Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shinobi Life, vol. 1

By Shoko Conami
Released in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline: Not just another time-travelling ninja love story. Really, I am not being sarcastic!

Beni wants to die especially if it can be her dad's fault. Her father feels no guilt over Beni's mother death/suicide and only haphazardly remembers to hire bodyguards to protect Beni from kidnapping attempts. But the latest one is foiled when a ninja literally falls out of the sky to rescue her. Kagetora has been swept through time away from Beni Hime-sama to his princess’s near identical descendant Beni. Uncertain about the strange world he finds himself in, Kagetora knows his duty is to protect Beni. Beni is confronted with two problems as a result, one is how to keep up the illusion she is Beni Hime-sama with the modern world is just some of grand deception and also how to resolve the growing feelings between Beni and Kagetora, especially considering his awareness of their ‘social rank’ differences.

For once, the central conceit of the story is tackled straight on and now allowed to linger. Often, series seem to hang on hilarious character misunderstandings long past their expiration date, being dragged out for so long that it ends up making the characters look clueless or deliberately stupid. Beni's attempt to keep Kagetora in the dark about his time travel and refusing to acknowledge their attraction could get old fast, and had already started to. It would have been better off if the situation had been resolved because of Beni's deliberate decision, though once they were on the path of that part of the story being resolved, the characters did not shy away. It's not like that all of the barriers to their relationship are now gone, or that Beni does not still need protection, though the remaining visible complications to their relationship come from Beni's life, which remains anything but simple.

Shinobi Life, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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