Tales of the Tendo Family Volume 1

Tales of the Tendo Family Volume 1

I don’t read historical manga much any more, as I find not understanding the references off-putting. I gave this a try because a smart editor mentioned to me that it was by Ken Saito, author of The Name of the Flower, which I remembered enjoying when CMX put it out 15 years ago.

I’m glad I did, because this setup is intriguing. Tales of the Tendo Family is out next week from One Peace Books.

The characters are a bit demented. Hojo Ran was being sent to marry Tendo Masato, but the patriarch of the Tendo family is failing, and Ran doesn’t want to be part of a violent battle for succession. Ran tries to drown herself, but she’s saved by a nameless orphan girl who takes her place.

The book opens with Masato threatening to kill this girl, and her welcoming it, as she was raised by an old man she called Grandpa. He has passed away, and she wishes to die saving someone, so she can join him.

Tales of the Tendo Family Volume 1

So the premise of this series is her pretending to be Hojo Ran while Masato tries to avoid various family machinations, including a devious uncle and an aunt who’s a little too fixated on her dead brother. She wants to go back to farming her vegetable field, in spite of the luxury she’s currently living in, while Masato gets frustrated over her alternating naiveté and surprising skills.

There’s violence and drama and odd comedic moments, plus well-illustrated costumes and acting. It’s oddly compelling. Also, in lieu of creator comments, there are occasional sidebars with tiny illustrations of the girl going about her day in her previous life, which I found charming.

There are 14 volumes out so far, with at least three more coming in English this year. I’ll be reading more, to see how this odd couple continues. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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