Got the Monday Blues? Everything go wrong that possibly could? What you need is a nice refreshing dose of manga. Not only is it a great escape, you can read a book in about an hour and then there is that wonderful sense of accomplishment I talked about earlier. It always makes my day better. While I haven't gotten any novels read this week, I did manage to read about 10 manga books, so I'm catching up. Ten down, probably about 200 to go. It feels like it anyway. But once again I digress. Today's delectable little title is a manga series that started as a video game. It's sort of like a choose your own adventure, but in the game you get to choose which hottie Akane is going to end up with. There are different endings to the game. Sadly, I believe it is only available in Japan. I have had to content myself with the manga and the anime. Now while there is one manga series, there are several anime series, but I'm getting ahead of myself. For your reading pleasure, I present Haruka - Beyond the Stream of Time by Tohko Mizuno.
Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences T+.
Akane is your typical teenage girl...until she swallows the Dragon Jewels, which transport her to the Heian period of ancient Japan! There in the capital city, Akane learns that she has been foreordained to lead the people as the Priestess of the Dragon God!
Publication Date: February 7, 2012 | Series: Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time (Book 15)
The Eight Guardians have lost their memories of each other and Akane, shattering the mystical bond between them. Akane's only hope is to find the Curse Seed, which has the power to restore their memories. But can she fight the Demon Clan, protect the Capital and break the curse without the Guardians by her side?
To sum up, Akane is a high school girl who, while on her way to school, hears a voice which she follows and ends up getting sucked down into a portal by a demon. While in the void between worlds, she is approached by the dragon god and is given the 8 dragon jewels which she will bestow upon her guardians. Her friends Tenma and Shimon are with her and they also get sucked through the portal while trying to fight off the demon. The three eventually reunite, and Akane finds out she is priestess of the dragon god who has been prophesied to be the savior of the Capital, a lace much like feudal Japan. She was brought to this world by the leader, Akram, of the demon clan. As far as I can tell, they just have blond hair and blue eyes, but Akram is cruel and he does have some minions who will stop at nothing to make him happy. He has brought Akane to his world so that he may manipulate her power as the dragon priestess and destroy the Capital. She is at first manipulated to believe he may care for her and finds that she is attracted to him, but over the course of the series, finds that his cruelty has diminished her attraction to him. He will stop at nothing, though, to make her power his.
During her stay, she makes friends of some of the locals. There is Yorihisa, a samurai who is commanded to be her bodyguard, Takamichi, who is a government official, General Tachibana the ladies man, Inori the Blacksmith's apprentice, Eisen the monk who is also the Emperor's brother and Yasuaki, who is not exactly what he seems. These 6 along with Tenma and Shimon have a dragon jewel bestowed upon them when they act to protect Akane. They are the 8 guardians. Together with Akane, they must find a way to break the demon hold on the city. Akram has sealed away the power of the guardian beasts of the Capital.
The guardians and Akane have been on a quest to find four sacred talismans, one for each of the guardian beasts, so that they can free them from demon clan. Once they have located them, the plan to hold a ritual to unlock the power of the guardian beasts and return them to the Capital. Akram is one step ahead, as he always is, and he lays a trap for Akane and her guardians. A curse is cast that makes them forget Akane and that they are guardians. She is faced with the fact that for the first time she is going to have to fight for herself without the help of her guardians. She does find assistance, though, for an unexpected source. Will she be able to break the curse on her guardians and return their memory to them? We will just have to wait for Vol 16.
And no shojo manga is complete without some romantic tension. At least half the guardians are in love with her, Tenma being one of them. Four of them have already confessed their feelings to her. I do wonder who in the book series she will end up with. My money is on Yorihisa, at least that is who I hope she ends up with, but I'll just have to wait and see.