The Complete Okko by Hub follows the story of a young boy named Tikku as he meets and joins the traveling party of the ronin, Okko. If you’re like me, you might be going into this book not knowing what a ronin is. A quick online search explained that a ronin is a masterless samurai.  The series is divided into five cycles, each more or less representing an element. The cycles are divided into two parts and were originally each published separately. We first meet Tikku in The Cycle of Water. He’s sitting in a tree watching his geisha sister, Little Carp, as she meets with a man. Shortly after this scene, Tikku’s sister is kidnapped and he embarks on a mission to save her. So how does he end up with the legendary Okko? Tikku pledges himself to the ronin Okko in exchange for his help in saving Little Carp. Joining Tikku and Okko on this quest are Noshin, the saké-loving monk, and Noburo, whose face is always hidden behind a red mask. Noshin also happens to be the man that Little Carp was with at the start of our journey with Tikku; he also has a vested interested in saving Little Carp.

What follows is a funny, action-packed, and sometimes brutal first volume in The Complete Okko. Tikku’s journey with Okko and the rest of their party continues in The Cycle of Earth, The Cycle of Air, The Cycle of Fire, and finally The Cycle of Emptiness. Among these pages readers will find vampires, giant combat robots, elemental spirits, and a multitude of other demons.

This series was originally released in the early 2000s so you’ll probably encounter people who’ve already read Okko. So then, what’s the draw for readers who have already enjoyed this samurai fantasy saga?

The Complete Okko boasts a whopping 120 pages of previously unreleased content. For people new to the series, adults interested in tales of samurai and demon hunters, or anyone who enjoys a thinly-veiled Japanese setting (welcome to the empire of Pajan!) will enjoy this. While inspired by feudal Japan and samurais, keep in mind that this is still a fantasy world. The author, Hub, is from France. The characters are over the top and I didn’t feel that Okko was an attempt at an accurate depiction of samurai and Japanese culture, but at the same time I also did not find that there was any stereotyping going on to be concerned about. There is some nudity, and as I mentioned before, violence, but I think mature teens would still enjoy this title along with the rest of its adult audience.

The art in Okko is beautiful, but it is also a lot more; I was constantly surprised at how thoughtful the art is. Take for example the opening sequence: we’re treated to a scene at sunset; a tree lingers over a house where we’ll find Little Carp. It’s in this tree that we’ll first see Tikku. As the opening sequence closes, the last panel closes with a scene that mimics Tikku’s opening; we see the same tree now empty and the same house where we met Little Carp, but we see everything from a new angle. The sky is grey. The house is destroyed. It’s a really beautiful example of the cyclical imagery that will follow throughout the comic and a perfect example of the power of art in comics.

A note to my fellow Canadians: Did you know that Okko was originally published in French? I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a great French title to add to my reader’s advisory repertoire that isn’t a title translated from English. Okko is absolutely one to add to your list of options if you have the French volumes in your collection.

The Complete Okko
by Hub
ISBN: 9781684150434
Archaia/Boom! Studios, 2018

  • Candice

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! After completing her MLIS (or, as she likes to call it, a degree in looking stuff up), Candice began working for Ottawa Public Library – most notably she’s worked as a Teen Services Librarian but she’s also dawned other hats including a stint as a Supervising Librarian and as a Digital Literacy Librarian. She is a strong supporter of the Oxford comma, dislikes lasagna immensely, and drinks copious amounts of tea. When it comes to comics, manga, books, and general geekdom, Candice doesn’t discriminate – she loves them all. Whovian-Amazon Goddess-Wizard-Sailor Scout- extraordinaire at your service!

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!