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Manga: Anatolia Story

Red River (Sora wa Akai Kawa no Hotori), also known as Anatolia Story, is a historical fantasy shōjo manga series by Chie Shinohara.

A fifteen-year old Japanese girl named Yuri Suzuki is magically transported to Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia (roughly 3500 years in the past). 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. She is saved by Prince Kail, third son of the king and second in line to the throne, who takes her into his house officially as a 'concubine'. As the story progresses, Yuri struggles against not only repeated attacks by Nakia but also becoming revered as an incarnation of the goddess Ishtar and getting embroiled in political intrigue concerning the empire and surrounding nations.

Compare Ouke no Monshou, in which a 15-year-old American girl named Carol Reed is thrown into Ancient Egypt.

Anatolia Story contains examples of:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Towards the end of the series, Prince Juda does this to bring a stop to Nakia's attempts at having her bloodline rule the Hittite Empire once and for all.
  • Action Girl: Tito's sisters Hadi, Ryuhi and Shala.
  • Action Survivor: Yuri shapes up into this. To the point that she's named Commander-in-Chief of the military.
  • Actually That's My Maid: Prince Zananza initially mistakes Hadi as the infamous concubine that Kail picked up. When he's corrected and sees Yuri for the first time, he assumes that Kail is shacking up with a young boy.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Nakia's sister Nadia is in love with Mattiwaza, who doesn't seem to share the sentiment. Aside from running away with her because his own people began a mutiny, that is.
    • Ramses is in love with Yuri, and so are Rusafa and Zananza. It's too bad the latter two died.
  • Anchored Ship: When she was younger, Nakia begged Urhi (who was at the time, a junior priest) to marry her and run away together. He refused. She had a crush on him when they were younger, but there seems to be nothing going on between them now. When she was testifying against him, he hugged her from behind and said "I wish we could start over from where we first met."
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. When Yuri is shot in the back by one, she nearly dies and is clearly feverish and unable to think straight when she makes it back to Kail. And when the arrow is pulled out, she goes through even more pain (not helped that she had to keep the arrow in until the skin around it hardened, for plot-related reasons).
  • Attempted Rape: Odds are if Yuri gets kidnapped, this is bound to happen.
    • Even if she's not kidnapped. Kail doesn't show much concern for her actual consent several times over the course of the series. More than one of their common friends are... unhappy when they find out, specially Illbani.
    • Neither does Ramses, and ironically one of his attempts on her is thwarted by Kail of all people.
    • After one kidnapping attempt is foiled, Urhi leaves Yuri tied up in a remote area, giving a brainwashed Rusafa orders to do all of the things he's imagined doing to her. It's subverted when Yuri's found...and Rusafa was only kissing her feet. Apparently he finds her so awe-inspiring that he couldn't bring himself to touch her, even while brainwashed.
  • Babies Ever After: Dor those who survive till the end of the story, it's almost a given.
    • A bonus drawing hints that this could have happened for Rusafa and Neferet, had the former not died.
  • Barrier Maiden: Yuri is viewed as this by Nakia, considering that her blood is the key to the curse she wants to cast.
  • Battle Butler: Urhi, for Nakia.
  • Because I'm Jonesy: when Yuri meets the fake Ishtar. Unfortunately it's a case of Cassandra Truth.
  • Better as Friends: Yuri says this to Ramses. Looks like denial is just a river in Egypt.
    • Yuri wants to say this to Rusafa, but is told to pretend she doesn't know about his feelings for her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sure, Yuri may seem very fragile, but if pushed, she can become quite fierce. Especially noticeable during a subarc of various princesses coming to Hattusa as prospective wives and/or concubines for Kail. She is feeling inferior, as she has no social standing compared to them, but when one of their pranks goes too far, Yuri really bares her teeth at them.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Zannanza, after being drugged by Nakia's rose water, begins to act much more violently, abducting Yuri and endangering her life by taking her through the desert with no food or water. Tito also falls into this territory after being drugged by Nakia's black water, which is justified, because it was meant to make him kill Yuri.
  • Brick Joke: During the war with Mitanni, Yuri told prince Zanannza to give a message to Kail that she still loves him, complete with a kiss on the cheek. Months later in the next arc, Zanannza proceeds to kiss Kail on the cheek and said Yuri's exact words: "I love you." Kail's reaction was understandable for a man of his traits.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: It's strongly hinted that Mattiwaza from Mitanni had a sexual relationship with his older sister Tatukia, who later became Nefertiti in Egypt.
  • Bifauxnen: Yuri was mistaken to be attractive young boy while she was pretending to be a dancer.
    • She's also mistaken for a boy when one of Kail's brothers comes to visit. This leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny where he comments that he did not think Kail was into that sort of thing.
    • A slightly more serious version happens later, when Yuri and a band of soldiers set about capturing seven towns in a land they're at war with. One of the military leaders mistakes Yuri for a very young boy, and tells his queen how a young man has been conquering town after town and must be pacified in some way. The queen's teenage daughter, Princess Alexandra, decides to sneak around and offer herself to "serve" Yuri, in a heartfelt but very misguided attempt to help her people; Ilbani clears up the misunderstanding by sending Alexandra to meet Yuri in the baths, and once it's all said and done she becomes Yuri's lady-in-waiting.
  • Big Bad: Nakia. She plans to curse the Hittite princes so that her own son can become king. She will do so by killing Yuri.
    • Nefertiti counts, too.
  • Blood Magic: The Katashiro requires Yuri's blood.
  • Bowdlerize: In the original manga, Princess Alexandra offers herself to the Hitite empire as a concubine for Yuri, who had been mistaken again as a male prince (this time by Alexandra's mother). The English translation says she offered to "serve" the commander of the Hittite army (i.e. Yuri). The context is fairly obvious, yet doesn't actually say it out loud.
  • Calling The Old Woman Out: When Nakia's last desperate gambit ends with Rusafa's death, Juda has an Heroic BSOD and tries to kill his mother. After being stopped, he deals a heartfelt and brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her, and then relinquishes his bid to the throne.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Kail's magic.
  • Cool Big Sis: Yuri becomes this for Alexandra, who actually calls her "Sister". Yuri has a Cool Big Sis of her own in the form of Ramses's sister, Hathor Nefert.
  • Cool Horse: Aslan, who even can survive being shot with multiple arrows.
  • Creepy Child: Juda after Nakia drugs him with her magic water, to prevent him from clearing Yuri's name of a murder charge.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: User Ramses, and presumably most of his sisters under their wigs, like Nefert. In the "what if" picture of Nefert and Rusafa, this is confirmed.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Hoo, boy, it might just be easier to list who doesn't fall into this category. At last count we have Hadi, Ryui, Shala, the Hatti people, Mattiwaza, the kingdom of Mitanni, Ursula, Rameses, the kingdom of Arzawa, and even Urhi expresses some respect for Yuri.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Prince Kail tries to sleep with Yuri, even though he's legally an adult and she's hitting fifteen (and he later admits that he thought she was really thirteen). Also, the fourteen-year-old Juda has a wife and several concubines. There's also the various socio-political issues that Yuri, as a girl from the modern world, sometimes has trouble grasping like how she can barely deal with Ursula's Heroic Sacrifice and how Kail and his troops immediately went to battle after learning of it; Kash tells her that she might not understand since she comes from "a place free of war", and adds that he does envy her for it but she must come to terms with her new surroundings.
    • Nefert has a tendency to walk around topless and think nothing of it. While most of the Hitite characters are shocked by this, it was normal for life in the baking-hot Egypt.
    • Kail is considered unusual for only wanting one legal wife and not taking any concubines after deciding to marry Yuri. In fact, polygamy isn't considered strange at all, for most of the cast. Near the end of the series, it turns out that Kikkuri thought he was only sleeping with one of the twins, but both had been taking turns going to him at night; when this comes to light, the only problem anyone has with him marrying two women is whether or not he'll be providing for the pair of them.
    • There are several points where it's mentioned that human sacrifice is considered acceptable. Nakia initially uses this as an excuse to publically execute Yuri, when she's first brought back in time, and the only grounds Kail can give to stop it is to lie that she's not a virgin. Later, Kail threatens to use Nakia as a human sacrifice to for the return of Yuri (who he knows full well Nakia has had kidnapped.
    • As mentioned below, Yuri repeatedly being seen as rather plain at first sight. Back then, a beautiful woman was generally tall and curvy, maybe even with light hair - which Yuri is the complete opposite of, although by (modern-day) Japanese standards, she definitely fits the cute type with being small, thin and black hair.
  • Driven to Suicide: Urhi kills himself in public while claiming to be the only one behind Arnuwanda's death.
    • Poor Juda is as well, when he comes to the conclusion that Kail and Yuri would be better off if he was dead. Thankfully, he recovers.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Tito. Yuri sees him and mistakes him for her younger sister Eimi.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Rusafa, who takes a knife to the back from Nakia almost at the end, but his Heroic Sacrifice allows to save Yuri from being thrown into time and space as Nakia's last effort to defeat her.
    • Ursula lies and pretends that she assassinated King Aruwanda, even though she knows that she'll be immediately executed. She happily dies knowing that by acting as a fake target, she has averted suspicion of the crime from Yuri, and thus given Kail grounds to call of Nakia's attempts to capture her.
    • Prince Mali bravely dies trying to take down Ramses, even though he knows how strong the guy is. Ramses even congratulates Mali on his courage, before mortally wounding him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Played with. Ilbani reveals his surprise when Queen Nakia uses Black Water to manipulate her own son, he thought she'd never do that.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Averted. Nakia is fully aware of how Kail and Yuri's bond works and uses it to her full advantage whenever she can. She does have her moments when she realizes that Kail loves Yuri so deeply, he would have Nakia executed as a Human Sacrifice to bring Yuri back... She nearly crumbles under the pressure.
  • Expy: In terms of appearances, Princess Güzel looks an awful lot like a more grown up version of Soko and Kail like Akira, except with slightly longer hair, both the main characters from Shinohara's Ao no Fuuin manga made in 1992/1994.
  • Eye Scream: Urhi gets an arrow to his eye. He gets one nice looking eyepatch later on.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Kikkuri.
  • Fallen Prince: Urhi was a nobleman from a land that was conquered by another nation, and then he was Made a Slave as well as beaten, raped and castrated. Then he was brought into the Hittite Empire as a priest.
  • The Faceless: Urhi stays this for several chapters.
  • Fantastic Romance: Kail and Yuri's relationship is this. Kail points this out as one of the reasons they aren't meant to be together. Of course, Yuri's I Choose to Stay and the Babies Ever After ending indicates otherwise.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Yuri is a girl from the 20th century AD stuck in the 14th century BC.
  • Flaying Alive: Poor Tito.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: The relationship between Kail and Ramses. It doesn't help that they end up fighting naked.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Certain things like Tutankhamen dying young come as a surprise to no one.
    • The narration also makes it clear that certain things will happen in future stories.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Kail and Ramses
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Nakia.
  • Godiva Hair: Urhi, when revealing his nature as an eunuch.
  • Guile Hero: Yuri has to become this if she wants to survive.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: More than one, but the most notorious is Rusafa's.
  • Hidden Weapons: Nakia has a ring where she hides a poisoned needle.
  • The High Queen and Politically-Active Princess: Both tropes become vital to the plot, as being the Tawananna was more than merely becoming a Hot Consort to the King. Kail's dead mother Queen Henti was this until she was murdered by her sucessor, Nakia; years later, the struggle between the actual Tawananna and Big Bad Nakia vs. Kail's companion and prospect Tawananna Yuri Ishtar is one of the main driving points of the story. Yuri ultimately becomes victorious and banishes Nakia away, not before openly telling her that she will be a much better Tawananna than Nakia ever was.
  • Historical-Domain Character: This is kind of a given, as this whole manga is based on actual Hittite history, including The Manly Deeds of Suppiluliuma and The Ten Year Annals of Mursili II, both of which are written by Mursili II. aka Prince Kail.
  • Identical Twins: Ryui and Shala can't be told apart by anyone, except by Hadi and Yuri.
    • Later, Ryui and Shala both give birth to two sets of identical twins. By the same guy, who couldn't tell them apart either.
  • Hot Witch: Nakia, who sorta has powers over water and can use it to cast spells or to brainwash people.
    • Henti seems to have been this, as Kail inherited her power to control the winds from her.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: Rusafa does this to Yuri when Urhi and Nakia use him to kidnap her. To elaborate, Rusafa has been brainwashed by Nakia's magic. Kail manages to force Nakia's hand and get Urhi to release her, but before he does so, he orders Rusafa to do all the things he's dreamed about doing to Yuri. Instead of raping her, he kisses her feet because he awed by her that even while brainwashed, he can't bring himself to touch her.
  • If I Can't Have You: Under the influence of Nakia's rose water, Prince Zananza threatens to kill Yuri if he cannot have her as his princess.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Invoked several times
  • Letting His Hair Down: Ilvani as a "disguise" when he tries to capture Urhi.
  • Longing Look: Zananza has given Yuri several of these. As has Rusafa.
    • Urhi has given Nakia enough longing looks to last a lifetime.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: Urhi is rumoured to be the true father of Prince Juda, Nakia's son, and no wonder! Juda is his spitting image. When Juda's bloodline is questioned, Urhi reveals that he is a eunuch in order to save Nakia's reputation.
  • Meaningful Name: "Aslan" is Turkish for "Lion", relating to Yuri as Ishtar. (Most of the Hittite empire was located where Turkey is now.)
  • Mighty Whitey: Inverted with Yuri, who changes the story of Anatolia but is actually Japanese instead of white.
  • Morning Sickness: Thrice during the course of the manga, and none of them is really during the morning, but it happens to Yuri in volume 18, revealing that she is pregnant the first time. The second time is Schala, saying it was seasickness from the ship so she wouldn't hurt Yuri's feelings over her own miscarriage and finally towards the end of the series on the day of Kail and Yuri's wedding, Yuri learns that she is pregnant again.
  • Mother Makes You King
  • Mr. Fanservice: Kail and Ramses, mostly, but arguably most of the male cast.
  • Not Worth Killing: Kail and Yuri decide that shall be Nakia's ultimate end. The Senate wants to force her to commit suicide, but Kail says that she's already being punished emotionally, and Yuri adds that the worst punishment for Nakia would be seeing HER succeed and be a better Queen. In the historical record, this is pretty much what actually happens. However, Hittites were not big on killing family members, as they believed doing so resulted in calamity, especially in regards to the royal family; really, Mursili was trying to prevent another plague when he deposed her. She also ended up with a nice villa and good food for the rest of her life... but while always knowing that shw owes the rest of her life to her worst enemies, which could very well be a Fate Worse than Death for someone like her.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Between Kail and Ramses.
  • Outlaw Couple: Urhi and Nakia.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: A variant is done between Juda and Alexandra. When Ilbani sees how well the two are getting along, he checks that Juda's legal wife died in the plague and then decides to arrange for the two to be married.
  • The Plague: One of the subarcs in the storyline. In actual history, the plague raged in Hattusa for some 20 years and killed a large portion of the population, including King Suppiluiuma, King Arnuwanda... and Queen Gassulawiya, one of the two persons that Yuri is likely based upon.
  • Plucky Girl: Yuri is this, most notably when she survives being shot with an arrow and stalks Ramses until he agrees to patch her up and take her back to Hattusa, going so far as to threaten to haunt him if he continues to refuse.
  • Polyamory: Since Kikkuri couldn't tell the difference between Ryui and Shala, ending up getting one pregnant while he thought it was the other one, he ended up marrying them both.
  • Pregnant Badass: While she didn't know it initially, Yuri during the Beida subarc and shortly before, leading the royal army. Later, we have Schala, who fought with the rebellious egyptians to overthrow their regime and rescue Ramses.
  • Puppy Love: Juda and Alexandra, both no older than 13.
    • Averted, since at the point of time in the story, some years have passed since Juda was first revealed to be 14. At that point, it seems closer to being the age of 15-16.
  • Red String of Fate: A broken one in the background, when Kail and Yuri know that they can't be together, no matter how much they want to.
  • Rule of Cool: Yuri's reappearance after Kail foils the kidnapping of her by holding a ceremony for everyone to pray for her return. Sure, she didn't have to come back to him by swimming through some pipes and bursting out of the prayer pool, but damned if it didn't look cool!
  • Settle for Sibling: In an extra chapter, we find out that Satoshi, Yuri's boyfriend from her own time, eventually married her younger sister, Eimi.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: The general reaction, whenever Yuri dresses up.
  • Shown Their Work: With just a few changes for dramatic purposes, this otherwise sticks rather closely to the actual Hittite records, insofar as the order of kings goes.
    • Yuri herself is likely based off the beloved wife of Mursili II, Queen Gassulawiya. Unfortunately, she died in Year 9 of Mursili II's reign from plague.
      • She may have been inspired by both Gassulawiya and Puduhepa, the wife of King Hattusili II and thus Mursili and Gassulawiya's daughter in law. Puduhepa was not only a priestess of Ishtar (the goddess that Yuri is believed to be the incarnation of), but also a very smart and capable lady who co-reigned with Hattusili, led the Hitite diplomacy back then, and was reported to have had lots of contact with Egyptian authorities — including Ramesses II and Nefertari.
    • A lot is ambiguous when it comes to concurrent Egyptian figures. Scholars are still arguing over which pharaoh Zannanza was sent to replace, as well as which queen sent a letter over requesting a husband. The pharaoh in question could be Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, Smenkare, or Horemheb.
    • Other changes are made to accommodate lack of information in some places; for example, Tawananna's name is not actually attested as Nakia (We actually don't know what it is).
      • Nakia was actually inspired by the Babylonian princess Mal-Nikal, the sucessor of Kail's mother Henti and second wife of Suppilinuma. Also, Nakia's name is mentioned... in the cast list of the drama CD's.
    • Henti's own role is somewhat changed as well. In history she was the mother of at least five of Suppilinuma's children note  but the manga it seems that only Arnuwanda, Piyassili and Kail are her kids (Zannanza is the son of a royal maid and Telipinu is the son of a concubine.) Also, historians seem to believe that Henti was "banished away" by Suppilinuma when he married Mal-Nikal or might have been executed for the same reason, but in the manga she was murdered by Mal-Nikal's expy Nakia.
    • In addition, the final scenes depict the modern-day ruins of Hattusa as it appears today.
  • Skinship Grope
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The first few moments between Kail and Yuri appear like this, until they fall for each other for real.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Rusafa in particular was known as "Lucifer" in early scanlations due to the ambiguity of katakana and lack of linguistic context.
    • Another example is Tatukia (from the Hurrian "Tadu-Hepa", usually depicted in the Hittite histories as Tadukhipa). Sure, most of these character names come straight from those same histories, but she's referenced so infrequently that the translators can be forgiven for the miss. Considering she disappears from history about the same time Nefertiti shows up in Egypt, though that's not 100% confirmed in real life. Oddly enough, called Tatsukia in earlier translations, making this a literal example.
  • Stable Time Loop: As it turns out, Yuri's appearance in ancient times and her involvement among the Hittites ultimately leads to their history as known in real life. Crossed with You Already Changed The Past.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Urhi is fiercely loyal to Nakia, to the point of attempting to bite his own tongue off when interrogated for answers. Even after countless failed attempts to kill Yuri, Nakia still keeps him around.
  • Tempting Fate: Probably not a good idea to say the god of death can't separate you.
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Ursula's unfair execution, her boyfriend Kash wears her long braid as a headband, vowing to keep it until the true culprit of the crime she was accused of is found. When said criminal (Urhi) is revealed and kills himself, as Ursula is exonerated post-mortem, he takes off the braid and gently kisses it.
  • Trapped in Another World: Not that Yuri doesn't try to escape back to Japan, but between Nakia's machinations and Yuuri's own feelings for Kail (and arguably Anatolia itself), this just never ends up happening. After she marries Kail, definitely crosses the boundary into I Choose to Stay.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: People are shocked when they see that Kail's concubine is such a shallow kid with no figure. Soon enough they see her true beauty in her personality and strong will.
    • This often feels like a case of Hollywood Homely to a lot of readers, as Yuri is always drawn as being rather cute from the start.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Yuri has no physical fighting skills of her own, but manages to become Genre Savvy enough to dodge murder/rape attempts several times and survive in this world that she has just arrived of.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The great mystical dragon's eye disappears completely after the raid.
  • Villain Ball: The prospective concubines and wives humiliate Yuri, the only person who Kail loves, just because they can.
  • 100% Adoration Rating: Yuri, naturally. When she's stung by non-fatal scorpions as a result of a prank pulled on her by some princesses who want to be made Kail's queen, the news gets out and most of the town tries to stampede the palace with scorpion sting remedies for their beloved Ishtar.
    • Kail too, though not always to quite the fanatical degree that Yuri inspires in subjects and strangers alike.

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alternative title(s): Anatolia Story
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