Written by Greg Pak, with illustrations from Giannis Milonogiannis, colors by Irma Knivila, and letters by Simon Bowland, Ronin Island #6 marks the halfway point in the series from BOOM! Studios. The series focuses on teens Hana and Kenichi as they struggle to survive a world made desolate by The Great Wind.
Last issue ended with Kenichi being strung up as food for the byōnin while Hana made her way down the Shogun’s path. Now, in Ronin Island #6, Hana and Kenichi are being pushed back to the Island while Hana settles in and learns more about the Shogun’s rise to power. On the other side, Kenichi struggles to survive by himself out in the wastes of the mainland, fighting for his life and protecting the Island even from far away. Both of their paths offer a look at their characters in new and different ways.
For Hana, those serving the Shogun with her ask the question that has sat with me as I’ve read; why would you fight for and protect the Island when it didn’t fight for her, when it treated her badly? Her response resonates with me. She will protect the Island, not because it protected her, but because she knows that it should have. Hana is a stand-in for those us who continue to do good in systems that try to break us. We do good not because we owe it to them, but because we know that they should be good too. It’s a deep commentary that comes against the action of Hana fighting and byōnin being used as tools.
While Hana shines once again, the back half of Ronin Island #6 is all about Kenichi. Having been pushed into a decision, sell out the Island to save himself or be dropped to his death into a herd of byōnin, Pak takes us to Kenichi’s childhood. This trip through the past worked to build Kenichi into a character that is more than just trying to impress those around him and well beyond Hana’s foil. He comes into his own as we learn about his father, their relationship, and how Kenichi takes his teachings to heart.
Beyond a beautiful story from Pak, Milonogiannis’s art is as phenomenal as ever, specifically in the panel above which features three byōnin fusing together in a mass. To complement the monstrosity, Knivila’s colors blend into each other. Brown, green, red, and tinges of purple, it all works perfectly. In addition, the action remains dynamic as it has been throughout the entire series.
Overall, there isn’t much more that I can say about Ronin Island #6. It’s good, like the rest of the series has been but really separates itself from other issues by offering character depth and details. Our leads are evolving, and it’s perfect.
Ronin Island #6 is available now in comic book stores everywhere.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.