Ten no Ryuu * Chi no Sakura, by SUMOMO Momo

Ten no Ryuu Chi no Sakura, by SUMOMO Momo
Title: Ten no Ryuu Chi no Sakura
Author: SUMOMO Momo
ISBN# 978-4-253-19631-4
Princess Comics, 2008

Wow, the cover artwork on this book was way too pretty for me to ignore! Compared to the other books on the shelf surrounding it at the bookstore, this volume definitely stood out. I absolutely adore the coloring here — the greens and blues of his hair are so lovely! His clothing is an obvious hint that this series contains fantasy elements, a genre that I don’t have nearly enough series for! I also don’t have a whole lot of series by Princess Comics, but I really should try to look for more of them. This has turned out to be a really nice series, with gorgeous, clean artwork inside, and a fun fantasy romance themed story. As far as I can tell, there are three volumes in the series (wel, volume 3 comes out in April 2009), which is a nice length. That gives us enough time to get to know the characters, yet it doesn’t drag on and get boring. I only own the first volume so far, but I am definitely adding the next two books to my “Must Buy!” list!

Our heroine is an average high school student named KARUKAYA Sakura. Well, ok, she is not exactly AVERAGE, otherwise she wouldn’t be the heroine of a shoujo manga 🙂 Sakura is a cute, cheerful type of person. She is on the rhythmic gymnastics team at her school, and while she isn’t the top member of her team, she tries hard to improve. Sakura lives happily with her older brother and sister, Takara and Tama. Since the death of their parents years ago, they have raised Sakura by themselves, and the trio has become a very close-knit family. Takara and Tama treasure Sakura, and shower her with love and affection.

Naturally, things will not remain this happy for very long. Our story really begins when Sakura, sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, overhears her siblings having a muted conversation. They are speaking to someone on the telephone, and they reveal some amazing information — that Sakura is not their real sister. Sakura, who had not known this before, is shocked. But that is not all. Takara and Tama are not even human!

When they realize that Sakura has overhead their conversation, Takara and Tama explain how they found Sakura when she was an infant. Her parents really had died in a car accident, and the car was almost entirely crushed. However, Takara and Tama, who are actually fox spirits, were able to pull Sakura out alive. In order to save her life, they took her to the Dragon King, a tall, beautiful man dressed in flowing robes. Touched by their pleas, The Dragon King agreed to save the infant Sakura by giving her a Dragon Fruit Seed from the sacred Dragon Tree. But he warns the fox spirits that the Dragon Seed is extremely valuable, and may put the infant in danger later in life. He makes them vow to love and protect Sakura, and raise her in the human world. Takara and Tama agree, and thus they have done so for the last 15 years.

Sakura doesn’t have much time to absorb this amazing story when their apartment is attacked by a mysterious group who appear to be after the very Dragon Seed that is sleeping inside of Sakura’s body. Seeking to protect Sakura, Takara and Tama place a spell on her that keeps her bound and silent until the danger is over. Unfortunately by that time, Takara and Tama have been turned to stone by an unknown magic, and removed from the home by the strange invaders. Just when Sakura is about to really panic, she is rescued by a beautiful, mysterious stranger. He releases her from Takara and Tama’s protection spell, and explains how they were taken away.

When he offers to help Sakura track down the stone foxes that were once her siblings, Sakura agrees. However, she is shocked when the stranger suddenly turns into an enormous and beautiful dragon. Clutched gently in one claw, the dragon soars through the air, eventually arriving at Ryuu Ryuu Gakuen, an elite high school. The dragon tells her that her precious siblings are being held there and that if Sakura wants to rescue them, she must enroll as a student there. But she is not to despair. The dragon, who is named Yoiyama, will be there to help her. After all, he is the one who gave her the Dragon Seed all those years ago.

Thus begins a new adventure for Sakura. She must now try to enroll at the Ryuu Ryuu Academy and somehow find and rescue her siblings. She must also deal with the three handsome, mysterious, Ryuuzen siblings who rule the school — dragon princes who are related to Yoiyami. Oh, and lets not forget the rhythmic gymnastics club! Sakura is forced to endure quite a different training program than that to which she is accustomed. Sakura is a nice character. She is brave, reasonably strong-willed, and she handles the sudden discovery of an entire world of supernatural creatures remarkably well.

Mysteries abound. How can Sakura deal with the princes? Will she ever be able to restore Takara and Tama to their living forms? What will happen if the Dragon Seed inside of her is discovered by the princess or her classmates? What will happen if it awakens?

The character designs in this book are really pretty. In particular I love the detailed look of Yoiyami’s robes and hair. While this series mainly focuses on mystery and fantasy, there are some hints of romance as well. Yoiyami has some wonderful expressions when he is around Sakura. Why did he save her? Is the Dragon Seed the only reason he looks out for her…?

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