Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories TP (Manga)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 2/6/13
Price: $12.99
Creator: Hiroaki Samura
Format: 224 pgs., B&W, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9-781-6165-5065-3
Age Rating: Teen
ICv2 Rating: 3 stars out of 5
From the creator of Blade of the Immortal, Hiroaki Samura, comes this anthology of short stories which mixes genres, characters, stories and ideas to create a strong collection of fun and enjoyment. In the first story, Samura takes readers into the Wild West and tells the bloody tale of a woman nicknamed Black Rose as she collects the bounty on a criminal while simultaneously freeing a girl from a lifetime of servitude in the whorehouses.  From there we get a story about a father with a strange fetish and his daughter before moving along to a series of stories about a two teenage girls in modern times who have absolutely nothing to talk about and yet are strangely funny.  These are just a few of the stories that you'll find and enjoy in this collection from Dark Horse Comics.
In any anthology or collection, the author can find himself falling into holes such as incomplete stories that leave the reader frustrated or stories that have no point which can also leave the audience frustrated or confused.  That's not a problem in this anthology as every story manages to tell a complete tale within only a few pages.  While they don't always have a point (the chapters dedicated to The Uniforms Stay On stories are a prime example of this), they always have a solid beginning, middle and end which gives the reader closure on each chapter.  If it feels like the story is building towards something, you can be sure that it will actually get there at some point in the future.
Couple this along with very detailed artwork that goes heavy on the shading and you have a great little anthology that is certain to please those who are already familiar with Samura's work and those who are experiencing it for the first time.  This is a great, quick read that is perfect for short trips or light bedtime reading.  Not too dark nor too light, Dark Horse has published a short little winner here.
--L.B. Bryant