Lone Wolf and Cub – Kozure Okami – 子連れ狼

Lone Wolf and Cub is a manga created by Kazuo Koike in the 70s. The manga is set on the Edo period when the samurai had a lot of power in Japanese society.

Lone Wolf and Cub is a fictional story where some real historic events are included. The main characters Ogami Itto and his son Daigoro (fictional character) are falsely accused against the Tokugawa Shogun by the Yagyu clan (one of the most powerful clans during the Edo era, that existed in reality). From that moment and on Ogami and his son will seek revenge against the Yagyu.

Ogami Itto and son
Ogami Itto and his son.

Lone Wolf and Cub volumes
Half of the Lone Wolf and Cub Japanese volumes owned by my friend Yamamoto. The whole series is composed of 28 volumes.

Lone Wolf and Cub

Ogami Itto. Lone Wolf and Cub
Ogami Itto fighting against Retsudo Yubei (one of the legendary Yagyu Yubei brothers).

The manga was a great success in Japan and many movies and TV series where created based on it. Quentin Tarantino saw one of the movies (Shogun Assassin) and became a fan of Lone Wolf and Cub, he read the manga, saw the television series, movies, etc. He used all that inspiration to create Kill Bill. In fact, at the end of Kill Bill Vol.2 the main character and ******* (Kill Bill Spoiler warning) are watching Shogun Assassin laying on a bed.

And not only it has influenced Tarantino, many other samurai movies are inspired in certain way by Lone Wolf and Cub, Final Fantasy video games have subtle references to the manga; and also Rurouni Kenshin anime, the movie Sin City and even The Ninja Turtles have been influenced by Lone Wolf and Cub. For a complete list of works influenced by Lone Wolf and Cub nothing better than Wikipedia.

Lone Wolf and Cub
The TV series soundtrack.

2 Comments
  • SPM

    August 4, 2010 at 6:15 am

    The 70’s film series with Wakayama Tomisaburo are the best “over the top, exploitative action” films I’ve ever seen and a personal favorite in the (exploit) chambara genre. But from what I understand, when people hear Ogami Ito in Japan, they thing of Kinnosuke Nakamura (TV). I believe they translated and sell the manga in English in the US, may be worth a purchase.

  • Mike

    August 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    In Britain at least two of the volumes are available translated, but for some reason they are really small, less than half the size of our usual “tankobon” paperback format (which is just a tiny bit larger than the equivalent Japanese version)