Kagetora Manga — Final Review

カゲトラ

I went into the Kagetora manga not really sure what to expect. Being a Del Rey title, I figured their adaptation would have a Japanese perspective (meaning use of Japanese honorifics and the like) and having a bit of room in the budget for a new manga title, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

Kagetora is not anything really new or unique, but it makes up for that by having a fun, enjoyable story with likable characters. The main character is Katetora, a ninja who’s village serves the powerful Toudou family. From his youth, Kagetora has trained to become the oyakume (DEFINE) for the daughter of the family who is his age — Yuki-hime. As a teenager, Kagetora gets the assignment, where he meets the head of the house, Saya. In addition to protecting Yuki, Kagetora is tasked with teaching Yuki martial arts as she’s not very good at them. In order to succeed her mother to become the head of the house, Yuki will need these skills.

Since this manga is a romantic comedy, it is understandable that Kagetora would fall in love with Yuki and Yuki would fall in love with Kagetora. However, because Yuki is Kagetora’s master, their falling in love is forbidden, more so from Kagetora’s side where the shinobi code of honor means crossing that line is very bad. With that in place, Segami-sensei plays around with various love triangles. The first one is with Yuki’s best friend, Akino. Akino is very much like Uo-chan from Fruits Basket in that she cares greatly for Yuki and will not allow anyone to hurt her. However, her feelings for Yuki seem almost yuri-like in how she rejects Kagetora being involved with Yuki. However, that changes over time and Akino moves aside.

Other characters are introduced to create a love-triangle, though the love-triangle never lasts long. Most stick around in a minor supporting role (only one left forever) after they step aside with their feelings for Yuki or Kagetora. I got the feeling that Segami-sensei was just experimenting, looking for that perfect love-triangle but never quite finding it. However, in doing this, Segami-sensei mostly succeeds in creating more fun characters that the reader cares about. This makes the journey through the eleven volumes enjoyable even though there’s no doubt that Yuki and Kagetora will end up together in the end.

I can say that I wouldn’t mind seeing an adaptation of Kagetora as an anime, but that may never happen.

Del Rey gets the manga off to a rough start. While I liked that they used the term “hime” (in addition to the normal honorifics and other titles), it seemed clear that there were two forces at work in the first volume — one that wasn’t keen on honorifics and one that was. Fortunately, the staff work through these things and by the time the manga ends, the adaptation feels pretty good.

Bottom line: Fun characters, a fun story, and a general, light-hearted tale of a modern-day ninja and the girl he’s assigned to make this manga one that likely won’t be on someone’s top-ten list, but is one that I find I can re-read and enjoy the ride. As such, I can recommend it even if the general idea of the story is nothing new.

Originally posted at

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