Review by: Edward Zacharias
Genre: Action/Comedy (Graphic Novel)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Release Date: Available Now
It’s a historical epic … with skirts!
Those of you who have read books or have seen some form of televised and subtitled interpretation of the Chinese epic known as Romance of the Three Kingdoms then you will know that the first volume of Dragon Sister! is an irresistible find. It not only takes all the known historical figures and places them in a familiar setting but it turns things upside down by taking said historical figures and making them cute girls.
Taking place during the Three Kingdoms era when the great Han Dynasty was coming to an end, three brothers lead the Huang Jin Rebellion to end the Han Dynasty and install a confederacy of three kingdoms. It is Zhang Jiao who meets a sage that offers him a scroll with the power to save the country but when he uses it he thinks maybe he would turn their enemies into beautiful women. Hilariously, the spell backfires and he and his two brothers Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao are transformed into adorable little girls. Image three cute little girls plotting a massive and bloody rebellion and you can see how intriguing this fun little twist is to the original.
Still, even though the spell transformed these three figures into girls, other historical figures that were destined to be born as men are thusly born as attractive women. For example, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu are not only female but also busty and powerful fighters with the strength of men. Unfortunately, as women they’re not able to join the volunteer’s army. One day, they meet Liu Bei, a young idealist who sells mats and dreams of bringing peace to the land. Pledging themselves to Liu Bei’s cause, both Guan Yu and Zhang Fei follow the young man into battle. The trio becomes inseparable friends and even Liu Bei considers the two girls his sisters.
Of course, Liu Bei (who happens to be royalty) just isn’t a fighter and leaves the fighting to his two hot “sisters” who are anxious to be a part of a much bigger picture in the war to save China. Still, Liu Bei is able to gather a small army comprised of villagers loyal to the cause and fight along with him. We are also introduced to Xiahou Yuan and Xiahou Dun who are cousins of the legendary Cao Cao and finally Cao Cao himself. Still, while making an impact in the battlefield, Liu Bei isn’t even invited to a strategy meeting. It isn’t until Zhang Fei and Guan Yu are propositioned by the attractive female General Dong Zhuo that the two girls leave Liu Bei behind.
Of course, Liu Bei, out of loyalty, isn’t able to leave his two close friends behind and challenges Lady Dong Zhuo. A proposition is made … if Lie Bei is able to make a huge impact in the coming battle then he could have his two friends back. Of course, Lady Dong Zhuo has her own plans and hires an assassin. What will happen in the heat of battle is left open for the next chapter in the second volume but come to expect something pretty epic seeing as author, nini, was wonderfully faithful to the source material while spinning her own variation quite splendidly. Even the art is easy on the eyes.
In the end, what we get in Dragon Sister! Vol. 1 is a completely fresh take on epic Romance of the Three Kingdom’s story that is also an amusing title with a lot to offer. It’s comedic slant is actually smart and just as charming as the cute girls that make up the book. TOKYOPOP has an appealingly agreeable series readers will certainly fall for.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Nini’s interpretation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story is not only cute but it’s an intriguing alternative that stays true to the source material while offering a lighthearted and funny take. It’s a nicely written interpretation that works.
Aside from being a good storyteller, nini does a great job with the character design, backgrounds and action. We’ve seen art like this before but it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate it or the fact that major historical figures are now busty girls.
Absolutely charming and delightfully engaging, Dragon Sister! is not only a fun twist on a classic Chinese epic but it is also an excellent manga that should not be missed. Cute girls aside, seldom does the story try to pander fan service in exchange for rich storytelling. This alone is the reason this one gets an A grade but – really – you will thoroughly enjoy this book.