Assassin's Creed: China – Manga Comic Chapter 2 - Review & Summary
“The Assassins Order, and the Knights Templar”
Sorrosyss & Markuz, December 21st, 2019

Note: Non Spoiler Review, but a full Spoiler Summary and Analysis follows

Assassin's Creed: China is a new Manga comic produced by Minoji Kurata, and currently being released in Japan on a monthly basis by Sunday GX Comics. If you happened to miss our review of the first issue, do please check it outhere.

The second chapter is titled “The Assassins Order, and the Knights Templar”. The artwork shown in this second issue is again of high quality, with some excellent inking and shading present. There is also a heavy focus on detail in the faces here. Perhaps a deliberate act by the artist, but Lisa and Jun look very similar in facial structure and appearance, which is a nice touch.

Shao Jun on the left, Lisa Yang on the right

A lot of the points we raised surrounding the first issue still apply here, especially those concerning how close the manga’s story is to the Chronicles China game. However, this time around Shao Jun has a lot of new conversations, goes to locations that were not present in the game, and is even shown for the first time as a child - as she witnesses a terrible event that has consequences on her Modern Day descendant Lisa too. Speaking of which, there is also a large amount of brand new Present Day content in this issue compared to the last, coming in at 18 pages of the 36 – which will be very much appreciated by the hardcore fanbase. For this reason, we can certainly recommend this chapter even more than the first, and it is comforting to see that the overarching narrative for Lisa Yang is satisfactorily continuing here.

Assassin's Creed: China - Chapters 1 and 2 are available online now. Naturally this is currently only available in Japanese, though English and French versions are expected at an undefined future date.

Preface: Kindly note that the following story summary has been produced with a heavy reliance on translation software. We cannot guarantee 100% accuracy of the details, but we hope this is as close as possible.


SPOILER TAG - Click here to unhide

Shao Jun's lesson of calligraphy
Beijing, China, 1505
Amidst a school filled of children, a five year old Shao Jun is learning calligraphy. Whilst brushing Han characters upon her canvas, her teacher Hong Liwei calls out to her to leave her brush and states that all children should come outside. When Jun queries as to what is happening, the teacher explains that the execution of a rebel is about to start.

In a nearby courtyard, the rebel in question – Liu Jin – is tied to a wooden frame, with a large crowd gathered to bear witness. An official shouts out his crimes to the people, stating that Jin had plotted to usurp the Emperor, as well as being guilty of manipulating the nation's finances. For his transgressions, Jin is sentenced to the punishment of Lingchi – otherwise known as “death by a thousand cuts”. Jun is shocked to hear this, at which point a man next to her expresses his desire to question the manner of cruelty of those in power. He introduces himself as Yangming. At this point the punishment begins, right in front of Jun, as Liu Jin is cut repeatedly by a guard.

A worn out Lisa insists to continue
with her Animus "treatment"
Yokohama, Japan, 2019
Lisa Yang begins to call out in horror whilst in the Animus, and is taken out of her session by Dr Kagami. Covered in sweat and tears, Lisa struggles to catch her breath. Kagami explains to Lisa that she has been exposed to a very distressing image, and apologises to her – though Lisa insists she is fine. Kagami continues to explain that Liu Jin was ultimately exposed to 3,357 cuts over three days before he died. Lisa insists that the experience feels far more real than VR, and that she seemingly feels everything. The doctor therefore suggests that they do not continue further for the day, but Lisa is insistent that they persist if it is the best method for her treatment.

Rural China, 1526
Shao Jun, Wang Yangming and Hong Liwei
flee from the Maijishan Grottoes
Having successfully survived her Leap of Faith, Shao Jun emerges from the midst of a rolling hay cart. Hong Liwei is also within the hay, having escaped thanks to Wang Yangming – whom sits at the front steering the horses along. Yangming was a decorated military man, and was known by many for his success in suppressing three revolts during his time as a national governor. What many did not realise though, was that he was also actually a Mentor to the Assassin Brotherhood. Yangming explains that they should take Hong into hiding, and the cart continues on down the road.

They reach a small village, which supposedly hides a few members of the Chinese Brotherhood. Hong is left to their supervision. Jun talks to Yangming about her journey to Italy, and
The first illustration of
Macau in the manga
meeting Ezio Auditore. In turn, he explains that he has continued a crusade against the “Eight Tigers”, and that only three now remain led by Zhang Yong. He regrets that their proximity to the newly appointed Emperor makes them difficult to get to, and that the Templars’ reach has become even greater with the Palace under their influence.

Yangming asks about the Box that Ezio entrusted to her. Jun explains that she did not understand its purpose, nor why the Templars desired to have it. He admits that had she not had the Box, the Templars would likely have killed her already, but it remains fortunate that they too now remain mystified by how to use it. He informs her that word has reached him of the Box being transported to a port town to the south known as Macau.

Yokohama, Japan, 2019
Lisa is brought out of her session by Doctor Kagami, who wonders if that Assassin village still exists today. Lisa immediately asks about the Assassins and Templars, and why they fight each other. The doctor explains that Lisa is an ancestor to Shao Jun, an Assassin of the Brotherhood, and that despite its name it is not a religious order. She insists that the Brotherhood seeks chaos, and strikes from the shadows to disrupt structures of control. The Templars on the other hand, in her words, are the bearers of peace and order. As a result, the two groups have always been at odds.

An illustration dedicated to the Assassins and Templars, featuring notable characters like Laureano
Torres, Rodrigo Borgia, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Connor, Haytham Kenway and possibly Arno Dorian

Kagami suggests that Jun's genes within Lisa will always seek out chaos and violence. Lisa asks if the Animus treatments will definitely heal her, as she desperately wants to change herself to be better. Kagami insists she is on her side, and that so long as they work together she will do her best to help her.

Meanwhile, outside the building a Japanese man sits in his parked car – whilst listening in on the conversation inside with a radio. It is the Assassin Kiyoshi Takakura. He says to himself that most of Kagami's words were filled with lies, and that he is not sure if he can complete his mission quickly, then calls on his mobile phone to someone he refers to as “Granny”. He tells her he has found the Abstergo facility and insists that the “girl” is being destroyed, but that he is not sure which Assassin it is they are drawing blood from.

Kiyoshi's appearance

Back inside the facility, Lisa returns to the Animus and starts a new session. Another Abstergo employee enters the room, and he is shocked to see her back in the machine, and is worried that the long sessions may cause issues for her psyche. Kagami snaps back at him, asking why he thinks there is a problem. She explains she is not concerned with the fate of the descendants of the Assassins so long as they serve their purpose – leading her to the “Precursor Treasure”.

Analysis and Final Thoughts

5-year-old Shao Jun
It is interesting to note that the vast majority of Jun's scenes in this issue are actually new lore content, and never featured in the Chronicles game. For example, we all expected this issue to jump straight to Macau, yet it appears that this Manga may actually end up running for longer than we anticipated. In terms of new things we learned though, it is certainly worth mentioning that the Chinese Brotherhood was clearly never completely wiped out, as had previously been suggested – based of course on the evidence of a village full of Assassins shown here.

Another unexpected element was seeing Jun at such a young age. What’s more, the Manga actually shows her experiencing first hand the trauma of the Lingchi (an experience which was actually mentioned in Chronicles China). There is unfortunately a dating issue concerning this event though. In the manga, Jun is mentioned to be 5 years old in 1505, whilst Scroll #1 in Chronicles China states Jun was born in 1506. In addition the Assassin’s Creed Tumblr stated that she was born in 1505, as does the latest version of the Assassin’s Creed Essential Guide. For the lore nerds this is a little confusing, to say the least, but we are going to assume it is a mistake purely confined to the comic.

For the most part though the manga does its best to be consistent with the established Shao Jun lore as much as it did in the first chapter, with elements like Jun landing her Leap of Faith in a moving cart after escaping the Maijishan Grottoes, or Ezio stating (mostly) the very same sentences he spoke in Assassin’s Creed Embers about the Precursor Box (“Here, this may be of use one day”). Another almost exact replica from Chronicles China is Wang Yangming’s statement about Jun’s certain death, had the Templars captured her without the Box. This last one though, is pronounced in a slightly different location, as it is stated in the manga by him in the small Assassin village, whilst in Chronicles China he says this to Jun while fleeing the Maijishan Grottoes.

The four Modern Day characters of the Tokyo XXI
expansion of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice
Once again though, the most compelling narrative plot point remains the oft mentioned “Precursor Treasure”. As we explained before, the likelihood of this simply being the Precursor Box itself seems remote – given that the Present Day content in the comic occurs years after it was already recovered by Abstergo (and assumed destroyed in the events of Resurrection Day in the Uprising comic series). Hopefully within this Manga, the Box will indeed lead to an Isu Vault or such during the course of the comic series.

Special mention should be made to the guest appearance from Kiyoshi, who has seemingly recovered from his injuries sustained in the events of Odyssey, and is back in field operations once more, in Yokohama. This makes a lot of sense, as he will also be present in Tokyo as part of the storyline of the upcoming tabletop game expansion for Brotherhood of Venice – simply titled Tokyo XXI. (We would be remiss not to mention that the very same expansion also has a fourth unannounced Assassin. Could this actually turn out to be Lisa Yang? Time will tell.)

The direct mention to someone called “Granny” is most likely Saeko Mochizuki, one of the Modern Day characters introduced with Assassin’s Creed Initiates, whom at 81 years of age still remains the Japanese Mentor of the Japanese Brotherhood. Maybe we can expect to see her in person in the upcoming chapters?

Saeko Mochizuki - artwork from Assassin's Creed Initiates

At this juncture, it does seem likely that with her intense sessions Lisa will end up under a heavy Bleeding Effect pretty soon – especially as she is using an older style Animus. If that is the case, a possible delusion of becoming Shao Jun may become stronger, or worse permanently imprinted – as the theory that we suggested in our last review. One could also surmise that Kiyoshi is eventually going to be infiltrating the facility and rescuing her. It will certainly be interesting to see what state Lisa is in by that point. Can we expect that to happen in the next chapter maybe? Stay tuned for the next issue!

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