the Hittites and my ennui

I never thought I’d be so unenthusiastic about shoujo manga. I usually love it, but now I’m wondering if I’ve read so much of it that the plot conventions of the genre are just starting to bug me. I’m glad I bought the first volume of Red River on discount, because I would have felt a little ripped off if I had paid full price.
Shortly after Yuri kisses her boyfriend for the first time, the element of water seems to have a strange affinity for her. Arms reach out to grab her from the fish tank in the school science lab. She almost drowns in the bath. When Yuri goes out for a walk in the park with her boyfriend she’s pulled through a puddle of water into another world, where people speak in a strange language represented in the word balloons as cuneiform (this part was really cute).
It looks like Yuri has been captured as a sacrifice for an evil queen in the ancient Middle East. But she doesn’t have to worry too much about her fate, as she is soon rescued by the queen’s estranged stepson, the lecherous prince with a heart of gold, Kail. Kail creates a whole new set of problems for her.
I’m a little tired of lecherous princes who fall in love meek girls despite their womanizing ways. I’d have liked this title more if Yuri was a little less passive and would punch Kail in the nose sometimes after he kisses her. She does display some backbone in standing up to the social system of the world she’s been kidnapped to, and she displays initiative when she sets out from Prince Kails palace in an attempt to find her way home. The setting of the manga is certainly different than other shoujo titles that I’ve read, I haven’t read any manga before that was set in the ancient Middle East. Red River ran for 28 volumes, I think, so I’m sure it was popular. I wondering if the first volume just was mostly set-up and the story gets better later on. I think the strengths of the series are the interesting setting, and a willingness to not pull any punches when depicting the Hittite society — they seem to be willing to torture and kill. I’m not as interested in a possible romance between Yuri and Kail, just because I’m starting to find the power dynamics of that type of relationship very uncool. I know, it is just a comic book! Sometimes I’d just like to read a less sterotypical romance. There really isn’t enough in the first volume to make me want to read the series. If you’ve read further volumes and think I should give it another try, let me know. Maybe I’m just being cranky.