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Shuriken and Pleats Vol. #01 Manga Review

3 min read

Shuriken and Pleats Issue 1 CoverCreative Staff
Story/Art: Matsuri Hino
Translation/Adaptation: Katherine Schilling

What They Say
When the master she has sworn to protect is killed, Mikage Kirio, a skilled ninja, travels to Japan to start a new, peaceful life for herself. But as soon as she arrives, she finds herself fighting to protect the life of Mahito Wakashimatsu, a man who is under attack by a band of ninja. From that time on, Mikage is drawn deeper into the machinations of his powerful family.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I read a another review of this recently that essentially said Hino doesn’t know what kind of story she wants Shuriken and Pleats to be. After reading this first volume, I would have to agree. There are parts of the series that are good or at least compelling, but despite being a semi-serious ninja story we’re thrown into things like Mikage having to navigate high school life. While it’s somewhat understandable given that that was her dying master’s/father figure’s last wish, it just doesn’t feel well integrated into the story, like Hino just wanted an excuse to also draw a high school setting. At some points I found myself wishing the story had actually just been about her protecting her master instead, which was disappointing.

Perhaps tellingly, Hino’s author notes hint that she was bit nervous about starting this series too — and it’s set to be a short one, at just two volumes — but there is some good here. Mikage herself is at least an interesting main character, though I can’t imagine she’ll get a bunch of depth in two volumes. Her relationship with Mahito is also one of the stronger pieces of the series, and the bulk of the volume is taken up with her trying to find an antidote after he’s been poisoned. It’s obvious their relationship is headed somewhere, despite Mikage just wanting to live out the “peaceful” life of a normal high school girl. Instead she finds herself drawn to and saving Mahito on more than one occasion, which is good for him since his family seems hellbent on trying to off him as quickly as possible.

So-so story aside, art-wise just by the cover alone there’s no way you can mistake this series for anything other than Hino. The character designs are very similar to her hit series Vampire Knight, where everyone looks fairly sad and has very large eyes. That’s not to say the art is bad, and in this case the art in the series is one thing I enjoyed. The men are pretty and there’s no excess of screentone — all good things in my book.

In Summary
Overall, Shuriken and Pleats is a pretty middle of the pack series so far. It has some potential and compelling moments, but gets side-tracked pretty easily for no real reason. At only two volumes there’s really not an excuse not to see how it ends, but I can’t shake the feeling this series could have started off much stronger had it had a clearer focus.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: March 22nd, 2016
MSRP: $9.99