Jul 8, 2016
KingsofLeon (All reviews)
Yes, Anatolia Story (Red River) is a shoujo manga, but perhaps more importantly it provides an outlook along with commentary of the Hittite empire. If you're like me and have a slight interest in historical empires or simply history itself I'll go ahead and state that you should read this manga because I found that to be the primary focus of the content.

STORY (8) - Shinohara did a great job of mixing mostly accurate history and fantasy to create a historical shoujo story. The story starts off strong and pulls you in (ba dum tss) to the world of the Bronze Age featuring the Hittites. I was pleasantly surprised with how accurate the timeline was in addition to the King's bloodline. I had a limited scope of knowledge about the Hittites from World History class (waaay back in the day) so I learned a ton about the relationship between the Hittites and other empires on my own time because this manga was the catalyst. Now on to the bad parts about the story. It gets repetitive and frustrating with the same antagonists making appearance after appearance. Fortunately, you'll still want to keep turning the page to see what happens next hoping for a good resolution. It's a hard life for us readers, sigh.

ART (6) - There are your typical shoujo drawn scenes with big eyes, flowers, etc. I didn't judge it there, but rather on character detailing and environments such as the empire, palace, and battle grounds. Shinohara does a decent job here, but overall characters look "2D" and at times inconsistent (Ilbani's eyes and eyebrows for example), battle grounds and armies didn't leave me impressed either. Some characters look too similar such as Kail, Zananza, and Urhi. It's confusing and to be honest kind of lazy on Shinohara's part. The art gets the job done I guess and this is disregarding some of the lesser quality scans floating around.

CHARACTER (7) - Yuuri goes through multiple character development arcs. Great to see her become a respected leader which goes against the grain of a female lead generally being helpless. Kail's character is sufficiently fleshed out although I would have liked to see a backstory of him and his family. I would have also liked to get some insight on how he became the type of leader he was. Side characters get a respectable amount of attention, but Ramses steals the show overall as the second lead. The development for the antagonists I felt was too little too late, which in turn factored in to the anticlimactic ending (more on that later).

ENJOYMENT (7) - Main thing to point out here is that the historical aspect really carries the show as opposed to the increasingly silly antagonist background plot. The repetitive dilemmas and at times suspect art take the enjoyment down a couple of notches, but I still had a good time reading through the story.

OVERALL (7) - Would have liked to give it a 7.5 fwiw. Admittedly, I haven't read many shoujo manga, but I'm glad I read Red River. I feel that the unique historical environment helps it escape common shoujo tropes such as a story becoming progressively less interesting. The ending I felt was anticlimactic as a I stated above because I had a hard time empathizing with the antagonists. I felt as if there was something missing, I kept reading on and thinking, "There's gonna be a huge reveal soon, right??". But, the backstory on the antagonists was meh except for one small twist. Again, I would definitely recommend Red River to anyone who likes history and wants to learn for themselves about historical empires in the mediterranean. I normally wouldn't look for shoujo manga to read, but after reading this I'll have an open mind to them now!