Natasha Apr 19, 2016
Shuriken to Pleats, translated to Shuriken and Pleats, by Matsuri Hino ran in LaLa magazine from September 2014- August 2015. It is a total of 11 chapters, which makes up 2 tankobans in Japan. It was licensed by Viz media and the first volume was released in North America in March 2016.
The gist: When the master she has sworn to protect is killed, Mikage Kirio, a skilled ninja, travels to Japan to start a new, peaceful life for herself. But as soon as she arrives, she finds herself fighting to protect the life of Mahito Wakashimatsu, a man who is under attack by a band of ninja. From that time on, Mikage is drawn deeper into the machinations of his powerful family.
The Review: Shoujo vomit. Seriously. This series is a pointless exercise of Hino trying to write a new story and failing miserably at it. The characters are flat. The story is poorly developed. I couldn’t even relate to the main character and could care less what she went through. Mikage decides not to be a ninja due to her dying master’s wish and leaves Japan, only to become a ninja again. Huh? She’s suppose to enjoy becoming a school girl. I think Mikage comes across as a very weak female character. She foolishly wants the men in her life to use her to their advantage. That’s a poor message for girls, overall. Somewhere in this series there is suppose to be some romance, but all I can see so far is that Mikage adores her last master. This new guy Wakashimatsu seems like he could be a romantic interest, but Mikage seems oblivious to it.
The Art: The character designs look so similar to Hino’s previous work that they couldn’t become their own characters in my mind. Mikage looks just like Yuki – same face, body, and everything. The Wakashimatsu character looks just like Zero. If you took the pages out of context below, you would assume you’re looking at Vampire Knight. Also, Hino changed her style towards the end of Vampire Knight to become more simplified with white backgrounds and less detail. That same style is used in this series as well. Personally, I miss her older style with more detailed drawings. In Shuriken and Pleats nothing stands out as striking or remarkable.
The Audience: This series is aimed at a teen audience. Hino fans will surely buy it, but no one else should. Wait and spend your funds on some of the better series coming out soon. Hino is writing the sequel to Vampire Knight – that’s what you should bug the publisher to get the license to.
The Media: Shuriken and Pleats is only 2 volumes, with volume 2 coming out in November 2016. We got the first volume in March. That’s 8 months apart – way to space out a 2 volume series.