In this conclusion of the Ronin Island series, Hana and Kenichi have to protect the Island and figure out how to defeat the shogun. The pair and their ragtag group of refugees have made it back to the Island, but the elders deny them entry because they are afraid they are all infected. Somehow, the people on the Island already know about the spores, even though that particular mutation happened just recently. Hana and Kenichi set up on the beach across the straight from the Island and prepare to make their stand against the Shogun, his for-hire bandits, and the byonin. Reinforcements arrive in the form of the Island elder and many of the Island’s soldiers. After the battle that robs the Shogun of many of his forces, everyone, including Hanna and Kenichi, retreat to the island to make preparations for the Shogun’s eventual invasion. Hana and Kenichi must make some difficult choices and sacrifices in order to successfully stop the invasion.
While the original story and concept of the byonin was conceived well before 2020, there is something well timed about a deadly virus that turns airborne and can mutate people into monsters. The Shogun is a man who has manipulated science into doing his own bidding, and he’s overall an ignorant man who refuses to listen to anyone wiser than himself. The parallels to real world 2020 are striking, and some readers may need some distance from this year in order to appreciate the story without reality blurring the lines.
There is a strong theme throughout these three volumes of chasing a sense of belonging, and it is unresolved at the end of this story. Hana is still an outcast, and the Islanders still have a deep-seated hatred towards anyone who they claim doesn’t belong. This is in stark contrast to the motto of the Island where everyone is welcome and can find a home amongst their ranks. The growth of Kenichi is understated as most of the story focuses on Hana, but he’s nevertheless made into a leader in the village and must help rebuild everything. Hana gives herself a task off the Island at the end of the story, and it could make for an interesting story, but this is the end of the Ronin Island adventures.
Ronin Island Vol 3
By Greg Pak
Art by Giannis Milonogiannis and Irma Kniivila
Boom! Studios, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: Teen (13+)
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Character Traits: Japanese, Korean
Creator Highlights: Korean-American