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Shinobi Life
Shinobi Life
Shinobi Life
Manga Review

There hasn't been a manga that made me look like a complete moron in a while so, quite unknowingly, I whipped out Shinobi Life in public and proceeded to make a fool of myself. I mean a pink manga with a ninja hugging a girl on the cover is not literary gold but I didn't expect it to be a complete riot of a comedy either. I thought it was going to be a straight girlie girl romantic ninja love story kind of thing. I guess I should have paid attention to that little itty bitty label on the top right corner of the back that says "Romance/Comedy", huh?

It starts out pretty cool; ninja man protecting a princess gets blown up, drops into a lake, and passes out. It immediately fasts forward into the present day where our young heroine, Beni, is getting ready to be pushed off a roof. She doesn't mind the dying part as long as her father gets blamed for it. She actually prefers to be kidnapped and then killed; suicide like her mom is not what she wants. If she kills herself, her father is going to blame her for it or say it was an accident or something just like her mom; he won't admit that it's all his fault for ignoring everyone's feelings and thoughts when he wants to do something. Just when Beni finished pushing all her kidnapper's button and he's ready to drop her off the roof, it starts to rain.

Shinobi Life Wow, the Weather Girls weren't kidding when they said "It's Raining Men". It rained a man right onto Beni, knocked her right out of her kidnapper's grip, and finally off the roof. Yay! She got the ending she wanted! Unfortunately, her survival instincts kicked in and she pummeled the guy until he woke up just in time to save her from plummeting to her death. It's the yummy ninja man from before and he has mistaken Beni for the princess that he was protecting. As a ninja, Kagetora is sworn to protect her with his life and since Beni's legs gave out on her after all this excitement, she needed someone to take her home and piss her father off. Kagetora fit the bill perfectly; not only was he giving out a weird vibe, he's still wearing his ninja get-up and is talking so formally and seriously.

Shinobi Life You may be wondering if I am definitely a moron by now because all this sounds very serious and only potentially cool and romantic at best. You can probably only imagine the danger lurking in every shadow that Kagetora must protect Beni from and there is definitely no shortage of masochistic secretaries, murderous housemaids, various other kidnappers, and a maybe an assortment of hidden ninjas thrown in for fun. But can you imagine what a thong looks like to a ninja from the past? Thinking it unbefitting a lady of her standing to wear, Kagetora proceeded to pull the "loin's cloth" off his "princess" the only way he knows a loin-cloth should be pulled off: upwards. No matter how painful it sounds, like a guy getting hit in the balls by a child, it's funny stuff! Don't you go "Oww..." and then start laughing your head off? If this doesn't make you laugh, imagine having to carry dried dog feces in your pocket all the time for just in case you need a smoke signal. Supposedly, they make great ones because the wind can't disperse it easily. Kagetora is training Beni's Alaskan Malamute (you know, the type of dog that Eskimos train to pull dogsleds) to be a ninja and is constantly trying to gather its poops to dry out to use. He thinks Kuroki the dog is a wolf... If Beni also has a Chihuahua, is he going to train it to be a ninja dog, too?

Part coolness, part romance, part action, and good dose of schadenfreude (happiness at the misfortune of others); what more can you ask for in a manga?

Reviewed by Carolyn Whu, September 2010

Below: Two double page spreads from Shinobi Life (click on to view at full size).

Shinobi Life: A double page spread from the manga

Shinobi Life: A double page spread from the manga

Below: A panel from the Shinobi Life manga.

Shinobi Life: An illustration from the manga

Shinobi Life

Shinobi Life Website Links:

Shinobi Life at Tokyopop

Shinobi Life review at Manga Maniac Cafe

Shinobi Life at Baka-Updates Manga

Shinobi Life (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Shinobi Life entry at Wikipedia

Below: Illustrations from the Shinobi Life manga.

Shinobi Life: An illustration from the manga

Shinobi Life: An illustration from the manga

Shinobi Life: An illustration from the manga

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