By Leroy Douresseaux
June 4, 2011 - 09:44
Rated “T” for “Teen”
In the Heian era, 14-year-old Princess Sakura has a destiny both terrible and great. She is the granddaughter of Princess Kaguya, a mysterious moon princess. With his grandmother’s “Chizakura,” the mystic Bloody Cherry Blossom Sword, Sakura battles Youko, man-eating spirits that originated from the moon. But Sakura also has a dark side.
As Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura, Vol. 2 opens, the conflict between Sakura and Aoba rages on, and Aoba gains possession of Chizakura. Meanwhile, the Emperor offers Sakura a chance to prove herself, and she is determined to fight for her country. Meanwhile, someone near her is part of a dark conspiracy, and a new player enters the game with his sight set on Sakura.
THE LOWDOWN: It is true that Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura has all the elements we’ve come to expect of an Arina Tanemura shojo manga about a plucky, magical girl taking on love and supernatural adversaries. Tanemura’s trademark, sumptuous, tapestry-like artwork is the most obvious, and the artist can always draw beautiful girls and bishounen boys who are pretty, but maintain their masculinity.
However, Sakura Hime is more violent and edgier than the other Tanemura manga that I have read. The beautiful static images actually convey this narrative’s wild spirit, a ferocity hiding behind the sweet images that makes this a bracing read. Bracing? From Tanemura? Yes, and I want more.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of Arina Tanemura will probably adore Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura.