Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dragon Sisters! Volume 1 Review

So I was walking around the local bookstore with a friend of mine, when I stumbled across the unimaginatively titled Dragon Sisters!.

Picking up the book, I mentioned to my friend how goddamn many manga titles there are with the word 'Dragon' in it. Flipping the book around, I read the blurb, hoping for a little more ammunition with which to make fun of this poor little manga. Oh how that simple action would so dramatically change my life, that the moments prior and post to reading said blurb would be rendered so different as to be almost incompatible.

For on that blurb were six words that I will never forget for as long as I live, "The bouncy and belligerent Lu Bu."

The bouncy and belligerent Lu Bu.

For those of you who don't know who Lu Bu is, he was the greatest warrior of in all of China during the Three Kingdoms era.

Here are some pictures illustrating various other interpretations of what the man looked like.

According to Dragon Sisters!, this man is, "bouncy and belligerent."

Holy fucking shit.

Now being the masochist I am (a fact proven by my watching of Strike Witches from start to finish), I just had to quell my dread curiosity of how this man was turned bouncy and belligerent, and thus bought the first volume of Dragon Sisters!.

Holy fucking shit.

To be honest, I am hesistent to say it's a horrible manga, for that would suggest that Dragon Sisters!'s story made enough coherent sense to be considered a manga, rather then a collection of random pictures.

Nonetheless, I shall endervour to explain the plot; it's basically Romance of the Three Kingdoms with hot warrior sluts.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, it's basically a romanticised version of the Three Kingdoms period in China. I can't be bothered explaining the whole thing, so just look it up wikipedia or some shit. Anyway, for the purposes of this review, I'll be assuming you have some basic knowledge of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Like it's source material, Dragon Sisters! opens with the Yellow Turban Rebellion.

Unlike it's source material, Dragon Sister!'s Yellow Turban leader, Zhang Jiao, decides to use his magic powers to aid his rebellion by turning all the countries' greatest heroes into hot, busty and helpless women.

This backfires spectecularly.

For one thing, not only are the heroes turned to chicks, but Zhang Jiao and his two brothers get turned into flat chested lolis.

And so the evil rebellion led by three 10 year old girls spreads fear and destruction across China, the Empire gets the shit kicked out of it, and they try set up an imperrial army to fight off the little lolis.

Meanwhile, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu (the two chicks in the picture at the top of this post) are in a tavern bitching on about how no one takes them seriously despite the fact that they're awesome warriors cause they've got tits (get used to this, it happens a lot), when they meet Liu Bei, a pathetic dude who sells straw mats but apparently has lofty dreams or some shit.

Having nothing better to do, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu pledge an oath of brother/sisterhood with him and they set up a ragtag bunch of soldiers to join the Imperial army.

From there, the story seems to follow a pretty simple pattern:

1) Zhang Fei and Guan Yu bitch about how no one takes them seriously cause they're chicks.

2) Zhang Fei and Guan Yu save the day by beating the shit out of some poor sob.

3) Everyone realizes that chicks can be just as awesome as dudes as long as they have huge tits and dress like sluts.

4) Rinse and repeat.


Zhang Fei
The girl with the shorter hair and backbreakingly huge tits. Has the sluttiest dress and biggest tits, and is thus the strongest cast member so far (the bouncy and belligerent Lu Bu hasn't been introduced to the story yet). Typical rash and impulsive chick.

Guan Yu
The calmer and more controlled counterpart to Zhang Fei. Has the second sluttiest dress, and is thus second best.

Liu Bei
Loser. Apparently has big dreams though. Holds the distinction of being one of the two males who are main characters.

Cao Cao
The other guy with the honour of being a main character. A bit of an asshole.

Xiahou Dun
Cao Cao's one eyed general, has a dress that's about as slutty as Guan Yu, and unsuprisingly seems to be set up to be Yu's rival.

Xiahou Yuan
Cao Cao's general. Has the least slutty outfit and seems to be the weakest warrior so far. Also a bit of a loser.

Dong Zhou
Evil lesbian.

Zhang Jiao
Evil loli leader of the rebellion. Has magic powers.

Sadly, as I haven't been able to find any scans of Dragon Sisters! online, and have also failed to find the artist's website, I can't show you all any pictures to help you get an idea of what the artwork is like.

Suffice to say however, it's clean and acceptable enough, though fairly uninspired. Also, whilst the characters are distinctive enough, they're not particularly well detailed, the clothing in particular is rather simple looking, especially when compared to works such as Aki Shimizu's Suikoden 3 manga, which features a fairly similar art style, though of a much higher standard.

Ultimately, Dragon Sisters! features nice art, but does nothing to differentiate itself from the many other manga out in the market. Detractors of manga often say that the art style as a whole is boring and uninspired, and Dragon Sisters! would do little to change that opinion. On the plus side however, at least it's not ugly.


Whilst Dragon Sisters! doesn't really have anything that stands out, it shouldn't be as bad as I think it is; enough is done well enough that it should be at least an enjoyeble, if forgettable experience. The reason that Dragon Sisters! fails at even that however, is that the comic doesn't know what the hell it wants to be.

Dragon Sisters! is the first publication by nini, who appears to be a relatively new artist in the field, and his/her inexperience definitely shows in several areas.

Most the story serves as a less then subtle aesop about how women can be just as talented as men, and that society should recognize that fact. And that's fair enough, being a feminist, I definitely welcome such a theme. My with this particular aesop however, comes in two forms; it's utter lack of subtlety, and the logical inconsistencies the story suffers from by focusing on this theme.

Firstly, the subtlety. Anyone whose passed literature class back in high school will find the story's heavy handed way of forcing it's central them down your throat to be utterly unbearable. The fact that society denies talented women the chance to use their skills dominates nearly every conversation the characters have; for god's sake! The average IQ of manga readers might not be the highest in the world, but we can appreciate some sort of subtlety!

Secondly, this theme makes no sense in the greater context of the story; Zhang Fei and Guan Yu seem to be the only people in the world who don't get taken seriously because of their gender. Nearly all the generals of note in the Imperial Army are women! Dong Zhou's a woman, Xiahou Dun's a woman, Xiahou Yuan's a woman, Xu Rong's a woman, the only men who are of any importance are Liu Bei and Cao Cao!

Aside from that, the higher echelons of the Imperials seem to be entirely staffed by women! Hell, even the rebal army is led by three loli girls! Just where the fuck is this so called societal bias against women? It seems like women are the only people who can even get a job in ancient China!

And this is the central inconsistency and it's main theme; it's hard to convince the audience that society doesn't take women seriously when they should, when it appears that women are the only people who even get taken seriously.

Furthermore Dragon Sisters! can't seem to decide what it wants to be; an aesop on womens' equality, or a campy fanservice comic about busty chicks in little clothes beathing shit up. Zhang Fei in particular, spends a lot of time bitching about how no one takes her seriously cause she's a woman. Well sorry girl, I think it has more to do with your nigh nonexistent top.

As a reader, I enjoy stories with strong, capable women. However, I also enjoy mindless fanservice. What I don't enjoy however, is this strange mish mash of the two, which only serves to dilute both sides.

Ultimately, Dragon Sisters! was not an enjoyeble read for me. Normally I give mangas (especially those by new authors, as is the case with Dragon Sisters!) up to volume 3 before I decide never to touch them again. Dragon Sisters! however, was an experience so mindbogglingly stale, that I am greatly hesistent to buy volume 2. I may, but I'd probably drive off a cliff before then.


  1. possibly in volume 2 (if any) it gets better

  2. Heheh, I actually had a quick read of volume 2 at a local bookstore; it's really not much better -_-

  3. Lolis in my chinese history?

    Its more likely then you think.

  4. Keep thіs going please, grеat jοb!

    Stop by my web sitе :: Instant Payday Loans

  5. Howԁу! This blog pοst couldn't be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I'll send thіs
    article tо him. Fairly certain he will haνe a very good read.

    Mаny thanks for shaгing!

    Also visit my blog ... Payday Loans

  6. Every ωeekend i useԁ tο go to see this site, because
    i wіsh for enјoуmеnt, since thіѕ
    thіѕ sіte conations truly gοod funny stuff toο.

    Нere is my ωeb ρage: Same Day Payday Loans