I always fancy reading a pirate shoujo, especially if it was set in the Golden Age of Europe.
The thing is, a pirate shoujo could easily be as cheesy as it sounds. Most often then not, its story probably runs along the line of “Help (or Ohhh!) I am kidnapped by a pirate…”, or the two protagonists (one being the pirate, of course) were somehow brought together with a vengeance, etc….. and then before we know it, those kidnapping/ vengeance lines would all of a sudden become “shoujoly romantic” or “hot & spicy” depending on the level of smuts….. Cheesy/ trashy or not, those pirate shoujos do serve their purposes : )
Not long ago, I was able to get my hands on some old-school, but not-so-trashy pirate shoujo. As a matter of fact, I like them so much, that it would be a sin for me not saying they are the best, and the most classic, pirate shoujos I have ever read….
SARADINASA by Masumi Kawasou, サラディナーサ by 河惣益巳
The strong influence and power of Spanish navy has enabled Spain to become the foremost kingdom in Europe during its Golden Age. But this powerful navy force has always been relying on the Frontera Family, which was traditionally tied to serve the Spanish royal. But this tie was under the threat of being broken when kingdom was under the reign of Philip II…..
More on Saradinasa here.
Nanatsu no Erudorado by Yamamoto Sumika, 7つの黄金郷 by 山本鈴美香
After ten years of sailing abroad , Captain Drake and team was retuning home, England. On board, were the pair of Redford Twins – Olivier and Errol. When Olivier was 4 years old, she was kidnapped and her back was tattooed with letters “EL DORADO”. The tattoo were supposed to be the key (map) to the hidden treasures in the lost city of Inca. Vatican and Spain wanted Olivie (i.e. the golden treasures) as a tool to control England., so they capture Olivie’s mother and imprisoned her in an unknown island. Olivie’s adventurous journey thus began….. More on Nanatsu no Erudorado here.
WANTED by HINO Matsuri (樋野まつり)
Armelia is an orphan girl who sings for work. One day, she met a boy, Luce, and fell in love with him. Unfortunately, Luce was kidnapped by the notorious pirate, Scar. Armelia swore to herself that one day she would rescue Luce. But the truth is not what she thought it was…
My say: Love it love it love it!! A very typical simple pirate shoujo storyline, in an one-shot volume, with girl seeking for revenge, fell for the “baddie” and mixed with some adventures here and there… As usual, beautiful artwork by Hino sensei that offers a high shoujo entertainment value”! In short, there is nothing here for me not to like. : )
UMI no KISHIDAN by TOGAWA Mitomo, 海の綺士団 by 戸川視友
It’s the 16th century and the knights of the Mediterranean country Malta take pride in being the strongest in the world. Aciel is a beautiful lady-knight who gradually makes her way into the group of the knights, despite the fact it’s forbidden for women to be knights…. (from Baka-Updates)
My say: Its artwork was not exactly to my liking. Having familiarised myself with Togawa’s style in her other work (which were mostly BL), I have to keep reminding myself that, in this case, Aciel was a “beautiful LADY knight”….. Though this series was not an old-school by my definition, I always fancy a historical shoujo, and it is an interesting pirate shoujo that should no way be missed under my radar. ^^In particular, the interactions between Aciel, the lady knight of Malta, and Dragut, admiral of the Ottoman fleet were fantastically illustrated in the series. Ironically, I found Dragut’s character in the story was so strong that it even outshined the male protagonist, Lucas whom was also Aciel’s eventual love interest. In fact, in any other reviews of Umi no Kishidan which I have come across with, many comments have left references to Dragut (and their wishes for Aciel to end up being romantically involved with Dragut in particular!)…. just shows how much the fans have loved his character in Umi no Kishidan. : )
CARIB NO ONNA KAIZOKU (Caribbean’s Female Pirate) by OKA Keiko, カリブの女海賊 by 丘けい子
Published in ~1970, a true old-school shoujo classic! ^^
In 1971, a lot of French nobles chose to fled their country in the wake of the revolution. The noble daughter Carolina was on-board to the States (yes, the States!) with her fiance. The ship was attacked by pirate and her fiance was killed by “Black Hawk”, the pirate leader. Carolina sworn to seek revenge on “Black Hawk”…… (I know I know, it was that oh-so-trashy/very-shoujo line again… but this is an old-school classic, hence its cheesiness can be forgiven ^^ )
Kin no Alexandra by FUMIZUKI Kyouko, 金のアレクサンドラ by 文月今日子
Alexandra was the only daughter of Venice’s wealthiest merchant. When her father re-married, Alexandra dreamed to leave Venice and set sail for the seven seas….. But first, she was determined to visit the magical Egypt, her birth place and where her mother passed away….
My say: A relatively a short and pleasure read as the series offers some degree of comedy and romance. Nonetheless, still found the story somehow fell short and rushed as the series was completed in three volumes. I suppose it would have turned into an even more interesting pirate shoujo, should there be some further character and relationship development in the story….. oh well~
Spirit of the Ocean by Yi Huan, 碧海精靈 by 依歡
The background of the story is Ming Dynasty, China. The main character of the story is an outgoing teenage girl named Ning Hai, who is the daughter of the head pirate. One day, Hai lead a group of pirates to rob a Spanish ambassador ship while her father was away. There she met an English man, Michael, who was traveling with the Spaniards. Michael gladly traded the whole ship of treasures for a map of China. Later, a friend of Hai was caught by the new police inspector Shao ZhiSiün. Hai snuck out to save her friend…
My say: Story was written and illustrated by Yi Huan at an early stage of her mangaka (or “mahuaka”) career, meaning its artwork was just as raw and stiff as we see in her “Proclaiming and Love“. However I would still consider this series as a true ‘classic pirate shoujo’; it offers a great deal of romance and drama between our protagonists, as the story unfolds in a typical Yi Huan style.
Kaizoku Hime by YAMASHITA Tomomi, 海賊姫 by 山下友美
My limited say: Had high expectation on it since reading Apothecarius Argentum by the same mangaka. Unfortunately was left unsatisfied with its vol. 1, so much so that there is barely anything interesting for me to point out here. In fact, the story barely left a mark in my memory as I have already forgotten what the story was about, given that it was merely a month since I last touched it… just goes to show how “remarkable” its storyline is, doesn’t it? Anyway, wish the storyline in vol. 2 and onwards will get better….. yes, let us all not lost faith in it just yet! ^^
***OTHERS*** – pirate shoujos which I have not but wish to read…..
Nanatsu no Umi Nanatsu no Sora by AOIKE Yasuko, 七つの海七つの空 by 青池保子
(From Baka-Updates) Chronicles the conflict between Tyrian Persimmon (AKA, The Man in Purple, ancestor of one Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach) and Luminous Red Benedict (AKA, pirate ancestor of one Dorian Red Gloria).
Seven Seas and Seven Sky (七海星空), by the same author of “From Eroica With Love”. I have not read the series, so I cannot really do a review on it. But given it was completed by the great author Aoike Yasuko…. I wish I could get my hands on a copy and read it asap! More on Seven Seas and Seven Sky: http://belladonna.org/sevenskies.html
Emerarudo no Kaizoku by KIHARA Toshie, エメラルドの海賊 by 木原敏江
Hakuba no shoujo by WATANABE Masako, 白馬の少女 by わたなべまさこ
Another very old-school classic, released in the late 1950’s – Michiru is a daughter of the owner of Akamatsu Hospital. She was kidnapped by a pirate called Runpan when she was a baby. She has grown up as Runpan’s daughter, Daisy. She was raised by Kurou an island called Babahi. When Daisy and her real parents meet ten years later, they don’t recognize each other. One day, Daisy gets sick and needs blood. A doctor says her real mother’s blood is the best, but her father’s blood could work. Runpan loves her so deeply that he confesses Daisy is actually Mr. and Mrs. Akamatsu’s daughter. Even though Daisy gets back to her real parents’ place, she is shocked when she is scolded by Mrs. Akamatsu and leaves them for Runpan’s place. She and Runpan go to Babahi. But Babahi is a volcano island and it explodes. Runpan and Kurou die in the explosion. (From Baka-Updates)
Kaizoku to Ningyo by KIUCHI Tatsuya, 海賊と人魚 by 木内たつや (木內辰哉)
During the time when the world is full of barren lands and big ships sail out to the vast oceans, a very rare type of sub-human–mermaid–was born. Normally, they have white hair, but only in water does the color change. Among the aristocrats, they are traded for large sums of money. Hisui is a merman with scarlet hair, and he’s kept by a lord. However, as he’s stolen away by the pirate Ikuta and gains freedom, they start their journey together! (From Baka-Updates)
NB. Whilst I was “ensured” by friends that this series is tagged as a “fantasy shoujo“, I still left unsure (and unconvinced) about it…. and so the mangaka too I suspect, as the direction of storyline remains unclear – is it going to be 100%BL, or will the silver hair bishounen protagonist somehow turn into a bishoujo at the end (aka a “hard-sell shoujo line”), or may be…….. ?
*** HARLEQUIN COMICS ***
*Just so if anyone is interested, there is also manga version of the harlequin (or alike) romance novels out there about pirates, such as Harem no Hanayome
or this one….
HAREM no HANAYOME
Captive of Harlem by Anne Herries and illustrated by NAKAMURA Chisato,
後宮的新娘 by 中村地里
(Summary from fictiondb): Sold to Suleiman Bakhar after being taken prisoner on the high seas, Eleanor Nash is fearful of what will become of her. The all-powerful Suleiman will not allow her to leave Constantinople, while Eleanor is adamant that she will not willingly become his concubine. Impressed by his spirited captive, Suleiman seeks her out at every opportunity. To Eleanor’s surprise, he’s open to Western ways. The glimpses of the sensitive man behind the awesome public image tease and tantalize her — and his seduction is hard to resist. But can Eleanor ever hope to become his one true love?
Vol 1: Lady Eleanor, an English noblewoman, is kidnapped by pirates in the Mediterranean Sea in the mid-16th century. She is devastated, knowing she is taken to a slave market. “I will buy the girl,” Suleiman, the son of a senior government official buys her. Arrogant and full of devilish appeal, Suleiman confines her in his harlem. “I will not be a plaything of that handsome devil!” Eleanor vows to escape from his harlem.
Vol. 2: Confined in his harlem, Eleanor mistakes Suleiman to be an arrogant barbarian at first. However, she soon finds herself falling under the spell of his intelligent and sophisticated charm. “How can I love him? I am merely one of his many concubines…!,” Tormented by her mounting feeling for Suleiman, Eleanor runs away from the harlem without knowing her destiny…