Bontenmaru-hen is an amazing manga!! Anyone whose a fan of the infamous Date Dragon Duo will love this story! Though the manga was published back in 2014-2015, I finally got my hands on it recently and will now do a short review, while keeping it as spoiler-free as possible.
First of all, the artwork is absolutely stunning! Drawn by the amazing Yoshihara Motoki, one of my favorite manga artists! A seinen style manga, the bold lines and heavy shading really emphasize the seriousness of this drama between Katakura Kojuro and Masamune during their early days together. Some dialogue is based on the ‘flashback’ scenes in the SB4 game sprinkled throughout Kojuro’s route. Mainly, how young Bontenmaru’s wild raging needed to be redirected into more productive actions, and it’s up to Kojuro to tame this wild young dragon…by any means necessary, for the sake of the Date clan.
Very intense, even violent at times, and quite touching in others, it shows how these two strong-minded men slowly came to realize, through carefully chosen words and actions, that they could rely on each other, and develop a bond of trust that nothing would ever break. And that only by facing your inner darkness can one truly shine…
This is a powerful story that, by the end, it had me in tears. Even though I have huge limitations in reading Japanese, the way it’s printed has hiragana and katakana letters next to the more challenging kanji words, so it’s somewhat easier to figure out the words and phrases. Honestly, it made reading some of the more dramatic dialogue even more powerful, since I was almost studiously reading it.
I highly recommend this manga, especially to you Date clan lovers.
“Từ khi nào em đẩy tôi ra xa, và chúng ta không còn là chúng ta nữa. Từ khi nào câu hỏi mọc lên không còn chỗ chứa, và tôi mệt mỏi giữ chúng lặng im. Tôi nhìn những vết đinh ghim, còn sót lại sau dãy ảnh hạnh phúc. Tôi đã gặp và yêu em đúng lúc, còn em kết thúc chỉ có một mình. Nếu tình yêu là cuộc viễn chinh, em đã chiến thắng còn tôi có tất cả mà tay trắng cô đơn.”