My first review so hope you enjoy!
To be reading Shinohayu: The Dawn of Age, one would have probably come from reading the main installments of the series; Saki. So this begs the question: Is Shinohayu worth your time? The short answer would be most likely yes and here is why:
Story: Here is what mainly differentiates Shinohayu with Saki. Shinohayu has a plot which is actively seeked out unlike Saki. Sure, one could say that Saki's plot is with her sister but that is not really being pursued that much in the manga. On the other hand, Shinohayu follows Shino who tries to win tournaments for
a reason. She has a goal unlike Saki which is a major plus side to the manga. Now there is one small problem with the story where characters seem to be swept under the rug a bit but this is most likely due to the lack of chapters so far.
Art: The art is really cute and I love the style. It is similar to Achiga-hen's art (probably because same illustrator) so the characters are pretty adorable. I have no problems with the art so far.
Characters: The characters in Shinohayu given a lot of character unlike Saki. It is able to really give each of the protagonists real depth so that one can understand and like them more. This is also something that I feel Shinohayu does that Saki does not do. We understand the past of the Shinohayu characters while Kiyosumi's members do not feel characterised all that much.
Enjoyment: Here comes the big kicker for Shinohayu. I personally love Shinohayu however, I can agree that Saki is a lot more enjoyable. Saki was just better at giving you energy while you watched the players fighting out on the mahjong table while in Shinohayu, most matches only lasted for one chapter at most. This really loses out on the energy that you would feel in Saki and is one of the bigger things which would most likely stop people from reading this manga.
Overall: In my opinion, Shinohayu does better than Saki however I will agree that Saki was more enjoyable. Shinohayu is one of those series which you know is going to be really slow and will probably take ages to get somewhere but I feel that when it finally gets there, it will overtake Saki and become the better of the two series unless Saki finally does something with all the things it has been building. At this point in time however, Shinohayu is still developing and has yet to even reach middle school so there can be a ton of changes to the mahjong being played and skills being developed to allow the characters be flushed out more and join them on their journey. One of the friends of Shino says it perfectly, 'I think I'll root for Shino... She loves mahjong so so much, there's nothing one can do about her. How could one not root someone like that?' I love Shinohayu and hope that you could enjoy it too. I understand that there is a large difference in mood but if you like the way the story is set out, stick around because you will probably also love it. Only problem now is that it will probably take at least another two years before we reach anything near the eventual climax. Overall, I rate this manga a 9/10.
I hope you can give me some feedback on my first review and I hope you enjoyed it.