A town in ancient China has fallen under a curse and all the water resources are drying up. In order to save everyone, a young girl has been picked as a sacrificial lamb for the water God Kahaku, who resides in a far away places called Suiko. The girl and his bodyguard En travels to Kahaku to prepare for her sacrifice, however, everything is not what it seems.
Writing a review for this manga will cause some minor headaches, because that's how I felt while I was reading this one-volume story. One of the huge reasons for this distractor was that the artwork is extremely unorganized, amateurish, and felt quite sloppy, which was a disappointment due to how beautiful the cover was. None of this would have mattered much if it was held up by a solid and firm storyline, but obviously the story was just as fragile as the art was.
The story started out with unlimited potential, and as I'm writing this review, I'm still brainstorming as to how the plot could
have improved, and why it just drowns like a fat man in a lake. Speaking of lakes, this is what the entire story revolves around, a God named Kahaku who lives in a mystic, ancient magical lake, and he has the power to stop the drought and famine in the country of China. So somehow, some way, a random peasant girl gets chosen, and she has to travel across the entire China to sacrifice herself. She has to travel by foot, wearing a special pair of shoes given to her by her instructors, and along the way a bodyguard travels with her to make sure that she doesn't try to escape.
Now, this sounds like a wonderful story that can be told in a couple of chapters, and it starts out like a grim, but fantastical adventure, you just can't help caring for the girl as she has a quite a strong personality, and the bodyguard, my goodness, he is a complex, gentle, and caring character with the perfect edge of bad-assness ingrained. The chemistry between the two characters is undeniably strong. I was hoping for a short, touching, epic adventure and was ready to sing high praises for this manga when the story suddenly, and miraculously concludes in the first 50 pages. Nevertheless I was a bit frustrated to say the least, what happened to the long journey across the China? What about the dangers they faced? What about the guards who were chasing them? How did they get to the Lake so quick? In just 50 pages? I was wishing for more, and I was left sour.
The next chapter begins a new story set 15 years after the events of the water-drought. And to much dismay, the peasant girl does not return as a main character, the bodyguard is still there, but reserved to a much more reduced role, which was a huge disappointment. This story made almost no sense, and it played out like a poor mystery that was thought out in 30 minutes. It's about a king who gets a prophecy from a witch that in 15 years he will be assassinated by a left-hand wielding swordsman. So what does the King do? You guessed it, cut off the left-hands of everyone in the city, a very logical choice obviously. That is when the bodyguard and his assistant shows up, they're looking to kill an ancient witch who has been said to bring disease upon the land if not taken care of. From there, the plot thickens to a point where a mist of confusion permeates page after page. Overall, the second story makes very little sense, was silly, and it was simply not entertaining in the least bit.
The third story makes some improvements, we learn more about the bodyguard himself, and the peasant girl makes a cameo, letting us know that she and the bodyguard are now lovers and live peacefully in the town of Suiko. Now, there are now three hooded men traveling the lands to hunt down a demon. The bodyguard just happens to know how to kill demons, and they are looking for advice from him. It's an interesting story, but it never develops to a point where I became enthralled by it. You do learn more about the bodyguard, the history of the towns and Kings, but by that time, I just wished that it should have continued the first time with the girl and the bodyguard traveling by themselves on the great journey to save China. Therefore, I was very confused as to how I should rate this manga, but overall, it had a great premise that was never explored to its full potential. Which was quite a disappointment.
Story - 6: The first story was easily the best, and it had the potential to be a great story, however it ends way too quickly, and we get treated to a loosely connected second story, and from there on it became quite a mess.
Art -3: I did not like the art aside from the cover and the opening page. There were almost no art of the landscapes of China, I seriously could not tell what any of the buildings or the land looked like.
Character - 5: The bodyguard and the girl were by far the best characters in the manga, they are the only two characters you care about. Sadly, they appear less and less as later on in the manga, and we are greeted by other, mild and uninteresting characters.
Enjoyment - 5: Only the first story brought me enjoyment. Everything else I could care less about.
Overall - 6: Giving this a six because I really liked the first story, and the two characters were great.