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"Steel of the Celestial Shadows" Vol. 1 Review

Volume 1 cover of Steel of the Celestial Shadows by Daruma Matsuura

Publisher Summary

It is said that a samurai’s spirit rests in their sword—and Konosuke can’t even pick one up thanks to a cruel curse that repels anything made of metal that gets near him. Destitute and hopeless, he decides to end it all. But when a beautiful and mysterious woman saves his life and his soul, it is the beginning of Ryudo’s journey into a strange world of magic that exists a step away from his own.

I received Steel of the Celestial Shadows volume 1 as an ARC from Viz Media in exchange for an honest review



Created by Daruma Matsuura, Steel of the Celestial Shadows is a supernatural period drama series that's published by Shogakukan under their seinen magazine, Big Comic Superior in Japan. If the mangaka's name sounds familiar, they were the creator of the series Kasane.

Steel of the Celestial Shadows was a series I had no prior knowledge about. I thought the cover looked cool but there wasn't much else mentioned during the announcement from the English publisher Viz Media. No one talked about it nor was there any buzz around the announcement. Going in with zero expectations, I was curious on what I was about to experience.



The art style is pretty cool and unique to see in a modern manga licensed in English. I really like the screen tones Daruma Matsuura uses in each scene. There are facial details that make the characters look more realistic compared to series such as Spy X Family, Honey Lemon Soda Blue Lock, or My Hero Academia.

The best I can describe it is that the character faces don't look "flat"? Ryudo's wife has an aethereal sort of look, similar to that of a full moon. The mangaka gives her that with having less detail compared to Ryudo or any other character shown in the volume. I really appreciated that attention to detail.

Ryudo's fear of not being able to wield a blade being publicized humiliating him

I like Ryudo Konosuke as the protagonist. He reminds me of a more extreme Kenshin Himura where instead of refusing to kill, is afraid of all blades due to an accident years ago. He's unemployed and his job prospects are slim because he's afraid of blades.

Due to this, he's the town laughing stock. Men tease him, women seem to avoid him, and children pity him. Through all of that, Ryudo still holds onto kindness and respect.

I admired his determination to remain a samurai despite everything. He still practices his techniques using a bamboo sword. You have to root for him.

His wife is a great counterpoint. She refuses to give up on him and is very supportive. She doesn't directly force him to cheer up like you see in other series (i.e., "I'm going to forcibly cheer you up!"). She supports him via other, more subtle means.

One such instance is her beating Ryudo at Go in order to get him to do things with her like normal couples would do. Want to go out together? If she wins, sure (and she always does)! She's also good at standing up for herself and others. There's a situation where she steps in and protects a child by calling out the tormentor (who bullies others such as Ryudo).

Ryudo's wife wagering on a game of Go. If she wins, they will go out for the day together. If she loses, the marriage is annulled and she will leave his house

She knows there's goodness within Ryudo so she doesn't take his dismissals and yelling personally. She understands he has had a hard life and as someone who has also had a rough living, wants to show him that she will always be by his side.

The story has an interesting premise. He not only can't wield a blade but also can't touch any form of metal . It will bend and reflect to avoid him. He can't cook with an iron kettle, can't shave, nor handle money since all of their currency was metal back then.

A blade bends itself in reverse from touching Ryudo

The story for most of the volume gives me March Comes in Like a Lion vibes. Ryudo is someone who's depressed they can't wield a sword or even cook for himself due to his condition. He believes dying is the only honorable thing he can do as a samurai. His wife is trying to change his perspective, trying to show him he has a life worth living.

Ryudo getting married, receiving a large dowry so he doesn't have to live in squalor, and having a supportive wife. These are good things that he is worth having, even though he doesn't believe it.

 This feels like a journey out of depression. An attempt to accept your past trauma and continuing with your life. However, this is not an easy or short journey.

Ryudo realizing he is allowed to be happy as his wife opens the door letting the wind in, erasing his depression for just a mere moment

With that being said, the volume has a slow burn until the final chapter, where it turned into an action/battle seinen. There are others with abilities like Ryudo who are part of different organizations. When one with such a power comes after Ryudo and his wife, we start seeing the elements of an action/battle series appear.

I'm curious at what this means for the future of the series moving forward. Will it turn into an action/battle seinen series or will it stick to its roots of being about Ryudo overcoming emotional and mental trials?

Final Thoughts


I thought this was a strong first volume, but it really depends on what you as a reader are looking for. If you're looking for a slow burn of Ryudo's his life with this curse, I would highly recommend this book.

If you're coming in expecting a battle series (think My Hero Academia, One Piece, or Jujutsu Kaisen), you're not going to get that until the last chapter in the volume.

I think Viz Media has a winner with this series. It will be a story that will tug at your emotions and want to see Ryudo to be happy.

Verdict: Buy It

Steel of the Celestial Shadows volume 1 from Viz Media is now available at all retailers

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