Manga Review: 天は赤い河のほとり / Anatolia Story by Chie Shinohara

Anatolia Story / Red River
天は赤い河のほとり or The Sky Is on the Banks of the Red River
Chie Shinohara
28 Volumes
Red River is about a fifteen-year old Japanese girl named Yuri Suzuki, who is magically transported to Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia. She was summoned by Queen Nakia who means to use Yuri as a human sacrifice. Yuri's blood is the key element needed in placing a curse upon the princes of the land so that they will perish, leaving Nakia's son as the sole heir to the throne. As the story progress, however, Yuri not only repeatedly manages to escape Nakia's scheming, she also becomes revered as an incarnation of the goddess Ishtar and falls in love with prince Kail.
Well, this is my first manga review and the first manga that made me all giddy and excited for the first time since I've read my last good manga (finished series that is... Naruto and Vampire Knight is still ongoing) which was Shinshi Doumei Cross or The Gentlemen's Alliance. I actually read all 28 volumes in one day... well, into 3 AM the following day. It was THAT good.

This was set historically (I love, love anything ancient or historical) - at the time of the height of the Hittite Empire - those times of kingdoms and warfares; greedy kings and scheming queens; womanizing princes and concubine-filled harems; gods and goddesses, and; men wearing skirts and jewelry. Those were fun times when people were more into paganism and what we call backward-thinking. 

Then, what if a modern, teenage girl just happened to drop in the middle of all these? What will happen?

Oh, you guys, I cannot possibly describe how good this manga series is. Sure, the plot has been used several times before: drop a time-travelling girl in a land where the first thing that people do is try to kill you. Marvelous. Yet, the story has been executed well and around 80% are new elements that I have not encountered yet in any other manga... or book for that matter. It made me go: "Why haven't I discovered you before??? You were existing for the past 9 years and I have not even encountered you? "
The story was fast-paced - no dawdling at all and it allowed characters other than the leads to develop and shine on their own. You may think that being this is your common "He's so cute! I love him" type of manga - well no honey, it is not.

Okay, okay, I already said I was all giddy and squealing over the romantic parts but the romance was well-played out with characters that were well-developed and whom you can't help fall in love with. We have a heroine who did not continuously be the damsel-in-distress. Well, she was that at first yet she's strong, independent, stubborn, knew what she wanted, had a brain and a heart - which was what attracted *my*... I mean, Prince Kail in the first place. Heck, Yuuri became the commander of the king's entire army. She kicked ass and remained true to her principles.

And oh! Can I insert here that we have a gorgeous prince? Yeah, he was a womanizer but he never did take a concubine nor a wife owing to the political ambitions of his stepmother. He vowed that he'd only have one woman whom he would love unconditionally and whose personality would be that of a true queen.  And then he met Yuuri. 
Passionate, compelling and great artwork - yes! Kudos to the artwork - and a great ending (an absolute favorite).

Ayanami Faerudo


Did I ramble and gush so much?

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