Kunoichi Tsubaki - Story 8, Characters 8, Art 8, Overall 8
Kunoichi Tsubaki is a nice and peaceful slice of life manga about the lifes of ninja girls in a secluded village. It manages to intrigue with its setting while giving a nice amount of comedic and lightearted content.
+ Interesting setting, plenty of Characters with interesting setup, relaxed atmosphere
- slow pacing of main story, some characters are standard and uncreative, (slow release of chapters)
Please note that there are currently only 27 Chapters released. Since chapter releases are rather rare, some people might be contemplating if they should wait for its conclusion or start reading now. I
think that the manga is at a point where it has established most of the characters and the main setting and can start to progress its story in the following chapters. So you might want to wait some longer, if you are interested in the resolve of the story. You can read it already if you are interested in the scenes and interactions of the characters.
I will discuss about some of the interesting things of the manga and some of its possibilities in the following.
Most of the content is slice of life with comedic interactions. This scenes are done very fine. If you have read and liked any of the other works of the mangaka, you will find many similarities and are pleased with the overall quality. I apreciate the quality of reasoning that is given. Problems are not just used for comedic reasons without trying to resolve them (apart from minor ones). And the solutions are reasonable and resemble the characters involved. Comedic scenes are funny and entertaining and fullfill their purpose of making the manga feel lighthearted and relaxing. If you like slice of life mangas with a specific setting, this will be right for you.
Setting and direction:
One of the main points of the manga is its setting. I myself did not care about it at the beginning since the setting could easily backfire and only be used as an artificial attention grabber. But the mangaka manages to make it intruiging without getting too distracted by it. One does follow Kunoichi as the leader of her squad and learns about the other squads and persons inside her clan. These interactions between Kunoichi and the other persons are interesting and are a good start to establish the other characters. Meanwhile the main story about the village as an isolated community gets explained and is expanded. Kunoichi learns about the reasons for the seclusion of the village and their stand in regard to men. The divide between men and women therefore gets more understandable. This is interesting since it opens up the plot for some interesting developments. Will Kunoichi knowing this try to know more about men or will she follow the rules of the village? Will the isolation of the clan stop? Why does the teacher know about it? It is possible that the plot will change the setting respectively. This allows the world to feel wider than it is presented in the manga. Note that the manga still does advance the main plot of Kunoichi slowly. At chapter 27 it still feels like most the girls do is having fun and getting to know each other. This is fine, but it means that the manga also could just ignore its setting later on. By looking at other mangas of the mangaka one can not come up with a clear conclusion. I guess by some of his other works and the general trend of the manga, that there will be some form of progression of the seeting in a non-dramatic and slow-paced manner (like Kunoichi getting to know a man, starting to visit him sometimes, getting critized by the village elder, resolving the issue slowly and making friends with everyone). This is fine and I think Kunoichi will be a likeable Manga with this direction.
One of the strong points of the manga are its characters. Kunoichi is the main heroine. She is your cute, brave and dutiful leader that does try to balance her own interests with the priorities of the clan. She is the best detailed character of the manga and her emotions and actions come to be understandable as one does progress with the manga. I like most of the mangakas works and I think that Kunoichi is one of his most well done characters. So Kunoichi is the character with the most draw and if you like her you might like the manga.
Also there are plenty of other characters in all kind of colors. It really feels like a small village with many people knowing each other but being distant enough to not be best buddies. I think that many of these characters are established nicely. Clan leader is a teacher and the girl that is always around her is alright. Most of the girls that have some kind of relation with Kunoichi are likeable. Also notable are some of the leaders of the other Squads that are enough interesting that you want to know more about them, in specific the leaders of the dog and sheep squad. And characters that are introduced later often increase the overall quality of other characters. One does feel some kind of progression in character interactions. All in all most characters are not very unqiue but feel interesting enough to be worthwile additions to the rooster.
Despite this some of the characters fall rather flat decreasing the overall quality of the manga. Especially noteable are Sazanka and Asagao the other two persons of the Akane squad. Sazanka will get a slight character arc and gets a bit more understandable as the manga progresses. Asagao is at chapter 27 still not very relatable and pretty generic. She mostly is just an airhead that only wants to eat some yummi food. I also do not think that Asagao could be done more interesting by a simple character arc. And while I see the value of Sazanka some more, she still feels to insignificant to be a main character. I guess their purpose is to contrast them to Kunoichi. Kunoichi has to use her skills to find a balance between them both since they have different opinions and priorities. So they are making Kunoichi more likeable as a leader in some sense. While this is positive, they still lack on their own as characters. So it feels like they could need an improvement in quality. Other than that some of the other side characters also feel generic and not interesting at all. Still it is early for the manga and some characters were given a better treatment in later chapters, so there is the possibility that this might get better.
All in all I think that the characters are mostly done fine and that the manga has advanced enough to make for an interesting set of characters. If the current cast of characters is maintainend and improved upon then I would see this to one of the a main points of this manga.
Overall this is a good slice of life manga with an interesting setting and cast of characters. All the aspects that currently are lacking could be resolved in following chapters and it feels like the story is progressing fine. If there will be enough insights into the setting and characters than this might be a very good and relaxing manga for many readers.