Sakura Hime 7

March 28, 2012

Arina Tanemura – Viz – 2012 – 10+ volumes

I was happy to see the end of the fight against Enju and his minions here. It was not without its emotional moments, but I still loved every pretty page of it.

Asagiri and Ukyo are still fighting things out at the beginning of the volume here. The flashback has ended, but they still have a bit more to go over in the present. Asagiri and Ukyo are potential lovers, of course, which adds extra drama to the whole thing. Especially since they both seem to be missing the intentions of the other. Asagiri in particular doesn’t seem to really understand where Ukyo stands presently, which is making the battle that much more difficult. But Asagiri is also my favorite character, and I’m happy the story is spending so much time with her.

There’s a wonderful two-page kiss scene between the two, with Asagiri in her one-inch-sprite form. Aaahh, shoujo manga.

The action shifts back to Princess Sakura, who is temporarily freed, then enslaved mentally by Enju shortly after. She begins acting as a puppet in her transformed form, doing Enju’s bidding without being able to resist or even conscious of what she’s doing. She’s actually enslaved in a strange mental prison, where Rurijo holds her captive against her will. Bad things happen while she fights this inner fight, but one of my favorite parts of the series so far happens at the end.

She turns to her brother, and realizes he’s not her brother Kai that she used to know, but Enju, a very bad man. Conversely, Enju has to realize that she’s not his little sister, but the Sakura that all her friends know (a fiancee, a warrior, Princess Kaguya’s granddaughter, a friend), and she refuses to throw all of it away to go with him. It’s a beautiful speech, and a wonderful chapter. Again, a truly great moment of shoujo manga.

Tanemura says she’s got a long way to go to tell the story of Princess Sakura, and I’m happy that this isn’t going to end anytime soon. It’s quite an involved story at this point, and it would be a shame to see it rushed or ended early. I’m also happy that all these flashbacks are over and done with, and that the plot can move on now. As for what it is moving on to, I’m curious to know. There’s not a clear direction at this point, but the emotional fallout from this will probably take a volume or two to deal with. Or not! Sometimes shoujo manga characters are quite resilient.

I do love shoujo fantasy, but it’s difficult to say whether I enjoy this or Dawn of the Arcana more. They’re completely different flavors, and I’ve only read two volumes of Dawn. Both are very good. Dawn has a slightly more mature flavor, but there’s something to be said for Tanemura’s beautiful art and her very classic stories. They’re always worth reading, and always a lot of fun in the end.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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