Arina Tanemura is a popular shojo mangaka, and one of her works currently being translated into English is Sakura Hime, a magical shojo story that puts a twist on a famous Japanese legend. Volume 7 has recently been released, and you can read on for the review. (Also, for those who are interested, you can click here for my reviews of earlier volumes).
The story centers on Sakura, the granddaughter of the Moon princess Kaguya. As her descendent, Sakura wields the power to defeat Youko, monsters from the Moon, but Sakura’s Moon heritage also means she’s predisposed to becoming a Youko herself…
Back Cover Blurb
Every time Asagiri uses her powers, she shortens her life span. In spite of this, she continues to use her powers to fight her former lover, Ukyo. Though Ukyo will not attack her, this is a fight Asagiri cannot win.
Volume 7 is a mixed bag. In addition to battle scenes, there’s drama and suspense. Most of the romantic anguish stems from the conclusion of the Ukyo/Asagiri fight, and those who prefer their love stories tragic will eat up the ultimate fate of the star-crossed lovers.
There’s also angst of a different sort between Sakura and her brother. After chapters and chapters of inner turmoil, she finally accepts the fact that he is no longer the gentle person she once knew. However, Tanemura-sensei plays this less as a rift between family members and more as a woman struggling to let go of her first love. Though it has been mentioned in this series that sibling marriages were acceptable in the Heian era, hearing Sakura refer to Enju this way does give off a squicky vibe.
Following the Ukyo/Asagiri duel, Aoba (not surprisingly) proceeds to battle Enju for Sakura. But Tanemura-sensei throws us for a loop by pitching Sakura in an unexpected fight against Rurijo and then heightens matters with an astonishing reveal about Enju’s ultimate goal. Unfortunately, the final conclusion to the Shura Yugenden isn’t quite satisfying (all that firepower and manpower and the bad guys still get away?), but it does ensure that Sakura will face Enju again – and this time with full knowledge of what’s at stake.
By the way, Volume 7 includes several extras including bonus funnies and closing remarks from Tanemura-sensei and her assistants.
The Shura Yugenden arc reaches its conclusion. Though the ultimate outcome of the battle is predictable, what Sakura discovers in mid-battle should take you by surprise.
First published at the Fandom Post.