the overall story. Loved it.
Characters: 8 — Stitch is fantastic, retaining his personality from the films very well, while Yamato the supporting cast are fun as well. Volume two introduces a new ghost friend who is a welcome addition to the cast.
Story: 7 — There is some semblance of overall story, but it is pretty low key so far. I know eventually Yamato needs to return to being a warlord, but that entire story and the capture of Stitch is currently on-hold as we just get stories and moments with the cast. While that’s not something to hang a long running series on, it works for this short, 3 volume series so far.
Story and Art: Hiroto Wada
Translator: Jason Muell
Copy Editor: Seaon Doyle
Cover Colors/Designer: Sol DeLeo
Retouching and Lettering: Vibraant Publishing Studio
Stitch and the Samurai, Volume 2 is published by TOKYOPOP, which provided a review copy.