snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
This is not so much a review as a request that IF YOU KNOW OF ANY OTHER MANHUA LIKE THIS, TELL ME RIGHT NOW.

Qin Caisheng is a little fox demon girl raised by a group of fox demon women who live secluded lives in the mountains. There are no male fox demons left, and Caisheng is apparently the first fox demon child to be born for centuries. Their master fears that their people are dying.

But Caisheng is a "fairy fox," born in the form of a human baby and not a fox cub, with the potential to eventually master a third form - that of a male. Which would un-doom the species! Provided that she sleeps with all her older sisters. There are no possible problems with this plan.

Sick of being confined and coddled by her future concubines, toddler Caisheng sneaks out and meets two human children. Playing, they are attacked by a dog enraged by the scent of a fox. The two children try to protect their new friend, but they are only saved when another fox demon, Huiniang, arrives and, in a badass manner, shoots the dog with her bow and arrow. Huiniang places a mark on the two children to show that Caisheng owes them a debt - they will be under her protection until she is able to repay it, however long it takes.

Two hundred years later, Caisheng, now physically a teenager, has learned to change into a man. But she's no longer sure she wants to father children on all her sisters. She just wants the one: Huiniang. To complicate matters, an angry bishounen fairy, Wei Tzeqiu, has appeared to her and laid down an ultimatum - either she gives up on her fox demon family entirely and becomes a fairy, or he kills her.

Caisheng's also found those two children again, now reincarnated as a rich, sheltered girl named Hsu Ping and a poor exorcist boy named Han Junshi. Seeing that Junshi 1) has fallen in love with Ping, and 2) is an absolutely terrible exorcist, Caisheng decides to get them together and take over his exorcism business for him. Unfortunately, Ping has fallen in love with Caisheng in her male form.

All of this leads to:

  • Many, many scenes of Caisheng being snarky and self-confident and badass and generally everything that shoujo heroines are not allowed to be. Possibly shoujo manga his given me low expectations? I am surprised and delighted every time she beats something down, or says "I will protect you!" (the girl says that about the guy!), or gets put down by an authority figure and just doesn't care.

    Somehow it's the last one that tickles me the most. While Caisheng is naive and slapdash about a lot of things, this is never depicted as something for which she needs to be punished - just as the result of ignorance, which is curable.

    Her attitude towards authority in general is very refreshing - she's neither carelessly rebellious nor thoughtlessly obedient. She has to make a lot of hard decisions, often disobeying people whom she respects, and then take the consequences for them.


  • Many, many of scenes of women declaring their love for other women, particularly Caisheng for Huiniang. (Though I will be very, very surprised if any of the final relationships are lesbian - the manga seems to be aiming in the direction of Female-Caisheng/a guy whose identity is a spoiler. Bah!)


  • An iteration of the Loser Guy With A Good Heart character who I actually buy as being good.

    In way too many stories, this character's "goodness" is usually shown through one-time actions, like risking his life to save the girl or playing with a sad puppy. The rest of the time, the character's all about himself.

    Yunshi the Crappy Exorcist starts out as this sort of Nice Guy - but then he grows up. He worries about the people around him, and wants to fix their problems, and makes meaningful personal sacrifices to do so, and in general does his best to act like a responsible adult, even when he doesn't understand what's going on and gets slapped around for it. There's something really sweet about seeing this kind of character arc in a basically normal guy surrounded by crazy demons and immortals. I was gritting my teeth every time he showed up early on, and now I totally love him.


Caveats:

1) The art's a little off-kilter, mainly in the backgrounds, which sometimes seem sketchy and oddly-proportioned, but also in the character art. It can be hard to tell people apart, particularly Tzeqiu and male!Caisheng. Late in the series, someone ends up with a doppelganger, but the character in question has been drawn so inconsistently that we can't tell that this is supposed to be a doppelganger until it's pointed out in the text.

2) It does bug me a little that Caisheng's fight scenes are usually done in her male form. I consider this a cop-out! She can beat dudes down as a girl, I give her my permission.

3) Pedophilia. To the manhua's credit, it is aware that this is not a good thing. Still - not sure I'm okay with it being treated this casually.

Date: 2010-08-21 12:03 am (UTC)
inkstone: Claymore's Galatea; text: Hello, my name is god (hello)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
This is available in English??

Date: 2010-08-21 12:19 am (UTC)
inkstone: xxxHOLic's Yuuko celebrating, caption: omg yay! (omg yay)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Whee!

Date: 2010-08-21 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meganbmoore.livejournal.com
I read and loved the first volume of this when it came out, but haven't read the rest yet. It amazes me, though, that it's from the same person as Real Fake princess, in which, partway through the first volume, the romantic lead pins the heroine to a bed and waves scissors in her face, telling her that if she doesn't chop off all her hair, he'll use the scissors to murder her foster brother, who she's in love with.

Date: 2010-08-21 03:15 am (UTC)
ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (kitsune-gao bijin)
From: [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com
READ THE REST! READ THE REST!

*hearts this series*

Date: 2010-08-24 08:45 am (UTC)
nijibug: Oguna & Tooko (magatama green)
From: [personal profile] nijibug
What inkstone said! Thank youu~

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