by Akira Segami
published by Del Rey Manga; $10.95 US
The back cover copy explains the premise: ninja Kagetora is supposed to protect and train Yuki, but they’ve developed feelings for each other beyond a student relationship. I’m not generally a fan of manga that use ninja, but the characterization drew me into reading this one, even though I haven’t seen previous volumes.
As the book opens, the characters are pondering something Yuki said previously, about him always being her ninja. Both wish it hadn’t been said, but for different reasons. She meant it, but said it without thinking, and now she thinks it was wrong because it treats him as a possession. He’s saddened because while he’s her teacher he can’t be anything else to her. I liked the ambiguity, which was a bit more than I expected from the standard klutzy schoolgirl/male protector setup.
The first chapter premise is complicated by Kagetora’s brother arriving to test the job he’s doing in training Yuki. (She’s not a very good student, because of a lack of skills and ability.) If she can hit the brother just once, she passes. No one expects this to be possible, but at least the stress drives her to explain what she said before, so more understanding is gained, and a happy ending achieved by accident.
Most of the art is facial closeups, with surprise or dopiness being the most common. Reading further, I don’t get much of a sense of character for Yuki. Actually, the one that seems most complex to me is the visiting brother. He’s got layers, which is more than the other two demonstrate. Maybe it’s just that depth isn’t called for much on an amusement park date or a fan service chapter that features Yuki naked or in her underwear or a towel a lot because she’s worried about her weight.
The ending turned out more standard than I hoped for, unfortunately, so I likely won’t be coming back. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)