Shinobi Life Volume 1 by Shoko Conami (amazon)
I like ninjas and I like romance, so I should be finding a bunch of ninja romance manga that I like to read, right? I don’t necessarily have the best track record when it comes to this sub-genre of manga. I love Tail of the Moon, but the other two ninja romantic comedies that I’ve sampled, Kage Tora and Teru Teru X Shonen left me decidedly underwhelmed. I was intrigued by the cover image for Shinobi Life and wanted to check it out.
Shinobi Life opens with a scene in the past. A woman gives her ninja protector Kagetora a hair comb. A blast knocks them into the water, and everything goes black. In the present day a young woman named Beni is trapped on the edge of a roof with a bumbling kidnapper. Unfortunately Beni is used to kidnappings because her family is rich and powerful and her father is extremely arrogant and abrasive. She insults her kidnapper and he grabs her throat. It suddenly starts to rain and a ninja drops out of the sky. He knocks Beni off the roof but manages to save them both with a handy ninja claw.
The ninja is Kagetora, and he greets Beni by calling her “Beni Hime Sama.” She wonders why he’s calling her a princess when she’s never seen him before. He’s shocked at her mannerisms and thinks that she must have hit her head during their fall. When Kagetora looks around, he assumes that the modern world is an elaborate trick. Beni realizes that Kagetora thinks she’s one of her distant ancestors. They go back to her estate and Kagetora stays with Beni as the latest in her rotating line of bodyguards.
Beni has a severe case of “poor little rich girl syndrome” with the added issue of being slightly suicidal. She allows Kagetora to continue believing that the modern world is an illusion, and starts developing feelings for him. Kagetora is so conscious of the class divide between him and his princess that Beni knows he won’t return her feelings. I thought that this would be a typical fish out of water ninja story, but time travel comes into play again when Beni and Kagetora travel to the past and meet his true princess. This manga reminded me of a mashup of the movie Life Less Ordinary with Rumic World: Fire Tripper. This isn’t exactly a stand out title and I wish Kagetora’s personality was more developed, but I’m curious to see how Beni and Kegetora’s romance resolves itself.
Review copy provided by Tokyopop