A long-running Shounen
manga, Ryuroden, also known as Ryuuroden
still lacks an animated adaptation, but still has a strong cult following for its impressively drawn art, interesting story, and intense action scenes, all while avoiding the usual overly-long Story Arcs
Shiro and Masumi are childhood friends who attend the same school. Shiro's mother was of Chinese descent and her lessons in the Chinese language inspired an interest in Chinese culture and history for Shiro. The two children are on their annual C Lass Trip
one day and all seems well... When a dragon appears out of nowhere
and snatches Shiro out of the plane that they were flying on. Masumi, having held onto Shiro for dear life, is also pulled along by the dragon, and the two seemingly vanish without a trace. The dragon promptly drops them into the middle of a massive battlefield. Shiro, with his knowledge of Chinese history, quickly realizes that they are no longer in modern-day Japan, but ancient China. Specifically, the era when The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Shiro's life is saved by the famous military strategist Dan Fu, but is mortally wounded in the process. Dan Fu, believing that the dragon brought Shiro into their world for a reason, appoints Shiro as his replacement strategist with his dying breath. Shiro, wishing to maintain the proper course of history and to honor the wish of the man who saved him, uses his knowledge of history
to defeat an army of 50,000 men with only 5,000 followers. Word quickly spreads of the miraculous Dragon Child's strategic genius and Shiro and Masumi are quickly treated with the same regard as some of the highest ranking nobility. However, the opposing army's leader is also very interested in Shiro's power and wishes to capture him
so that he can use his power.
Thus begins Ryuroden, a shounen manga notable for its little fanservice, refined art-style, clear displays of the author's knowledge of the Three Kingdoms era
, and unique use of many Shounen
Ryuuroden contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Lian Hua. She uses the Tiger Style of martial arts, which consists of quick movements meant to confuse her opponent.
- Art Evolution: The initial art style is a very traditional Sounen style. Later on, it's much more comparable to Seinen manga art styles.
- Bring Him to Me: More than one villain states that he'd like to have Shiro, the Dragon's Son, by their sides. Justified based on the era the story takes place in. Dragons were seen as divine and humans brought by them would doubtlessly be seen as PhysicalGods.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Subverted. Initially displaying this kind of power based on the training Shiro goes through after settling in the Three Kingdoms Era, it's later revealed that Shiro's birthmark is a sign that he became so powerful not through sheer talent, but incredible spiritual power.
- Chick Magnet: Shiro, specifically after he takes a level in badass.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Shiro and Masumi, but Shiro manages to avoid most issues that being an example of this would present due to his extensive knowledge of Chinese history.
- Living MacGuffin: Both Shiro and Masumi are seen as these.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons follow the usual eastern archetype, being divine beings that doesn't usually meddle in mortal affairs, but are still benevolent. The only dragon ever seen, though, is the one that brings Shiro and Masumi back in time.
- Physical God: Shiro displays signs of this, with his Divine Mark. That birthmark on his forehead is a sign that he can manipulate the world's Karma and Ki. Masumi later developed into more and more like a goddess with strong spiritual and even healing power