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[Manga Talk] SARADINASA by Masumi Kawasou (河惣益巳)

I was doing a review on “Not so trashy pirate shoujo” and Saradinasa was one part of it… Somehow I manage to write its review much longer than expected… so here it is : )

View Full Size Image SARADINASA by Masumi Kawasou (河惣益巳)

サラディナーサ (公主冒險記)

Complete: 9 volumes

The story: 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.

Leon became the new leader of Frontera Family when he was just 12 years old. Although Philip II has shown great respect to his deceased father, the king paid little attention to the “child leader”.

But PhilipII has not forgotten the importance of Frontera, and as a result Leon was married to Luisa under the king’s recommendation. Luisa (or “Charlotte Anna Maria Luisa”) was a cousin of Philp II, as well as his lover. She has loved Philip II wholeheartedly and was heart broken when she found out he has married her off. One evening, in the royal garden, she cried in King Philip II’s embrace…  they did not see Don Juan, Philip II’s illegitimate young brother has been watching them, and fell in love with the beautiful Louisa.

Despite of the 5 years age gap, Luisa did finally fell in love with the young Leon…. and of course, as time passed by, Leon has grown to be a fine young man. A few years later, the couple was summoned to the royal palace again. This time, Philip II saw the changes in Leon – his confidence, his physique, his love to Louisa, and vice versa. The king was jealous… and raped Louisa that evening. Leon lost his rage, had a sword fight with the king, lost one eye, and vowed to return to kill the king one day.

Nine months later, Louisa gave birth to Saradinasa and passed away.

Saradinassa has been raised and trained by Leon as the next Frontera leader. At 10 years old, she met Don Juan (who was about the same age as Leon). Don Juan, shocked to see her resemblance to Lousia proposed to Saradinassa. The marriage proposal was disapproved by the Philip II; all these years, the king has been insisting Saradinassa as his true blood-related daughter, and has been ordering Leon to return his daughter back to him.  Leon taking none of this, continued to sail abroad with Saradinassa, whom he also insisted was his own daughter. Anyway, Saradinassa accepted Don Juan’s marriage proposal and agreed to marry when she turned 17….

Meanwhile, the little Sardinassa encountered the 12 years old Marshall during a street-fight. Marshall was with his father, captain Drake, the great English pirate. Leon recognised Drake instantly from the sword he was carrying.

Marshall and Sardinassa met again when she turned 16. In disguise, Marshall was recommended by Philip II to Saradinassa as new body guard. Little did Marshall know that, there has already been many body guards recommended to her by the king in the past, and only a few has returned to the palace well and alive ^^

And nor did Marshall realise that both Sardinassa and Leon have recognised him instantly in the palace… his pathetic spying activities were already discovered by the two right at the beginning!

When Don Juan and Sardinassa met again, he fell in love with her once again. This time, his love for her was nothing related to her mother in any way. It was Sardinassa he would be devoted to, and only to whom he would love and marry.

Over the years, Don Juan has been trying desperately to win the king’s attention to see him as a younger brother.  But in Philip II’s eyes, Don Juan was always the illegitimate one, and he was only useful for military purposes. In the next few years, the king would turn his jealousy on Don Juan over his beauty and his raising popularity over him…..

….. and all these would lead to the tragedies later in the series…..  Yes, few deaths (of our main characters) were involved! (sob~)

My say: It is hard to pick one thing that I do not like in this series.

I agree that, for some, the artwork may be far too old-school for liking. But mate,  after-all, my blog is all about those OLD-SCHOOL shoujos!  So what are we complaining about? ^^

Storyline wise, its theme already hits my jackpot – a pirate shoujo set in the Golden Age of Europe, i.e. strong presence of Queen Elizabeth I of England and King Philip II of Spain, whose stories always fascinate me……. what more could I ask for?!  : )

Actually, I would have wanted a bit more romance, or romantic feelings coming from Saradinassa herself. In no doubt she has loved Leon wholeheartedly, whom had been a father/brother/lover(?) figure in her early days. She let Marshall stayed by her side,  originally (and merely) because of his long dark hair, just like Leon’s.  Leon was simply irreplaceable in her heart….  But what about her feelings towards Don Juan and Marshall? [spoiler] She was very sad after Don Juan’s death. She even admitted to herself that she has started to like him but it was already too late…. whether or not she meant sit romantically, I really wish Don Juan would have realised this when he died. It was unfortunate that Don Juan’s life was destined to be a tragedy (so much so that I have loved his character! Darn!!) It would, at least, have been a blessing to Don Juan, thinking/knowing the woman he loved has returned her love to him at last…..

As for her feelings towards Marshall, hmmm… Even she said it; she chose to marry him because Leon and Don Juan were no longer around her, meaning there were no other “candidates” but him. The other thing, it was a tradition that a female leader of the Frontera Family would bear a child soon to inherit the family…. So,  sorry Marshall, you are lucky to have Saradinassa at the end, but I think Don J has beaten you in some way : )

Overall, the story of “Saradinassa” was fast paced and packed with actions (and may be a small degree of marital wars strategies if anyone is interested). However, I would turn away from it if I were looking for something very shoujoly romantic, e.g. running a storyline like, “Help/ Ohhhh! I am kidnapped by a pirate….“, etc.

I suppose most (if not all) of Masumi Kawasou’s heroines do tend to have strong personalities, e.g. Eugenie Victoria Smith from the Jenny Series (ジェニー・シリーズ), not to mention the heroine from Ryuuhou (龍鳳)….

Work of Masumi Kawasou is popular in Japan (at least judging by the number of titles which have been published….) But outside Japan, her work is probably more recognised through Touring Express (ツーリング・エクスプレス) and Karin (火輪), both contains romance and BL elements.

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  1. Pingback: Karin | Errances et phylactères - March 26, 2013

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