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Manga Review: Red River (Volume 12)

Red River, Vol. 12 - Chie Shinohara

Okay, well... I am going to write a review when I reach volume 14 since that will be the halfway point of the series, but something happened in this volume that I need to get off my chest. So, get ready for my rant, ladies and gents, because I do not know what to feel right now. Warning: spoilers will be told without spoiler tags. Read at your own risk.

So, let's talk about that rape scene, yeah?

Okay, look. So far, as a series, this is easily a four or five star manga. I'm impressed. But as a volume, this gets one star. One star for you! I've suffered through twelve volumes of soap opera relationships and I'm at my limit here. The history is awesome. The characters are awesome. But this whole "I love you and can't be with you and therefore can't have sex with you even though I'm your concubine thing"? This needs to cease and desist. I'm sick of it. At this point, I want to ram the heroine over the head with a baseball bat. I get that she's seventeen, but she's been in this world for two years. I was hoping for a bit more character development from her, especially in, you know, relationships.

And yes, Mursili is from a time where men take what they want - including women; a time where men can rape women and they can still fall in love later because it's not considered a crime; a time that is vastly different from my own. Okay, I get that. But this is on the mangaka. Why the hell did you decide to have Mursili try to rape (or actually rape? I couldn't really tell?) 12 volumes into the manga. Why did she decide to make a previously good natured and gentle character* go berserk in the bedroom once the reader has already accepted him? The heck is her motive here? Because for me, no matter how sorry he is, this character** is now ruined forever. Is it supposed to be one of those "Oh, I am at my limit and must have you!" things that seems to be so popular in porn? This series is not a hentai, so... that's a bit out of touch, really. And also it's bull shit because men can control themselves. I honestly do not even know what happened here. 

I really don't know what to think. I get that it's the time period and that it's the situation, but I live in this time period and rape is heinous. The mangaka knows this because she lives in the same time period as me. She has gone through such lengths to make Mursili a sympathetic and likable character, so what is happening, exactly? Is she trying to remind us of the time period, of the type of laws that existed between men and women? Could it not have been done in another manner? Could she not have introduced this side of the character about ten volumes previously? Am I the only one really disturbed by this?

Oy. Well, I'll continue reading. The story, regardless of the whiny heroine and rapist hero, is still really good.


* Well... let's be real. He has tried to seduce her multiple times, but she keeps rejecting him for reasons, but this was the first time he'd ever been, well, like that.

**And I mean character. I've noticed that some people who've read this manga seem to want to relate the real Mursili to the one who is in the manga and were sad that he had two wives -- and the fact that he had two wives apparently means he's a "bastard". For one, two wives during this time is rather impressive, but I have to wonder how many concubines the guy had, ha. For two,this is a story, not real history and not real life.