Sakura Hime 10
December 19, 2014
Arina Tanemura – Viz – 2013 – 12 volumes
I kept the last three volumes of Sakura Hime together and on the top of my to be read stack while breaking from manga, because I knew if there was something that would suck me back down the rabbit hole of shoujo, it would be Arina Tanemura. I love her so much! And I always have, ever since I was drooling over her pretty Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne color art in the late 90s. And that was even before I read the manga.
I was worried that Sakura Hime was going to be a little too soap-y to dive back into the end. But really, I’ve read enough shoujo manga to know what’s going on, and with the character chart in front, I was good to go.
I was happy to see the end of the Rurijo/Hayate story at the beginning of this volume. It was So! Freaking! Cute! I really like Rurijo, and she’s well-written as a somewhat cheery and very honest, but still a villain, and she still only exists because Enju made her to be a monster that looked like his sister. Which is super-creepy, but she seems to deal with it well.
The only bad thing about the Rurijo/Hayate story is that it splits up Hayate/Kohaku, which I also like. Where does my girly shoujo heart lie?! Well, I do like Rurijo better than Kohaku. Then again, the scene between Hayate and Kohaku after the first chapter here nearly broke me, so I don’t know that my pure shoujo heart of hearts can root for a villain. Realistically, since Rurijo isn’t a real person, she’ll probably dissolve in a cloud of mermaid tears or whatever, Hayate will be sad, then Hayate and Kohaku will hook up anyway. But the agony of indecision is what makes reading shoujo fun.
Near the middle of the volume, Sakura gets to meet the emperor. That doesn’t go well. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that for too long. That was… super-dark and fairly shocking, even for me.
Later, another fun storyline plays out about the relationship between Princess Yuri and Enju’s henchman Maimai, both of whom are obsessed with beauty. They play well off each other as well as Sakura, and I cracked a smile more than once through there. There’s dark backstory too, of course, and it ends with some fairly serious sacrifices. But it was still a fun story, and I’m glad that Tanemura is balancing that well with the dark stuff.
After this volume, I can see how this story might be wrapping up in two more volumes. The opposition is slowly weakening, though Enju himself is very terrifying. That… may be all there is left to deal with, unless Rurijo gets another story. I am ready.