Monday, November 7, 2011

Manga Review: Tail of the Moon, Volume 1, by Rinko Ueda

Publisher: VIZ Media
Goodreads Synopsis:

Sometimes it seems like Usagi is hopeless. Sure, she's good with healing herbs, but she's the granddaughter of the leader of a prestigious ninja village and she's such a klutz that she's never made it out of the kiddie class. Finally frustrated with Usagi's lack of progress, her grandfather sends her to marry a local lord and have lots of ninja babies. But the lord has no interest in her or her child bearing potential! After years of goofing around, Usagi is finally determined to reach her goals--she's going to become a ninja and capture her true love's heart!


I've read Ueda's more recent series, Stepping on Roses, but I hadn't gotten around to read this series when it was first released. It sounded interesting, but not immensely so.
The series is about Usagi, the daughter of some big ninja family, who's quite hopeless when it comes to being a ninja. So far, I'm not a big fan of Usagi. Within the first chapter, she's going on about becoming a good ninja, only she skips practice. And then her grandpa tells her that she's not good at being ninja, to which she whines, and then he tells her that she's going to have to go and have a child with some man. She protests wildly, and then immediately leaves for him when told that he's handsome. Some of these things could be done for comedy, but they just bothered me. She has a very weak will, and she's not particularly smart. She got a little bit better near the end of the manga, but not enough for me to actually like her.  
The guy that she is supposed to marry, Hanzo, doesn't seem so bad. He's very against marriage, which is explained a little bit later in the book, but he obviously has a growing affection for Usagi. And we meet Yuri, who also intends to marry Hanzo. I don't really mind her, and hope we see more of her, as we probably will.
And we meet Hanzou, who is a flirt, but who loves Sara, who does not like his flirtatious ways. I like both of them, and hope that they make up soon. And that Hanzou grows up a bit from his flirtatious ways. And Hanzo is also in love with Sara, which is very obvious.
Usagi has a servant like person that follows her, Mamezo. He's a rookie ninja, and is adorable. He's just a little kid, and he gets a little piglet, who is also adorable. Yuri has a servant like person as well, who is around her age, if not older, who is also cute. In a different way. I hope that we see more of him, and that he gets an actual character, but I'm unsure on if I believe that we will or not.
Through out the book, Usagi goes and meets Hanzo, and instantly falls in love with him, to which he declines her proposal. And Yuri is in the same position as her, only she has known him longer. In the second and third chapters, Yuri makes an effort to poison Usagi, which doesn't work because Usagi takes a lot of medicine, that I guess cancel out the effects of it. And Yuri ends up poisoning herself and is sick for the rest of the book. 
(I'm thinking that Ueda has a think for marriages, and problems with them. Because the main problem for the main character in this story is that she has to and wants to marry Hanzo, only he doesn't want to, and she has several competitors. And in Stepping on Roses, the main character gets kind of forced into a marriage. I don't know if this bothers me or not...)
Throughout most of the book, Usagi is practicing her ninja skills, and she doesn't seem to be making a lot of progress. Hanzo finds out that Usagi can make medicine, and a lot of townspeople want some, so she stays up late making some because of some stupid promise she made. Because she gets sick a lot, which I think is kind of psychological, because apparently she fakes it before starting to actually feel it, it makes sense for her to be able to make medicine for herself. And at least she's good at something.
We meet Hanzou and Sara, and they get into a fight, and Sara stays with Usagi and Hanzo, and Usagi discovers that Hanzo loves Sara. And in the last chapter, Hanzo and Usagi have a fight and he kicks her out, and she stays outside the village for a little bit but it starts raining and so she heads back to her hometown village. Where she sees Goemon with some woman, where he's giving lessons, I guess, to the younger girls. Maybe they actually did things like this, but I have a hard time believing that. Or I just don't want to.
She kicks them out of her room because she's tired, and then Goemon makes a move on her and the book ends. I'm a little curious to find out what happens next, but not anxious for it. I don't particularly like Usagi, which is probably the main reason for this, but I will pick up the next book when I'm able to.

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