Assassination Classroom Creator’s New Shonen Series Makes Running Away a Superpower

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Elusive Samurai, Chapter #1, by Yūsei Matsui, John Werry and John Hunt, available now in English from Viz Media.

Shonen Jump's latest addition comes from a magazine veteran, Yūsei Matsui, who is mainly known for his hit manga, Assassination Classroom. Titled The Elusive Samurai, this follow-up manga is set during the Nanboku-chō period of Japanese history (1336-92). Hojo Tokiyuki is a young noble and successor to the Kamakura Shogunate. At eight-years-old, his only real talent is finding his way out of sticky situations.

As a Jump protagonist, Tokiyuki is a bit of a departure from the headstrong, battle-focused lead that's prevalent in many action series from the magazine's history. That said, he is reminiscent of Nagisa, the main character of Assassination Classroom, in that he's strong in less conventional ways.

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Much like Nagisa, Tokiyuki's physical abilities are lacking. Nagisa makes up for it in his keen observational skills and stealthy movements, making him an ideal assassin. Tokiyuki, on the other hand, has some truly wild survival instincts.

The Elusive Samurai Hojo Tokiyuki Running

His knack for running and hiding has given him a bit of a reputation around his home of Kamakura. He doesn't exactly prove himself to be a promising successor, because many don't expect much from him as a warrior, but they do agree that his elusiveness is second to none. Tokiyuki has very strong reflexes, evidenced by Kunitoki, his half-brother, attempting to kick a ball at his head and Tokiyuki dodging it without so much as a change in expression. His brother tells him that in certain circumstances he could use that ability to become a hero.

When the town of Kamakura is betrayed and death invades Tokiyuki's complacent existence, this idea is reinforced by Suwa, a Shinto priest. He explains to Tokiyuki that he has a keen sense of danger and through his ability to escape death, he will become a lord of war and alter the destiny of Japan at just age 10. Any attempt on his life will end in failure and this will continually vex his enemies, preventing them from truly conquering and ruling the Kamakura shogunate.

Elusive Samurai Tokyuki Using Soldiers Faces As Platforms

But it's not until Tokiyuki is thrown into battle (literally) in The Elusive Samurai opening chapter, that we get a sense of just how strong his survival skills are, as he swiftly dodges attacks from a group of soldiers, using their faces as platforms to return to safety.

While Tokiyuki's ability to stay alive is impressive and necessary to avenge his family, just surviving is only part of the battle. He will need the power of his comrades and may have to muster some of his own wisdom and strength to win in the upcoming battles. What he cannot achieve through pure attacking power, he will likely accomplish through clever maneuvering and calculated strikes, all the while escaping death as the titular "elusive samurai."

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