“To Have And To Hold” – Tail of the Moon (manga) – 3/10 Sugar Cubes


Love, and a cough, cannot be hid. ~George Herbert

Genre: Shoujo/ Romance/ Comedy / Drama/ Action

Review Status: Full (15 Volumes/ 15 Volumes)

Licensed: Licensed in the US

Art: Typical shoujo- all of the bishies look alike except for their hair. All the girls are gorgeous and chesty (except for the main, because we can’t have a busty main, now can we?). It looks like every other ancient-Japan-shoujo manga out there.

Summary: Usagi is the granddaughter of the leader of a presitgious ninja village, but she’s such a klutz that she’s never made it out of the kiddie class. Frustrated with Usagi’s lack of progress, her grandfather sends her to marry Lord Hanzo and have lots of ninja babies. But the lord has no interest in her or her childbearing potential! (Source: Viz Media)

Review: This is a story about Usa, a girl that washes out of being a ninja at the age of 15 due to laziness and is immediately sent to the local lord to marry him and have his kids. In the first chapter. After that, it goes downhill.

So! She proclaims to not go back until she’s successful, and starts on a mission to improve her ninjutsu and become a worthy bride. There’s the obligatory rivals, the embarrassing situations, drama out the wazzoo, and a whole lot of values dissonance- the story clearly states that this takes place in the 1500’s, so there’s a lot of talk about getting pregnant at ages that would be considered totally unacceptable today, and some co-ed bathing (and these aren’t kids we’re talking about, here) and almost-rape.

Now, some of those things can be used well in a manga. Except the characters’ terminal stupidity means that these don’t work well- at all! Even though Usagi is a lazy idiot (Mary Sue, I should say- she only has one redeeming plot device skill), she’s sent on very important, very dangerous missions…. Where she consistently messes up due to her stupidity, such as leaving a message on the floor with important information. Just leaving it there, with no thought to the danger it would put her and her partner in if it were discovered! And, being the main character, all the men want her. Badly. All of them.

This does have a happy end- after a brief, non-inspired, non-inspiring speech about revenge and how it’s not good. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t impressed.

Overall, this sends incredibly mixed messages about what this manga is. The content says it’s for older teens, the execution says it’s for pre-teens. It’s just not that good.

Recommended: No. Not for anyone, unless they’re into sappy, sexual-tension-filled, poorly-executed romances. Probably 15+ due to somewhat graphic instances of sex and constant references to it. There’s also some violence and blood.

Other titles you might like:
Paradise Kiss (manga),
NANA (manga and anime),
5 Centimeters per Second (anime),
Red River (manga),
Kanon (anime),
Seirei no Moribito (anime)
Romeo x Juliet (anime)
Castle in the Sky (anime_=)

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