River's End is a historical fantasy shōjo manga series by Chie Shinohara  

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Red River (天は赤い河のほとり, Sora wa Akai Kawa no Hotori, lit. Heaven Is on the Banks of the Red River), also known as Anatolia Story, is a historical fantasy shōjo manga series by Chie Shinohara. It is published in Japan by Shogakukan in Sho-Comi and collected in 28 volumes. It is published English in North America by VIZ Media, with 25 volumes released as of April 2009. In 2001, the series won the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo.
Red River is about a fifteen-year old Japanese girl named Yuri Suzuki, who is magically transported to Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia. She was summoned by Queen Nakia who means to use Yuri as a human sacrifice. Yuri's blood is the key element needed in placing a curse upon the princes of the land so that they will perish, leaving Nakia's son as the sole heir to the throne. As the story progress, however, Yuri not only repeatedly manages to escape Nakia's scheming, she also becomes revered as an incarnation of the goddess Ishtar and falls in love with crown prince Kail.
The story takes place during the reign of King Suppiluliuma I, at a time when the Hittite Empire was near its peak of power, rivaled only by Egypt, which was then ruled by the young Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Many of the people and events in the story are drawn from actual history, from Princes Kail Mursili, Sari Arnuwanda, and Zannanza, to battles with the neighboring Mitanni kingdom around the town of Kizzuwatna.

Yuri Suzuki (鈴木夕梨, Suzuki Yūri)
The main character of the story. Only fifteen at the start of the series, Yuri is confident and willing to take up any charitable cause. As she possesses knowledge far greater than any woman of the time (such as recognition of iron and knowledge of 20th century medical practices and hygiene), and often seems to find herself in situations that "prove" she is Ishtar, she is often considered to have divine powers and is thought by most to be the living incarnation of the goddess of love and war, Ishtar; as such, she is often referred to as Yuri Ishtar (ユーリ·イシュタル, Yūri Ishutaru). Despite this, Yuri is modest and a tomboy; she generally prefers to dress in men's clothing for the sake of practicality, much to the consternation and dismay of her handmaids. Much is made of the general opinion that she is "not strikingly beautiful" and "possesses little womanly charm"; however, her natural charm and selflessness win her the undying affection and loyalty of many people, both Hittites and their enemies. She is an accomplished gymnast, and during her stay in Hattusa, she learns the art of sword fighting and archery, so that she can better help Kail and survive on her own.
Torn between her return to her time and her love for Kail, Yuri finally decides to stay in Anatolia forever. In a desperate attempt to overthrow Queen Nakia, she raises a private army and unites other factions loyal to her and Kail, and eventually succeeds in deposing Queen Nakia once and for all and ascending to the title Tawananna, the Hittite Queen.
Kail Mursili
The third prince of the Hittite empire, son of King Suppililiuma and the second Tawananna, Queen Hinti. At the beginning of the series, he finds Yuri running frantically from Nakia's guards, and gives her the gift of understanding and speaking their language by way of a kiss. He rescues Yuri from sacrifice by claiming to have taken her virginity, and takes her as a concubine to keep up appearances. He finds Yuri to be quite unlike any woman he has ever met, and promises to help her find a way home to Japan, while struggling with his own growing love and desire for her. He initially calls Yuri his concubine and the incarnate form of Ishtar in order to protect her from Queen Nakia, but even he begins to believe his own tale after a while, and the legend of Yuri as Ishtar and his growing love for her eventually evolve beyond his control.
Kail is loyal to those he cares for, but constantly at odds with his stepmother, the third Tawananna, Queen Nakia; her lust for taking the throne for her son, Prince Juda, is his prime motivation for finding a woman who he can love unconditionally and whose personality would be that of a true queen. A powerful priest and sorcerer in his own right, he has the ability to control wind and air, and is one of the few who can counter Nakia's spells in any way. Part way through the series, in volume 12, he ascends to the throne as King Mursili II.

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