Manga: Tail of the Moon, Volume 8

“Tail of the Moon” continues on with the adventures of Usagi and Hanzo Hattori. For those of you not familiar with this story, it’s a fluffly romp through feudal Japan in which the Ninja clans of Iga are perpetually preparing for war, each clan aligning themselves with either the treacherous Nobunaga or the Budda-like Ieyasu Toukagawa. Usagi and Hanzo are, of course, aligned with Toukagawa. The story starts as Usagi is sent to a neighboring ninja village to become the wife of the clan head, Hanzo Hattori. Her main duty is described as bearing him a strong heir. Usagi is a Rubenesque teenager, who for the most part is not good for much other than bearing children — okay, that’s worth a lot — sorry. Hanzo is a stoic ninja who initially shows no interest in Usagi and says he will not marry her until she becomes a ninja. Hanzo, of course, is gorgeous, so Usagi and every other single female swoons in Hanzo’s presence. Usagi trains hard, but it seems that she’s not cut out to be ninja. She is, however, an uncommonly good herbalist, which is great addition to a ninja village. And so the story goes with Hanzo, various relatives, and villagers going on adventures with Usagi as she tries to qualify to be a ninja. As things progress, Usagi’s character strengthens and Hanzo heart melts — it’s so nice :).

Anyhow, in this volume Usagi is finally earns her ninja qualification, which is quickly revoked. To get it back, she is sent on a mission with Goemon, her childhood friend and initial fiancee. (Goemon is still in love with her.) On this mission Usagi and Goemon must pretend to be husband and wife and there’s some tension, mostly in Goemon’s mind about the situation. Usagi ends up in the base of the enemy without Hanzo and all seems lost …

This was yet another fun volume of this series. I like how this series manages to move along without ever taking itself too seriously, while at the same time, being packed with adventure and heart. I like the little fan service drawings between the chapters. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this fun manga series.

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