Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Author: Hosana Tanaka
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $10.99 US
Rating: OT (16+)
Release Date: Available Now
Ninja girls just want to have fun.
One of the things we love about manga is that there’s a genre for just about every taste and for those who like a series with plenty of fan service and cute girls hanging on the arm of a regular Joe then we have yet another manga series for you. Interestingly enough, though, Ninja Girls might follow a familiar formula but as we can see from Volume 1 it isn’t afraid to be funny and occasionally sweet.
The story revolves around 15-year old Raizo, a boy who lives in a village that wants nothing to do with him because the boy happens to have a small horn sticking out of his head. It is because of this horn that the boy is an outcast and seen a demon child so Raizo – alone – has nobody to talk to except for his deceased mother’s ihai (a mortuary tablet that hilariously reacts to him). One day, he happens upon a beautiful young girl washed up on the shore of the river and rescues her.
It turns out, after digging through her belongings, that this busty girl is a kunoichi – a female ninja. When she wakes up, she introduces herself as Kagari who is looking for the last Lord of the Katana Clan. As it turns out, the Lords of the Katana Clan all have one distinguishing characteristic … they have a single horn sticking out of their head. It doesn’t take too long before another rival kunoichi comes to Raizo’s home and slashes away the rag he uses to conceal his horn. In an instant, Kagari realizes that Riazo is her Lord and she asks him to watch her … a requirement that activates her ninja ability called Shintaigo where her entire body becomes as hard as steel.
Kagari manages to defeat the enemy and it becomes clear to us that Shintaigo allows her to do impressive feats such as call up great strength and speed as she demonstrates when she builds an entire castle for her new Lord. However, the power has its limits. You see, Raizo has to be watching her for the power to work. It’s also clear that she likes her new Master who is kind and praises her. Oh, but Kagari isn’t the only kunoichi loyal to the Katana Clan because we are introduced to Kisarabi who is an expert markswoman. While Kagari is loopy and not too bright, Kisarabi is calm and intelligent to the point that she becomes the voice of reason. Kisarabi also wants Raizo to act like a Feudal Lord and scold the girls every now and then which is something the boy cannot do.
Seeing as Kagari’s poor choice of location for their new Master’s castle, the three journey away from the kingdom of the cruel Lord Seigan who wants to see Raizo, the illegitimate son of the Katana Clan’s last heir. Taking a break in an inn, Raizo is taken captive by what he thought was a traveling musician and is rescued by the third member of their group, a kunoichi named Himemaru. Hilariously enough, Raizo discovers that there’s something off about the very strange about the seemingly feminine Himemaru and the truth about this kunoichi is an interesting twist that adds something different to the harem theme.
While there are battles in this manga, the real fun comes in the interactions between Raizo and his loyal kunoichi who try desperately to win his approval. What’s even more fun is the in-fighting between each kunoichi and watching Kagari and Himemaru try (and fail) to win Raizo’s heart is hilarious. In one chapter, each character tries to do something for Raizo’s illness and ends up hurting him more than helping him. Then there’s Lord Seigan who disguises himself to find Raizo only to meet and be fascinated by Kagari.
As I mentioned before, the genre has seen stories like this before but Ninja Girls still manages to do its own thing and do it in an entertaining fashion. The art is also handled quite beautifully, although I must say that if you don’t care for excessive fan service and girls in a state of near undress then this manga might not appeal to you visually. Then again, you will be missing out on this series’ great sense of humor that has nothing to do with fan service.
Volume 1 of Ninja Girls is the kind of manga series that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a fun read because of this and, on top of that, manages to keep you very entertained. Of course, we’ve seen stories like this before and with equal amounts of fan service as well but – thanks to the series’ great sense of humor, likeable characters and good writing – Ninja Girls is a series we definitely want to continue following.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In a far-off village, a young boy named Raizo is shunned by everyone because he happens to have a horn sticking out of his head. One day he saves a beautiful young woman who happens to be a female ninja sworn to protect the last heir to the Katana Clan who just so happens to be Raizo. Escaping a Feudal Lord who wants Raizo dead, the pair meet another female warrior and a companion who isn’t quite the person Raizo expected.
Hosana Tanaka’s art is actually very striking with some visually pleasing backgrounds and more than decent character design. Certainly, more attention was places on the girls, particularly their – um – endowments that seem to want to pour out of their tight tops in nearly every panel.
A manga series overflowing with over-the-top fan service and plenty of truly comical moments, Volume 1 of Ninja Girls is funny and well worth a read if you like a ninja story with cute girls and a boy who just doesn’t know what to do with them. Consider this one on our Highly Recommended list.
Review copy provided by Del Rey Manga