Before she left her rural village to go to school in the big city, 6-year-old Shinobu told her friend Saizou to grow up strong so he could someday come and protect her. Now 16, Shinobu's enjoying life at the Tokyo Private Imperial Academy. But when a male exchange student comes to the school, it turns out to be none other than Saizou! Although his appearance hasn't changed much, he is now a skilled ninja. And his arrival couldn't be more timely: Someone is out to get Shinobu, but no one knows who or why. Saizou wants to be more than a protector to his old friend—but he may have a rival.
I decided to read this manga for two reasons: I like ninjas and I liked the mangaka's work in Issho ni Neyou yo.
Teru Teru x Shounen is very slow-paced. Although, there are some ninja moments most of the story revolves around politics, heritage and freedom. The cliché 'bird trapped in a cage' analogy is referenced often in later chapters.
The writing was predictable but interesting. I found myself making a bunch of educated guesses about the identities of the characters. I would think, “I bet someone so will be evil” and I would be right, but said character's reason for evil would surprise me. The pleasant
thing about this manga is wrongdoing isn't black and white, even heroic characters partake in deceitful actions.
All of the lies, backstabbing, and family problems make this manga play out as a melodrama/soap opera. Personally, toward the fifty chapter mark the mangaka jumped the shark BIG TIME. I literally had to roll my eyes. I don't mind a pinch of fantasy, but the manga had been mostly realistic (minus animal-user) until that point. Thankfully, there were no other 'out of left field' moments.
Much like Issho ni Neyo yo the story got very confusing in climatic points.
I found this to be too much of a downer at times, which didn't help keep my interest. This story is actually nicely written but just not captivating to me.
I liked the characters though I wouldn't call any of them my favorite. If I had to choose I did like Shou a great deal more than anyone else. I disliked Chiyo until she showed herself to be the most level-headed and capable of all. Saizou was also a sweetener to the cast. Since he was a ninja, he obviously could fight and protect others and himself well. I liked that Saizou got tougher without getting meaner.
Shinobu I found was just a catalyst for the events around her. I am very neutral with her. I don't like or dislike her. Her parent situation was sad though.
Sasuke was a strong character. I am glad he was Saizou's friend.
The twins, Harumi and Kenzou(?), were forgettable but decent.
I liked the ninja kids Daisuke and Rokuta!
Yuuri was unreasonable.
The villains (if you can really call them that) were a unique bunch.
I liked the art a lot. Saizou and Shouko are gorgeous to look upon. I like how the character's faces gradually mature. I am not sure if that was a conscious decision on the mangaka's part, but it was a great addition.
There wasn't much time for romance probably due to that pesky 'shounen' in the title, and life-threatening trouble for Saizou and Shinobu. I am glad there were no true love rivals (Chiyo seems to just be the teasing type). The few kisses and hugs from Saiozu and Shinobu are quite 'aww-worthy.'
Now, the romance between Shouko, Shinobu's mother, and 'that guy' was adorable to watch. It's a shame that a series of events turned Shouko into an affectionless butt.
Would you believe all 65 chapters have been translated except the last one? I can not judge the final chapter, but from what I did read this was alright. It was a struggle for me to finish, but the story's good
I'll try to make this review as spoiler-free as possible...
Let's start with the positive aspects:
As the synopsis suggests, this story is about ninja. Well, it's not ninja in naruto fashion, but in clan-sort-of fashion with ninja as bodyguards. I found this realistic and interesting. Another nice thing about this manga is the development of romance. In my opinion, it's nicely paced, not too fast. Most shojo manga I have read had this crazy pace of budding romance to the point. This manga, however, made me relate to and see how they (at least the male lead) are attracted to each other. Though I have
seen some reviews finding this pacing too suspenseful and frustrating, so if you're an impatient type, then be warned.
As for the negatives:
For one thing, it took quite a while for real story to start. You can say the development of attraction is quite slow, well, in the opinion of some people.
Also, while there are many twists, some bits and pieces were so 'twisted' that I was at a loss.
In general, though, it's pretty decent and better than most shojo manga of this time I have read. Let's say most mysteries would be answered at the end.
The at is excellent, eye-candy shojo art (and not crappy shojo art). It started off as a comical style and getting better and BETTER later.
The male lead is probably the most important reason why I enjoyed this manga. On the surface, he's shy and cute, genuinely hating violence, but when it comes to protecting the female lead, he would do absolutely everything and remain loyal to her. I won't spoil anymore, but at one point you sort of know his character well enough to know how he actually feel despite his actions.
The female lead may appear an annoying Tsundere/Hime character at the beginning who doesn't give a s--- about the dedicated male lead. But you will soon learn that she has a reason for acting untrustful like that. Over time, she grew up.
Overall, I think I could see character development in them, but it is questionable if it is well executed or not.
As for the side characters, I think they are pretty average shojo characters, but none of them are really disagreeable (though you might find them disagreeable at first).
Despite all the flaws, I totally enjoyed this manga. Must be because I have a thing for nice-but-actually-badass charcater, though! The male lead is totally my type.
While I think it doesn't deserve a 9, I really enjoyed this shojo manga so much that I think 7 would be too low. So, yes, if you like somewhat suspenseful drama, go for it. But if you're looking for master-bodyguard rom-com or naruto-like ninja action, then no. Oh, but if you're looking for something like Nabari no Ou, then I guess it is pretty similar in that it's more character-oriented than action-oriented.