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Manga / Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru

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Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru is an action adventure Science Fiction Shonen Jump manga series written by Masashi Kishimoto, who is most famous for Naruto, and illustrated by Akira Okubo.

Hachimaru is a weak and sickly boy who has been connected to a machine all his life, and dreams of being a samurai, a cybernetic being who fights to protect the galaxy. His encounter with Daruma, a cat samurai, allows him to receive the power of the war god Fudo Myo-o and become a samurai, kicking off his adventure.

The series was launched in May 2019, with expectations from Kishimoto that the manga would last ten volumes or more. Despite this, the manga ended in March 2020 with five volumes and 43 chapters.

Not a sequel, or otherwise related, to Samurai 7.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru provides examples of:

  • Arc Number: Eight, as the title indicates:
    • Hachimaru has that number in his name, he's the eighth person Daruma has scouted, his first real meal is eight takoyaki (octopus dumplings), "Nanashi" hadn't talked to a human in eight years and Hachimaru is the eighth brother of the Seven Keys required to open Mandala's Box.
    • In a meta sense, Kishimoto's previous work, Naruto, had the number Seven as this. It feels like a natural progression for his new work to have the number that comes after.
  • Colony Drop: Chapter 16 dealt with the cleaved moon, Muun, falling into Hachimaru's planet and how everyone desperately tries to stop it.
  • Cut Short: Despite Kishimoto's hopes that it would last for ten or more volumes, the manga ended at only 43 chapters after ten months of serialization due to lukewarm reception from readers and low volume sales.
  • Cyborg: Samurai are cyborgs. Their bodies are entirely robotic and instead of spines they have a memory unit known as a key.
  • Double Entendre: In Chapter 6, when Hachimaru tries to *ahem* extend his katana for the first time, he fails and the resulting blade comes out limp and flaccid.
  • Info Dump: The first chapter is very exposition-heavy when it comes to giving technical terms, but doesn't do much to define the setting or narrative.
  • Implied Love Interest: The Samurai and their Princesses' relationship is treated like this. It is mentioned that the Princess becomes a source of strength for the Samurai as they must protect her and become stronger for her, but while it's never shown, A veteran Princess tells Hachimaru the relationship can be merely platonic or turn romantic. For Hachimaru, it most definitely becomes romantic on his end with Ann, but it's left up in the air if Ann ever returns the sentiment or sees him like her brother.
  • Laser Blade: The Samurai's katana is this; it's mentioned that the blade is generated by the Samurai's soul.
  • Match Cut: On Chapter 9, the shot of Muun being shattered transitions to a shot of a takoyaki ball on a stick, with the stick being the explosion on its surface.
  • Mythology Gag: There's a number of references to Naruto:
    • The VR headsets heavily resemble the Shinobi Headbands.
    • The spirit animals seen in the opening are strikingly similar the to tailed beasts.
    • Lord Mujin's Garuda battle armor form resembles a perfect Susanoo.
    • The laboratory in which Hachimaru and his brothers were created seems taken straight out from Orochimaru's lair.
    • One early chapter shows in the background a disassembled android that looks a lot like Sasori.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The premise of the story is cybernetic samurai. Daruma himself is a mechanical cat samurai.
  • Only I Can Make It Go: Real samurai swords have an ID check mechanism on them. It means only the user of the sword can unsheathe it.
  • Red String of Fate: It's revealed that Samurai Locker Balls are originally guarded by "Princesses", and when someone becomes a Samurai, they become bonded to the "Princess" as well, which now they must protect and the "Princess" in turn becomes a source of strength for the Samurai.
  • Samurai: Samurai are individuals chosen by the war god Fudo Myo-o's locker ball with the duty to protect the galaxy. They are considered to be above bushi (human warriors).
  • Scenery Porn: Chapter 2 provides two hyper-detailed splash pages where Hachimaru flies over the landscape with Hayatarou and gets to see the bustling town he lives in for the first time in his life.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Soul Power: Samurai have special souls that serve as their real weapons instead of their sword.
  • The Quest: To find the Seven Keyes, open Pandora's Box, and save the galaxy.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Implied Trope, as Daruma mentions that evil Samurai with evil Princess pairings do exist. We later see an actual example with Ata and Princess Niri.
  • War God: The war god Fudo Myo-o who created the locker ball, a small star that turns those compatible with it into samurai.
  • Wham Shot: Chapter 40 ended with a shot of Nanashi turned into a Samurai racing to rescue Hachimaru.
  • Wish Upon a Shooting Star:
    • In the prologue, Hachimaru sees a shooting star and wishes to become Samurai. Naturally, the wish comes true.
    • When Muun starts falling into its planet, a few fragments become shooting stars, which are used by the children of the planet to pray for their lives.

Alternative Title(s): Samurai 8