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If there ever was an underrated mangaka, that would be Chie Shinohara. Her works always take us deep into complex plots full of imagination, even when she bases a few of them on history. Shinohara has won the Shogakukan Award twice and has been active since 1981. It was about time that we reviewed Chie Shinohara’s creations. Let’s go!
7. Ryouko no Shinrei Jikenbo
- Genres: Mystery, Drama, Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, Shoujo
- Volumes: 4
- Published: 1988 to 1991
Imagine you are a regular girl in your first year of High School. You go around with your own business until you find your cat drowned in the bathtub. A cat who does not like water drowned? Who might be responsible for this? Ryouko, our protagonist, has more and more mysterious phenomena occur around her until adventure kicks off alongside a cat that looks pretty much like her own! Perhaps, just perhaps, Ryouko will also find someone to love along the way.
Ryouko no Shinei Jikenbo is one of the first manga in which Shinohara attempts to marry the slice of life genre with the supernatural. Although the romantic part of the story is as tender as a shoujo can be, the author can be terrifying sometimes. Everything is well packed in a relatively short length. One thing is definitive, though; you will not be able to put this manga away.
6. Yami no Purple Eyes
- Genres: Mystery, Horror, Shoujo, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 12
- Published: Oct 26, 1984 to Feb 26, 1987
Rinko is a kind girl who lives with her father and sister, as their mother passed away. Our protagonist was born with a birthmark on her left arm, but when the mark gets darker, strange things start to happen. That includes Rinko being able to transform into a beast-like woman with purple eyes who slices away whoever puts her into danger. What will happen to her and the love she feels for her childhood friend? Will she ever be normal again? Nope, we are not going to tell you 🙂
Yami no Purple Eyes was so popular that it had a music video. Let’s say that part of the reason was that it was different. The happy and innocent protagonist transforms in a killer machine, literally, which was unusual for the shoujo of that time. So, if you like your shoujo with romance but also with a dependable protagonist, Yami no Purple Eyes might be a good choice for you.
5. Ao no Fuuin
- Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
- Volumes: 11
- Published: May 1992 to Nov 1994
Everything around Soko is new now that she has moved to a new home and school. Nevertheless, that feeling of sickness she is feeling is not due to this. A guy who used to bother her named Kashi disappears, reappearing a few days later bearing a completely different appearance and informing her of some shocking news. It looks like Kashi is the reincarnation of Akira the Byakko (white tiger), while Soko is his enemy’s reincarnation Souryo (the blue dragon). Thus, a crusade to kill Soko begins. Will she survive it? Nope, we are not going to tell you :p
Does this story feels familiar? It sounds a bit like Ayashi no Ceres, right? However, Shinohara created Ao no Fuuin first. This is the manga to read if you love star crossed lovers stories with action and supernatural powers. The pace of the story and the charismatic characters will guarantee a great ride!
4. Umi no Yami, Tsuki no Kage
- Genres: Drama, Horror, Romance
- Volumes: 18
- Published: May 26, 1987 to Oct 26, 1991
Imagine how life would be if you had a twin brother or sister. Sounds like fun, right? Sometimes, it is not a very nice idea to have one, though, especially if you compete for the attention of a person you like. That is what happens to Lumi and Luka Kobayakawa, who compete for the affection of a handsome schoolmate nameed Touma Katsuyuki. However, when the twins pass through a strange cemetery, the most disturbing and supernatural transformations happen to them…
This manga was an interesting attempt to combine science with the supernatural. Although the idea of a love triangle with siblings has been done before, Shinohara brings her ability to sparkle life in the characters. That, and an eerie atmosphere that can turn horrific from time to time, keep your pulse high throughout this story. It is no surprise that it became an OVA in 1989.
3. Shinohara Chie The Best Selection
- Genres: Josei
- Volumes: 2
- Published: 2008
Perhaps you cannot decide what to read next or would like to go for something shorter, although you are into manga that is a bit retro. In such cases, maybe you can search for The Best Selection of Shinohara Chie’s one shots. This is a collection of stories involving women (of course). The protagonists of this volume are usually in danger and they have to react quickly to solve some sort of mystery or supernatural circumstance.
The Best Selection is full of love too, but not in the fluffy way that shoujo has gotten us accustomed to. This means the protagonists will not have it easy to be successful in their romantic relationships. The supernatural and sometimes horror are complicit in each one of these stories, so you will get a good scare from time to time. The Best Selection is definitely a collection of mature stories that open our eyes to the world of Shinohara Chie.
2. Yume no Shizuku Kin no Torikago
- Genres: Drama, Historical, Romance
- Volumes: 10
- Published: 2010 to present
We are in the 16th century, accompanying a girl who was captured by slave traders in the Ukraine. A man buys her and commands her to train and be educated in order to become a lady. Thus, the girl falls in love with him. However, this man has his own plans, as he is none other than the Grand Visir for the great Sultan of Turkey, Suleyman the Magnificient.
The great enchantment of Yume no Shizuku Kin no Torikago is in the dramatic journey of the slave girl towards the throne. This was not easy as Suleyman already had other concubines and children! This manga based on historical events narrates everything from the side of our protagonist, which give us a different point of view from the historical chronicles. The only bad thing about this work is that it is has not been finished. However, knowing that the story of Roxelana Sultana was long and triumphant against all odds, we can only expect greater things from Chie Shinohara.
1. Sora wa Akai Kawa no Hotori (Red River or Anatolia Story)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
- Volumes: 28
- Published: Jan 5, 1995 to Jun 5, 2002
A normal girl called Yuri Suzuki gets summoned to the old territory of the Hittite Empire (Turkey in our days). The evil Queen Nakia needs her to perform a spell to eliminate the heirs of the throne, so that her own son can become king! However, during her flight from the queen’s troops, Yuri meets Prince Kalil. After getting rid of the soldiers, he offers our protagonist his help to go back to her own time, but what happens when Yuri starts falling in love with him?
Red River is full of adventure and court politics in every page. Yuri passes from being a naive but athletic teenager to a champion of justice. Through a series of coincidences, her modern knowledge and her own hard work, Yuri gets allies and fights along Prince Kalil in an era where peace was a distant dream. Unusual for its time, this manga of Chie Shinohara plays with real historical facts and adjusts them to a fantastic tale of love, sorrow and hope. Red River is definitely her best work!
Sometimes we can forget what quality looks like in today’s overflooded manga market. That is why it is worthwhile to look back from time to time. Chie Shinohara was more famous a couple of decades ago, but her work has not ceased to transport us to other times and places. Her heroines are solid and complex, evolving to confront the demands of their own stories. Which one of them is your favorite? Which story by Chie Shinohara would you like to see adapted to anime? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions! See you soon 🙂