A FairyTale Revisited (Part One)

June 19, 2008 at 8:00 am | Posted in Shinshi Doumei Cross | 6 Comments

Here’s part one on my promised feature on to go over the entire series of Shinshi Doumei Cross. Part two will show up the same time next week.

“I am Otomiya Haine. I’m a spirited fifteen-year-old!!”

With those first words in “Bring it on, Koutei!” the very first chapter, Shinshi Doumei Cross began very happily and “spirited” just like Haine.


Arina Tanemura

Before you can talk much about ShinKuro, you have to talk a little bit about the creator. A woman who is especially good at working the “awwws” and tears out of her fangirls. I think she made her debut in Ribon magazine when she was seventeen. And all of the information on her wikipedia page is pretty much wrong. Most popular manga are KKJ and FMWS, huh? Most popular anime perhaps, but the most popular manga I’d say are SDC and FMWS. Nice try wiki-noobs. And she debuted with “The Style of Second Love” not ION (lol).

The wiki-noobs aside, most of Arina-sensei’s fans are well-informed and are very dedicated to all of her works. An example being that I have passed on both the latest volumes of TRC and Shugo Chara! (which I may like more than SDC), but jumped on volume 6 of ShinKuro as soon as I saw it. I wanted my professional translations and especially Arina Tanemura’s comments on the story.

I’m trying to think if I’ve ever really disliked a character created by Arina Tanemura. They’re all just so lovable, even the incredible amount of characters in TSK. You just wish you’d gotten to read more about them. Just from Yami’s brief appearances in the story and the 4koma that take place after, Yami became my third favorite character.

Ah! I need the Unforgettable Song of the Witch! It’s Yami’s story!!!

Basically, Arina Tanemura is my favorite manga-ka. There are a couple of manga I like better than ShinKuro or any of her other manga right now, but she’s the only manga-ka that I’ve liked everything she’s done this much. I love everything she does. From 1 chapter stories to 47 chapter stories. I love it all.


First Impression

I started reading ShinKuro when I was on a high of drama. I finished reading volume four of Full Moon wo Sagashite, which I’m sure everyone knows is…drama. Then I found Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne all online (and I think I’d purchased the first two volumes) and was even more into drama (and cuteness too). Then I read TSK, kind of went “meh” (though I thought it was cute) and set my sights on ShinKuro. I was hesitant about reading it at first because it was still ongoing. Who knows how long I’d have to follow along (as it turns out…three years).

But I read it because, I was already an Arina Tanemura fan. She easily became my favorite manga-ka in less than a month.

And I have to be completely honest here, I was disappointed. I kind of groaned when I saw that Haine was a girl in love with a guy she met once and who was now treating her coldly. He was perfect, she was simple-minded and…where hadn’t I seen this sort of plot before?

ShinKuro’s basic plot really isn’t too complex.

I also thought Haine was a pretty basic shoujo heroine and wasn’t too impressed with her either.

However! Since my initial impression in comprised of the first ten chapters (since I sat down and read them all at once), ShinKuro quickly became my favorite currently running manga (at the time). Because the shadow revelation was so “OMG!” but if you were reading the chapters properly you knew something was going on.

I also knew that Taka-kun would be the good guy and Shizumasa was the “bad guy” and it was at this point that, even though Taka-kun was still being a jerk, he became my favorite character. Because I felt so bad for him and loved how he was secretly nice.

As for Haine and the other characters, I came to love them all gradually during this time because they all made me laugh at one time or another.


The Plot

Is there even a plot in ShinKuro?

Ah, I’m kidding. The plot is…well actually maybe I’m not kidding.

The plot changed between every arc. At the beginning, you’re lead to believe it’s about how Haine will survive the student council and make Shizumasa fall in love with her. Then in chapter 2 her family problems are introduced. Then we have the whole shadow thing. And…it just kind of goes out of control.

Though, I’d say the main plot would be Haine, Taka-kun, and Shizumasa. Not the love triangle really, just the characters.

Because that’s kind of what ShinKuro was. It was a character series. The plot depended on the characters. Arina-sensei said that she sort of wrote ShinKuro, just going where the characters lead her. That’s why everything that happened in the series made absolute sense to me.

Lots of people complained about the ending of ShinKuro because it was not really what they wanted. But it perfectly matched the characters’ personalities and how they had developed as time went on. Because, of course, no one knows the characters better than Arina Tanemura herself!!


The Art

Oh god. I know everyone has their favorite manga-ka and everyone argues over whose art is the best, but really, for me it’s Arina Tanemura and it always will be.

I’m not sure if Arina-sensei switched to computer coloring sometime during Full Moon (though I know she specifically mentioned painting during Full Moon), but whatever she’s doing is absolutely beautiful.

Some of the splash pages in ShinKuro just made me sit back and sigh. Chapter 41’s was especially beautiful I think. And so many others just looked wonderful as well. The final chapter had a very beautiful splash page with photos of all the characters. I loved that.

And all of Arina-sensei’s characters look so distinct. I always hear lots of people complaining that the girls look too similar, but I’ve never really seen it. There’s always at least one thing that makes all the girls look different. Whether it’s shading or the shape of their eyes, something always makes the ShinKuro girls look different from the others (I only confused Haine and Ushio once).

Once again, I think any confusion with the characters is yet another case of the reader being lazy. Just because manga is made up of more pictures than words, doesn’t mean you just breeze right through it. Partially because it’s made up of pictures you have to sit, stop, and enjoy every page. Especially when the manga-ka puts in the sort of details in their characters that Arina-sensei puts in hers.

The main reason why some people are against an anime of ShinKuro is because that beautiful Arina Tanemura art will be missing. If you really sit and look at some of the pictures, they’re just beautiful. Especially images of Haine.


The Fandom

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about being an Arina Tanemura fan was that from the very instant I fell in love with her manga and wanted to join the fandom community, I was welcomed with open arms. No one cares about who was a fan first. All that really matters is that we all love the series and the manga-ka who came up with it.

Obviously, ShinKuro’s fandom is dominated by girls, so I’m sure we can all get along and share this manga because we all know what it’s like to be a girl and can identify with Haine (to some extent). But as we all know, girls can also be bitchy, especially online. So I really find it amazing that pretty much every Arina Tanemura fan gets along extremely well.

Pretty much every Arina Tanemura fan is a very kind and overall nice person. We can be a little sensitive and emotional (and sappy) sometimes, but that goes with the territory. And it’s probably because of the sort of characters in Arina Tanemura manga, and especially in ShinKuro.

How many times did I, and others, talk about how bad we felt for a character and their problems? I know that in the forums it would come up that we would love a character more because of their problems. They became more sensitive and lovable. It’s sort of like an older sister of motherly instinct kicking in. Basically, the fans are just nice.

There are lots of great fandoms out there I’m sure, but the one for ShinKuro and Arina Tanemura is just the best. We can all disagree and still get along. It’s wonderful. And it’s yet another reason why I love ShinKuro so much, because we all know bad fans can ruin our enthusiasm for a series. But when everyone is such a good person and a good fan, it makes you love a series even more because you can have someone to talk with and point out to each other more reasons to love the series. It’s really…just great.


An Anime?

Well…I think we all know how I feel about an anime adaptation of ShinKuro. I freakin’ want it! It turns me into a “she seems angry, but she’s actually really scarily happy” sort of fangirl. I start swearing and hitting my head against my desk…all out of love~!

Because I know that, in the right hands, a ShinKuro anime could be great. The characters all have excellent development and because all the chapters connect so nicely, there is little-to-no-need for fillers. And even if filler material was needed, it’s offered up in all of the specials Arina Tanemura is working on.

Also, because ShinKuro is such a popular manga (and in a magazine like Ribon, it’s much rarer for a series to be popular with fans outside of Ribon fans), there’s also a very good chance of getting some excellent seiyuu for this anime.

Heh…I think we all know how I feel about Nana Mizuki…

But really, I also just want to see the characters move. Especially Haine during her yankee fights. And when Haine messes up I’d like to see her fall to the ground for real! And when Taka-kun is being Taka-kun I want to see him move (and I want a wonderful voice for him too~!).

Of course, if ShinKuro gets picked up by a crappy stuido (Gonzo), all I’ll likely do is complain about it. So let’s hope for the best.

And if an anime does start up, I hope they start working on it shortly after Mistress Fortune ends. Because during that time Arina-sensei will be taking a break and might be able to help out more with the anime~! And you know what that means? Better anime.

So, I’m hoping for an anime announcement sometime this summer. And if I don’t get one…or get an announcement about a bad studio (or a drama…) I’ll hide in my closet for all of Fall!

Haha, not really, but still. If no one thinks to make an anime from this, I’ll lose my faith in the industry. ShinKuro is immensely popular for a shoujo series with only 47 chapters. Usually it takes over 60 to break into the top ten list. Especially for a “school life” sort of shoujo.

So…someone needs to get on this anime (assuming they haven’t already and we just don’t know about it *gasp*)!


Part two of my final ShinKuro ramblings will show up next Thursday. Please look forward to it. This one was rushed and next week has all the good topics anyway.


  1. oh how pretty :D

  2. OH GAWDS are you serious about after Episode 37 in Shugo CHara Episode 38 is more Amuto?!?! THANK GOD!!! One more filler and I would have killed myself X_X

  3. Skip Beat got an anime (I’m so happy that it’s save from Gonzo’s icky, icky hands!) and we all thought that was impossible so Shinkuro will most likely get one sooner or later, especiallty since Arina Tanemura is such a popular artist.

  4. warriorhope: OMG THAT’S RIGHT! ShinKuro’s just as popular as Skip Beat! and it’s shorter! And there’s no need for the anime to make up their own ending! God if it doesn’t get adapted now I’ll feel like common sense has failed.


    lol2728: It looks like you accidentally posted the second comment in the wrong place, but I’ll answer it here just to make things simple.

    Yes! Episode 38 is more wonderful, wonderful Amuto. And I believe we were all close to suicide (or in my case, homicide by wiffle bat).

  5. Woo, such a nice, wonderful post…about Shinkuro! Yay! *claps* ^^
    Heh, I’ve gotten over my mourning period. Now I’m just waiting in anticipation for the announcement. But manga first. Manga first. *nod*
    I agree on everything you said about Arina-sensei. She’s not my favorite (but she’s in the top three) but her ability to create characters and situations which just invoke those feelings out of you and make you choke with emotion (even if it’s just a small, amused “hmph”) is amazing. Not even CLAMP was able to do that to me. So yea, I have a lot of respect this manga-ka because of that.
    I also love how she integrates life lessons and wise advice into her stories especially since it’s not so hard to understand once you think about it. Not sure if she’s speaking on personal experiences or just deep thoughts she had, but it really helps and encourages the readers who might or might not be having similar issues in their lives. Well, at least for most of her female readers and me, it did.
    Ah, I’m getting a little too into this then what I should but I think she’s just wonderful and I can’t help but love her works. ^^
    Hmm, I think I heard of Shinkuro when I was…in my second year of highschool? I wasn’t an Arina fan yet but I heard of KKJ and FMwS (don’t remember which I read first) and how successful they were. Then, being bored, I checked Shinkuro out (through wiki for a briefing, ick) and almost turned away when I finished reading the chapter where Maguri and Taka-kun almost smooched (I was still a bit paranoid about shounen-ai/yaoi). From there, I don’t’ remember how I got back into it.
    Heh, but Haine’s air-headedness and positive attitude won me over (and her crying face is so cute! *heavy weakness for cute things* lol) and then I gradually began to like everybody (even when Taka-kun was such a jerk).
    Plot-wise (or rather, character-wise), I loved the different arcs. I think if Shinkuro ran straight through mostly on one big plot with sub-plots occasionally sneaked in here or there, I wouldn’t like it as much. Come to think of it, that’s kinda sorta like SC!’s plot. That only works with certain other mangas. Shinkuro, nah. And yes, seeing the development so clearly is a definite plus.
    Art = three words. It is beautiful. At least one person should be able to think so in one way or another about every piece of artwork. Arina’s art = two words. LOVE IT! xDD;;;
    And I agree, fans are so goddamn lazy. If they actually tried to look a little closer, they can see the difference. And besides, it’s not like Arina is perfect or anything. So it’s inevitable that some of her characters are going to resemble each other a lot a few times before you’re use to it. She’s their one and only creator, after all. : P
    And you’re right. Arina spent a lot of time, effort, and sweat on perfecting the details. The least the readers can do is spend a little of their time to admire her hard work. There’s a reason why manga are graphic novels after all. *rolls eyes*
    Afraid I don’t have much to say about the fandom but I do agree it’s one of the best I’ve seen out there and like you said, it’s mostly due to how open-minded and nice the fans are. Unlike others were certain fans would scream bloody murder at you for liking this person or hating this one and/or complaining too much about something not happening when they want it to. People, at least try to be civilized (and a little more educated) a little. Everybody’s different so their opinions would be, too. And it’s not for anyone but the author to decide about the plot.
    Of course, I’m not saying this is every fan. It’s mostly towards the noobs who just got into anime and/or manga. :/ *sigh*
    I want an anime with Nana-sama playing Haine. Nuff said. xD *already making posters for it* lol

  6. Not your favorite? I demand to know who your favorite is!!!

    Ah…I’m kidding (sort of).

    Well, CLAMP is an expert in plot twists and violent DRAMA!!! Arina-sensei is pure shoujo manga-ka and I love her for it!

    I think it’s mostly deep thoughts (at least for Full Moon it was), but some of it has to come from some personal experience. Even if it’s just feeling lonely or something. But another reason why I love Arina-sensei is because she’s just so open about everything. Talking about her personal experiences when other manga-ka don’t even talk about their assistants. And she wonders why so many of her fans want a hug from her…

    Ah me too. I was paranoid about yaoi back then too. But my reaction was basically, “OMG! There it is! My twist on something completely generic!” Heh…for me if it weren’t for the fake Maguri and Taka-kun stuff I might have stopped reading.

    Taka-kun was a jerk. But he was a nice jerk. Always being nice to Haine when she was feeling down even though he “hated” her. Hehe~!

    Yup, that’s what makes ShinKuro a character series. Focusing on characters rather than the plot is always a plus for me, because fangirl excitement can really only be determined by characters. I’ve never seen anyone turn into a fangirl for a plot…

    The art~! Oh that just reminds me…I need to get that artbook! But I can’t get it until I have the money to order it with all my Shugo Chara! books (I want free shipping).

    Unless you have silly looking characters, every character in a manga looks similar. They all pretty much have the same face (though it’s always sort of amazed me how sometimes Arina-sensei makes the boys all look so different). Anyway, Arina-sensei does a better job than most manga-ka anyway. Especially shoujo manga-ka (I’m especially having a hard time with telling people apart in Vampire Knight right now and it’s making the already messed-up plot more confusing).

    Well, I guess if the manga-ka is open minded, her fans will be as well. And if any flamers from other fandoms try to enter our fandoms and flame someone for their opinion everyone immediately goes, “That was unnecessary. What’s wrong with you?” Ah…I love the fandom.

    Ugh…noobs. They cause half the problems in the anime community.

    Really…if an anime was announced and Nana-sama was announced to be playing Haine I think I’d throw myself out of my chair in excitement…or something.

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