''Shion's King: The Flowers of Hard Blood''

A seinen manga (with an anime adaptation) by Katori Masaru that blends the game of shogi with a murder mystery.

''Shion no Ou'' is the story of a young girl named Shion Yasuoka. When she was a very young child, [[BreakTheCutie she witnessed the brutal murder of her parents]]. Oddly, the murderer leaves her alive but takes the "king" piece from the shogi board (the Japanese rendition of chess). The resulting trauma leaves her [[CuteMute unable to speak]], forcing her to communicate with people by writing her thoughts out on a notebook (... no, not ''[[Manga/DeathNote THAT]]'' notebook).

After her parents' murder, Shion is later adopted by her next-door neighbor and family friend, Shinji Yasuoka, who is a ''kishi'', or professional shogi player. Shion continues to play shogi, learning from Yasuoka out of both her own love of the game and her desire to discover the identity of the murderer.

An anime adaptation, produced by Studio DEEN, was released in late 2007 and finished up in March of 2008, following the current storyline of the manga fairly faithfully. The manga ended a few months afterwards.

Compare with ''Manga/HikaruNoGo'', which has a similar premise, only with Go instead of shogi.
!!This series provides examples of:
* AbusiveParents: [[spoiler:Saitou Ayumi]]'s father is emotionally abusive; he even blames [[spoiler:Ayumi]] for his birth making his mother ill.
* AffablyEvil: The BigBad and murderer of [[spoiler: Shion's parents and Kazumi, Hani Makoto]], seeing as his methods and philosophy on a single topic are what make him evil, in contrast to his friendly and suave persona.
* TheAlibi: This is why [[spoiler:Satoru]]'s suspicions have trouble being proven.
* ArtShift: In the anime, whenever Shion recovers a memory of the night when her parents were murdered, the art style becomes sketchy and much DarkerAndEdgier. The same thing happens to a lesser degree in the manga whenever Shion is either thinking about that night or having related dreams.
* AttractiveBentGender: [[spoiler:Ayumi''-chan'']] is very, very cute... and many oblivious members of the cast, both male and female, comment on this.
* BadBoss: As [[spoiler:Ayumi]]'s master, [[spoiler:Hani Makoto]] shows this, largely by being a {{Jerkass}} and frequently [[KickTheDog maltreating]] his apprentice (even framing him). Later, this turns out to be partially a case of being a convoluted ManipulativeBastard, but it could easily be both since he deliberately choses methods involving [[KickTheDog kicking the dog...]] [[UpToEleven a lot.]]
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler:Hani Satoru set up the Pro-Amature Tournament in order to have a match against his brother, the Meijin, so he could figure out Makoto's involvement in his financée's death. What's more, to despite being unable to play against Makoto, Satoru still manages to pull off the goal of this gambit with the assistance of Shion]].
* {{Bishojo}}: Both Saori and Shion count... as would Ayumi-chan, were she not simply Ayumi-kun in disguise (Ayumi-chan is even directly referred to as one).
* {{Bishonen}}: Ayumi-kun qualifies. There are also several examples of {{Biseinen}}: Hani Makoto, Hani Satoru, and Hisatani Tooru (possibly even Yasuoka Shinji).
* BloodSplatteredInnocents: Although this wasn't true of the actual event (to despite [[BloodyHorror the state of the apartment]]), all of Shion's dreams about her parents' murder have this to some degree.
** Also, the FlashbackCut of [[spoiler:Satoru's father's death]].
* BloodyHorror: There are subtle instances of this when ever there's an image of the murder.
* BreakTheCutie: All three main characters had this happen to them at least once, usually taking it UpToEleven. Shion especially, since the murderer [[HarmfulToMinors intentionally murdered her parents in front of her]] and "sealed off" her voice when she was ''four''. [[spoiler:Ayumi]]'s father is [[AbusiveParents emotionally abusive]] (he seems to have had a rough childhood in general), has to pay for [[spoiler: his terminally ill mother's medical]] bills alone, and, after [[spoiler: his mother's death and losing in the tournament, is then used by the BigBad to harm his good friend and love interest]]. Finally, there's [[spoiler: Hani Satoru]], whose past is something of a TraumaCongaLine: [[spoiler:he saw his father die saving him from car accident, was abandoned by his elder brother in an orphanage, and lost his fiancée due to his elder brother's actions]].
* CastOfSnowflakes
* ChildProdigy: Shion is presented as a shogi prodigy at the young age of four, and not only does she continue to hone this genius, she is represented as being a wonderful student without needing to study.
* CuteMute: The eponymous Shion, who lost the ability to speak after witnessing the murder of her parents.
* DisappointedByTheMotive: More like disbelief, in this case. [[spoiler:"For shogi'']] isn't a motive that would make sense to most people.
-->'''Hisatani:''' [[spoiler:You mean he murdered a couple just to play shogi with a kid who was barely four years old? And even manipulated your fiancée for this?]] Thatís ridiculous, I canít accept that.
* FairPlayWhodunit
* {{Foil}}: Yasuoka to Hani Makoto, Hani Makoto to Satoru, Satoru to Shion, Shion to Ayumi, Ayumi to Satoru, etc.
* FriendlyRivalry: Ayumi and Shion.
* GenkiGirl: Shion is a non-vocal variant of this.
* GratuitousEnglish: Lots of it in the opening theme "Lady Love" by J-Rock band '''Rize''', not quite as much in the ending theme "My Dear Friend" by J-Pop artist '''Thelma Aoyama'''.
* HappilyAdopted: Shion, by the Yasuoka couple. The manga also has indications that her birth parents, the Ishiwatari couple, were very strict.
* HiddenInPlainSight: This is one of the many reasons why the case took so long to solve. That, and the [[HiddenAgendaVillain apparent lack of motive for the murder,]] as such there was an apparent AbsenceOfEvidence.
* HotBlooded: Many of the ''kishi'' can get ''very'' enthusiastic about the game. The drawing and animation styles used when the players make their moves further emphasizes this.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: In the manga, each chapter is referred to as a "Move" and some have ''shogi'' references in the actual name.
* ImportantCharacterImportantEvidence: Aside from Shion's searching through her memories, much of the key evidence was found and gathered by [[spoiler:Satoru]], problem being, in part, that [[CassandraTruth no one believed him for years.]]
* ImportantHaircut: [[spoiler: Ayumi when he decides [[EstablishingCharacterMoment to play shouji as a boy]]]].
* JerkassFacade: [[spoiler:Satoru]] uses this as part of his BatmanGambit; though some feelings of jealousy are involved, once he casts it off, he turns out quite the kind person.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Kamizono 9-dan shouts a lot, speaks very bluntly, looks very intimidating and has a reputation as a merciless ''kishi''... but (almost) any of the scenes between him and Ayumi show that he's far from a bad guy. As well as a particular {{Flashback}} of Yasuoka 8-Dan's.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: While Shion has some trauma-induced amnesia and can only remember bits and pieces about the murder of her parents that she witnessed, she appears to have forgotten nothing else; remember, she was ''four'' at the time.
* LeaveNoWitnesses: In an interesting and complex variant, the killer threatened Shion into silence (to the extent that she became ''mute'') and intentionally used [[spoiler:Kazumi, who had a very weak heart and died as a result of realising that she was unknowingly an accomplice, when Satoru was away]], [[MurderByInaction leaving her to die]] [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident without even needing an alibi]].
* LuminescentBlush: Shion pulls this one not infrequently. Ayumi does this a few times as well, even as man (usually in reference to his closeness to [[spoiler:Shion]]).
* MarshmallowHell: Saori hugging Shion on the first episode.
* ManipulativeBastard: The motive and ''modus operandi'' of the killer, [[spoiler:Hani Makoto]], really nails this one: [[spoiler: he murdered Shion's parents, played a game with her then and there, threatened her into silence, and later continually separated her from Ayumi (thus isolating her) to develop Shion into a better shogi player (according to his philosophy)]]. Considering how he [[LeaveNoWitnesses ensured there would be no evidence against him]] and a fair few of his subsequent actions, he definitely qualifies as the series' [[TheChessmaster chess master]] ([[spoiler:no pun intended]]).
* MeaningfulName: Satoru's name translates to "comprehend, apprehend, or become aware," guess what his role in the story is.
** "Ayumi" means "stages in a progress," "Makoto" translates to "genuine," ''et cetera''.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Shogi of course.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Significantly averted in chapter six, when Shion's first menstrual cycle [[EmbarrassingDampSheets on her sheets]] causes her to black out due to her [[AfraidOfBlood fear of blood]].
* OffModel: Studio DEEN seems to have a problem with this. The first few episodes are rendered in great detail, paying close attention to character hair and especially the faces of the older male characters. This degrades over time and for several episodes the animation quality drops noticeably before getting better again halfway through the series. It never did reach the same level of detail that it started with, but it did get much better.
* PsychoticSmirk: The killer, [[spoiler: Hani-meijin]].
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Hani Makoto loves to deal these out, deserved or not. Somehow, these never interfere with his friendly persona.
* RedHerring: Hani Makoto leaves these intentionally; additionally, [[spoiler: this is what makes him so difficult to pinpoint as the BigBad]].
* TheReveal: The identity of the killer and BigBad is handled that way.
* SelfMadeMan: Hani Makoto ''and'' Hani Satoru, separately at that.
* ShownTheirWork: The writer is a professional shogi player, and it ''really'' shows.
* ShutUpHannibal: Shion deals this out to the BigBad, without words, in the form of a well-deserved slap in the face.
* StalkerShrine: A wall plastered with photos of Shion is shown in several of the early episodes of the anime.
* StepfordSnarker: [[spoiler:Hani Satoru]], with a hint of JerkassFacade.
-->[[spoiler:'''Satoru:''']] Does that mean you would accept other motivations for killing people?
* TalkingWithSigns: Shion's preferred method of communication.
* TeenGenius: Played straight ''and'' subverted; [[spoiler:in the free-for-all shogi tournament, fifth-grader Suo Honma beats a ''9-dan professional kishi'']]. It's a subversion because [[spoiler:he used a strategy common among Internet shogi players that his opponent had no knowledge of. If the 9-dan had known about the strategy, he would not have lost. Honma later loses to Shion because of this lack of experience]].
* ThatOneCase: For Inspector Yokoyama, the murder of Shion's parents is this.
* TragicKeepsake: Shion's pendant, which is early on stated to be [[OrphansPlotTrinket a memento of her mother]]. The same later turns out to be a MementoMacGuffin: [[spoiler: it actually was what Satoru gave to Kazumi in lieu of an engagement ring, and thus proves the connections between several individuals]]. Moreover, for [[spoiler:Satoru, it is both a memento of his mother and his lover]].
* TroubledButCute: [[spoiler:Saito Ayumi]], although he doesn't act out that much, some characters do regard him this way.
* UnsettlingGenderReveal: [[spoiler:Saito Ayumi]], though the story doesn't hide it from the viewers for long (it is especially unsettling to Tachikawa). Satoru [[spoiler:''intentionally'' drops this particular Bridget on Nikaido Saori]] for what seemed like no reason at all, though it may just be part of his [[spoiler:BatmanGambit to find out who killed the Ishiwataris]].
* WhamShot: When Shion remembers that [[spoiler: the advice she was clinging to as being from her adoptive father and the basis of ''her shogi'' actually were the words of the murderer]], shown in a single panel.
* WholesomeCrossdresser: [[spoiler:Ayumi]] crossdresses to get into shogi tournaments earlier than he would be able as a man in order to [[spoiler:pay his mother's medical bills]].
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: In the anime, Ayumi's hair isn't blue-black, but jarringly bright blue. Hani-meijin also has obviously ''purple'' hair. In the manga, the hair colours are more subtle.
* ZettaiRyouiki: Displayed frequently by both Shion and Ayumi; Saori's skirt is usually too long for this.