ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2 is a continuation of mangaka Minoji Kurata’s manga adaptation of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China and picks up right where the last volume left off. Like volume 1, volume 2 was originally serialized in Monthly Sunday Gene-X, with the English translation by Caleb Cook and retouches and lettering by Brandon Bovia. It is published in English by VIZ Media.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2 picks up with Shao on the run after the events of the first volume. The fighting and destruction as she makes her escape are incredibly well-presented, and I am a huge fan of the artwork in this series so far. From there we get to what I actually find most interesting about the series so far, the story of Lisa. I am typically really turned off by the transitions from in-animus to real life within the Assassin’s Creed games themselves, but in Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun  it seems to work in a way that I really enjoyed.

Watching Lisa struggle with her own failures and how they are almost in step with Shao’s is really fascinating to see. Lisa is putting herself in Shao’s shoes both literally and figuratively, and the way she handles that is well written and authentic. In Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2 we are introduced to Mari, one of Lisa’s friends. As they are catching up, they are met by a man claiming to be an assassin asking Lisa to come meet with him and his group. It’s here that the story begins to really take off. Lisa is presented with the danger she faces, and is even told directly that Dr. Kagami is only using her to find the Precursor Box. Lisa is faced with a difficult choice to make, and wants to be back in Shao’s shoes to see how things panned out for her. This could be dangerous for her, but I won’t spoil that here.

For me, the most interesting thing in this series is the way both Lisa and Shao battle their inner demons. Sure there are outside foes to fight, but both are struggling with the weight of responsibility for things that went bad. Lisa is leaning on Shao’s experience to help her figure out how to deal with her own issues, and the way it is written out just works so well. I think the concept of in-animus and real life stories works better when explored in manga format than in the game, since in the games it just feels like the real life events are taking away from my time in whatever world I’m playing in. Although, I suppose in a way that’s how people like Lisa feel when they are pulled out of the animus too.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2 continues to build the stories of both Lisa and Shao, with several new characters introduced and higher stakes beginning to be set. The story is starting to unravel, and I can’t wait to see how Lisa and the Assassins manage to stop the Templars. I also can’t wait to see how Lisa manages to defeat her own inner turmoil, arguably the most interesting storyline in the series so far.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2 is available on August 17th  wherever books are sold.

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2
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TL;DR

Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun Volume 2 continues to build the stories of both Lisa and Shao, with several new characters introduced and higher stakes beginning to be set. The story is starting to unravel, and I can’t wait to see how Lisa and the Assassins manage to stop the Templars. I also can’t wait to see how Lisa manages to defeat her own inner turmoil, arguably the most interesting storyline in the series so far.