DRAGON SISTER! • nini • Tokyopop • 13+
It’s undeniable that one of the problems with making ancient history interesting is that most of the major players are old beardy guys. Set around 184 AD in the Three Kingdoms era of China, Dragon Sister! tackles this problem head on, when a failed magic incantation causes most of the major players of the Three Kingdoms—Zhang Jiao, Dong Zhuo, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, etc.—to be born as attractive women. Granted the same passion and combat ability as their historical selves, but not allowed into the army because of their gender, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu do their best to fight the Huang Jin rebels (the so-called Yellow Turban Rebellion) and restore the Chinese royalty to power! (There’s still a couple of males hanging around, though, such as the heroines’ boss Liu Bei.) As someone who hasn’t studied the Three Kingdoms, I often find manga adaptations of this (his)story fairly imprenetrable due to the large number of historical names and places, and Dragon Sister! is unfortunately no exception. For those coming from a perspective of near-total ignorance, like most Americans, the plot is incomprehensible. As an artist, nini can draw reasonably cute girls, but she’s not up to the task of showing historical armies at war, and the character designs are also a little bland. When the fight scenes are merely cursory, and even a lusty lesbian warlord can’t keep things interesting, Dragon Sister! feels like a well-meaning failure. (This review was originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
* 1/2 (one and a half stars)
Today’s winner is Sharon H.! Congratulations, Sharon!