Arina Tanemura is a popular shojo mangaka, and one of her works is Sakura Hime, a magical shojo story that puts a twist on a famous Japanese legend. The final volume (Volume 12) has recently been released, and you can read on for the review. (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
Sakura, grieving for all her friends who have died, returns to Aoba’s estate. Enju attacks, and Sakura loses two more people she loves. And just when she believes the battle to finally be over, Princess Kaguya appears!
Enju’s down to just one minion who happens to be a double agent. As if to even out the odds, Tanemura-sensei gradually whittles down Team Sakura, which is already reeling from Asagiri’s death. I was surprised at Rurijo’s abrupt end. I’d thought the Rurijo/Hayate/Kohaku triangle would get prolonged further. Not to mention, the way Enju coldly doomed Rurijo in Volume 11 was inconsistent with his reaction to Rurijo’s demise as well as his own last words. The scene leading up to the attack on Oura is much better, however, and certain to please the romantics in the crowd.
Having reduced the fight to a one-on-one between Sakura and Enju, Tanemura-sensei just as quickly returns all of Sakura’s allies for the final brawl against the resurrected Princess Kaguya. It’s ridiculously convenient how everyone shows up at once, especially Yuri and Maimai, who pop up out of nowhere. (Perhaps Tanemura-sensei felt everyone needed a cameo?). That battle, however, is less about action and more about tying up loose ends. Enju’s turnaround from ruthless enemy to gentle brother is too abrupt for my liking. In addition, the undoing of Oura’s curse and the supposed deal struck between Enju and Asagiri are rather confusing. However, Tanemura-sensei makes up for it with an intriguing revelation about Byakuya and the purpose behind Chizakura. Apparently, the old priestess was more deeply involved in the situation than anyone could have guessed.
Not surprisingly, everything resolves to a happy end. Everyone, living and dead, ends up with their love (with the exception of the three ninjas – I guess Tanemura-sensei’s leaving that triangle up to readers’ imaginations.) Certain details (such as how Asagiri and company could help Sakura escape Chizakura when they couldn’t leave themselves) are glossed over, but if all you care about is Oura/Sakura mushiness, you should be content with the conclusion.
Extras in Volume 12 include embedded author’s notes and a closing remark from Tanemura-sensei.
Enju succeeds in resurrecting Princess Kaguya, and Sakura takes her on with all her allies. (And when I mean all her allies, I mean all.) The Sakura/Enju conflict and Oura’s curse both get resolved too easily, but the final battle includes some big surprises before working its way to a fluffy happy ending.
First published at the Fandom Post.