February 2, 2009

Review: Red River (manga)

This is a picture of the cast, just about the entire cast actually

Japanese Title: 天は赤い河のほとり, Sora wa Akai Kawa no Hotori
Also Known As: Anatolia Story
Manga-ka: Chie Shinohara
Volumes: 28 total (up to volume 24 avail now in English)
Genres: historical, fantasy, romance
English Publisher: Viz
Link: Amazon Listmania List

Synopsis: Red River is about a fifteen-year old Japanese girl named Yuri Suzuki, who is magically transported to Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia. She was summoned by Queen Nakia who means to use Yuri as a human sacrifice. Yuri's blood is the key element needed in placing a curse upon the princes of the land so that they will perish, leaving Nakia's son as the sole heir to the throne. As the story progress, however, Yuri not only repeatedly manages to escape Nakia's scheming, she also becomes revered as a saint and incarnation of the goddess Ishtar and falls in love with crown prince Kail. (from wikipedia)

Review: For myself this is a definite change of pace from the other works I knew Shinohara from originally. I have read many of her shorter works of horror manga, but it wasn't until Anatolia Story that I was introduced to her historical fantasy romances as well.

This is an older manga, dating from the early to mid-90's, and the stylistic changes of the last decade are glaringly obvious. Despite this however Shinohara draws such action in her scenes that the numerous battle sequences (Ishtar is the Goddess of War and as the incarnation of Ishtar Yuri is expected to lead the troops. Also Kail isn't the sit at home type of Prince) come alive.

Unfortunately Yuri spends a good deal of time for the first quarter of the series bemoaning her fate, alternately wanting to be with Kail and not, and in general not getting on with the world she finds herself stuck in. She spends another quarter toppling back and forth between wishing to go home with all her might and wanting to stay with Kail and has spent this third quarter leading into the final quarter finally getting her head on straight.

The story is bogged down by repetition; the same three issues keep coming up: Nakia's treachery and evil, Yuri and Kail's romantic woes and finally the affairs of state. Add to that the fact that its 28 volumes long...you have to have patience. Honestly the parts with fighting go by the quickest and take up a lot of the later volumes and after a while its amusing to see what tricks Nakia will try to pull and how she gets out of being executed.

Shinohara's art is very pretty--fairly typical shoujo style, very pretty girls and very slim bodied guys and she goes all out for the costumes and jewelry. Yuri in particular has several dresses I would die to own. Warning however there is violence and nudity so this is better for an older teen then a younger teen.

1 comment:

Order Viagra said...

This picture of that cast is perfect because it reminded me last time my little sister wore a costume like that during her birthday.