|Title:||Shounen Hanayome Series 02: Hoshi to Sakura no Matsuri (星と桜の祭り)|
|Original work by:||Okano Maria (Novel)|
|Cast:||Toriumi Kousuke x Suzumura Kenichi (鳥海浩輔 × 鈴村健一)|
|Related drama(s):||Shounen Hanayome Series|
|Genres:||Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Magic, Slice of Life|
Shinobu decided to run away from the Mitsurugi house to Izu, where his family resides but he meets a strange being on the train who appears to knows Shinobu. He was saved just in the nick of time by Kouji from any harm and both of them head towards Izu for Kouji’s work and for further clues to lift the curse on Shinobu.
Picking up from where we left off in the first drama, Shinobu is still living at the Mitsurugi house, living under extremely restrictive conditions. A screw up at a ceremony was the last straw for Shinobu, as he ran off to Izu – his mother’s hometown. On the train, he met up with a strange man who turned out to be a sea god turned evil spirit who was also the one who placed the curse on Shinobu. Before anything could happen to Shinobu, however, he was conveniently rescued by Kouji who happened to be on the same train towards Izu for work.
We briefly overhear a conversation in the Kagamino clan explaining about the three ancient clans which existed – the Tamagawa clan, Mitsurugi clan and Kagamino clan. The Tamagawa clan was thought to have become extinct but what happened during the previous instalment showed that Shinobu had the Gem of Life within him. It’s a legend that the person who gathers the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, he will become the Master of Soul Language in the underworld. It’s also apparent that while Kouji was dispensable since his sword is merely a magical tool, Shinobu can’t be killed if they wanted to obtain the Gem of Life. In order to achieve their goals, a water spirit was sent to retrieve Shinobu from Izu.
Meanwhile at Izu, Kouji had a talk with Shinobu’s family to get a clearer idea about the curse but to no avail as nobody really knew what happened. However, they found out that Shinobu’s family used to live in the mountains before their village was flooded by a dam – something which sounds like a key to breaking his curse. Moving onto Kouji’s work at Izu, six girls have gone missing recently and it seems that all of them had visited the Tengu shrine and bought a cellphone strap from the shrine before disappearing. Shinobu and Kouji immediately got to work and visited the rumoured shrine. I’m not sure if buying cellphone straps was a planned or spontaneous activity, but Shinobu happily bought a red strap – the only one for sale – while Kouji bought a purple one. Soon after, the two of them got transported into another dimension where Shinobu was mistaken for a female again and kidnapped by a Tengu. Before a fight could break out between Kouji and the Tengus, the Tengus rushed off to welcome a representative sent by the Sea God. Unbeknownst to them, the water spirit sent by Kagamino had taken the form of the representative in an attempt to secure Shinobu.
Every 75 years, there will be a huge festival held for both the spirits of the sea and the mountains and this festival is closely associated with prosperity and well-being of the spirits. For that festival, girls will be “abducted” from the human world to act as the priestesses for the festival. However, they were never harmed and before being returned to the human world, they will each be granted a wish. Sounds like a good deal to me.
After escaping from their encounter with the Tengus, Kouji and Shinobu enjoyed some sexy times at an onsen (it always have to happen at an onsen) before crisis struck again. Shinobu was kidnapped by a swarm of crows to Oomine kingdom, the land of Tengus. He was included in the lineup of priestesses-to-be, and presented to the representative of the Sea God – Wakamiya (currently the imposter water spirit) who promptly pointed out that Shinobu was a male and not female. Despite Tenrou’s (the Tengu whom Shinobu and Kouji met the previous) wishes to make Shinobu into his wife, Wakamiya was adamant about disposing Shinobu as having a male amongst the priestesses was an ill omen. She predicted that this will lead to the failure of the festival, which will see the land engulfed by a tsunami and eventually, in a sea of flames. That is indeed a frightening premonition if she really had one, and with her identity as a representative sent by the Sea God, there was little the Tengus could say against her. After a heated discussion, it was decided that Shinobu will be put into the ocean on the next day.
Meanwhile, the real Wakamiya ran into Kouji and two of them started making their way towards the land of Tengus. They ran into the evil spirit whom Wakamiya identified as a wandering Naga, Yomi. He was headed towards the festival grounds and might have been pursuing Shinobu. Out of the blue Saburou appears, stunning Kouji who probably wasn’t used to having others sneak up to him without him noticing. Although his sudden appearance got Kouji’s guard up, Wakamiya seemed to be familiar with Saburou and, while it didn’t reassure Kouji much, I was quite convinced that Saburou is the good guy here. Saburou then reveals that he has some connection to the Naga, but he couldn’t recall what it was. As he is curious about it, he requested to join Kouji and Wakamiya – a request which was firmly rejected by Kouji.
Although the Tengus appeared to have given into Wakamiya’s orders, their Tengu pride and strong sense of justice (or in Tenrou’s case, passion) prevented them from killing Shinobu outright. They devised a plan to retrieve Shinobu after setting him adrift, with a ready-made excuse that “things picked from the sea bring good luck”. It’s rather comforting to hear that the Tengus didn’t really plan on killing Shinobu, or leaving him to die.
At where he was imprisoned, Shinobu met Yomi again and part of his memory returned to him. It was also shown at the start of this drama as well, and it’s clear that Shinobu met Yomi when he was young. After so many years, the Naga finally realised that Shinobu was a male. Before anything else could happen, Kouji showed up with the real Wakamiya. Kouji sent the Naga away but the ruckus they created attracted attention from the Tengus and Kouji had to withdraw without rescuing Shinobu.
Again, we overhear the plans of the Kagamino clan. As users of the water element, they planned to retrieve Shinobu before he dies. Looks like there’s gonna be a lot of people trying to rescue Shinobu after he’s thrown into the ocean. Coincidentally, Kagamino Tsuguhito runs into the defeated Yomi and makes the Naga into his pawn by throwing the latter off guard with a fake Gem of Life.
The next day, Shinobu was dumped into the sea and rescued by Kouji. Kouji alone wasn’t enough to save Shinobu and they were both rescued by a turtle – Wakamiya’s friend. Just when we thought it would all end, they were confronted by a group of crows and the fake Wakamiya, whose real identity was revealed by Kouji. Kouji forced her to confess her motives for impersonating Wakamiya and Tsuguhito’s goal was officially revealed – he wishes to reign over all humans of spirits, turning this world into the world of spirits. Conveniently, Saburou appears to help them defeat the water spirit and it seems like he uses the power of words to invoke spells which turned a tsunami around (we could sure use his powers here) and split the seas just like Moses did. With Saburou’s help, Kouji was able to exorcist the water spirit and the festival took place successfully with the appearance of a whale, the king of the seas.
After overcoming yet another hurdle, the relationship between Shinobu and Kouji became closer to the point where Shinobu was willing to admit that he was okay with “what they did that night” (sexy times). Although they haven’t got to the stage where they’re both deeply in love with each other, their relationship is progressing steadily.
Matsuura Shinobu is the main character who has been mistaken for a girl by almost everyone, spirits and humans alike. He had been living with the Mitsurugi clan pretending to be Kouji’s fiancée in exchange for his curse to be lifted. So far, he’s coming across to me as a person whose character is a blank slate. Perhaps we’ve been spending too much time on the story for the characters to have time to develop, but I realise I don’t know much about Shinobu’s character other than the fact that he’s a snarky-mouthed tsun. I guess we’ll get to know him more in future instalments.
Mitsurugi Kouji was quite the prince charming in this instalment, appearing just in the nick of time to rescue Shinobu all the time. Again, we didn’t get much character development here as we had more story and plot than anything else.
Although it wasn’t much as a stand-alone, this instalment should be important towards the entire series and a necessary stepping stone for the story to progress.