Set 300 years after Utakata ni Warau, and 300 years before Donten ni Warau, during the turbulent Sengoku period, it is the story of a young man named Ishida Sakichi, whose mission leads him to encounter a pair of mysterious twins at the Kumo Shrine.
The story is centered around the Orochi as the rest of the Warau series are, and the overarching conflict is basically the same. There are forces that are all have goals in mind for the Orochi, and the main plot revolves around their clash. To be honest, the different factions and their dynamics were a little confusing, which made the plot of this manga to not be the most appealing. However, there are no flaws big enough to seriously take away from the enjoyment of the story, so it was nothing special, but nothing awful. As a side note: the story is explained well
enough that readers new to the Warau series can jump into Rengoku without any trouble. (I secretly prefer Rengoku to Donten.)
The art is probably where the series shines the most. Most of the effort is put into the characters in the story, all with unique character design. There are virtually no mistakes/warping, and it has a nice, sharp feel to it (partly due to the sharp contrasts of white and black?). The same-face syndrome that was a little noticeable in the mangaka’s earlier works have become much better, and there was almost no difficulty in telling the characters apart. The action is also easy to understand. The art by itself makes this manga worth at least a flip-through.
Most of the prominent characters are unique with their own motivations, and their own personalities, which was another appealing part of this series. Although there is definitely the feel that this manga is more focused on character exploration rather than development (as of vol. 7), the execution is interesting enough for it to add to the enjoyment of this series. The “8” is because of the main of the three main characters, Sakichi, is rather boring and flat. He’s your typical determined, loyal, courageous good guy, which was a little disappointing because he was part of the main cast. But the it wasn’t to an annoying degree and other two leads are captivating enough for it to be permissible.
Subjectively. Sometimes the story gets a little confusing and needs a reread, but this is a manga where rereading adds to the enjoyment. The manga volumes were well worth their money, and sometimes just flipping through to admire the art was good enough. The characters overall are memorable and the more that is revealed about them, the more enthralling they get.
Rengoku ni Warau is a beautiful manga with a great cast of characters that I’d like everyone to give a shot.