Shinobi Life (シノビライフ Shinobi Raifu?) is a Japanese shōjo romance manga written and illustrated by Shoko Konami. It had been serialized in Princess from the October 6, 2006 to April 6, 2012. The individual chapters are collected and published in tankōbon volumes by Akita Shoten. The first volume was released on May 16, 2006; the last on June 15, 2012, thirteen volumes total.
The manga was licensed for an English language release by Tokyopop, which published the first volume on November 11, 2008. They published seven volumes. It was published fully in French and German. The manga is licensed in Taiwan by Sharp Point Press.
The story is about Kagetora, a ninja and bodyguard of Princess Beni (Red Princess) from the past. He went to the future when a bomb exploded beneath his feet and he fell into the lake with the Red Princess because of pursuers, at the beginning of the manga. There, he meets a girl with the same name as his princess who shares the same face as the princess he had sworn to protect. Time and time again he proves his loyalty to the highschool girl who has no idea why he's protecting her with such loyalty. He refused to hurt Takezaki (Beni's father's secretary), who had suppousedly kidnapped Beni, only because Beni had told him that she did not want to see Kagetora kill anyone. Kagetora's self restraint shows when he is tazered by Takezaki but still does not fight back until allowed by Beni. While on a roof with Beni, where they had first met, Beni trips and falls off, he jumps over and the next thing they know, they're back to the past. He eventually realizes that he time warped into the time of her descendant, who looks very similar to her, and that he must love and protect Beni Fujiwara.
Tropes associated with this work:
- Big Bad: Beni's father, of course. This is a Shojo manga after all. Subverted later on as we see he was just trying to avoid Beni being lost in the past. He just didn't realize that by trying to fight it, he was going to make it happen.
- Distinguishing Mark:
- Kagetora's triple mole just under his hairline. It has allowed Beni to know him at anytime in his life and spot a mole impersonating him.
- Used tragically when Hitaki goes back in time to see the man who was impersonating Hachikuma was really his brother Toukichi and knew him by his unique single mole under each eye.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Turns out time traveling has pretty bad side effects...
- I Choose to Stay:
- Kagetora decides to remain in the future with Beni after discovering that Princess Beni back in his time has started a new life as a commoner and has no desire to return to her old one.
- Hachimuma who came from Kagetora's village decided to stay with Beni's mother rather than leave her.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Hitaki to Rihito after the accidental stabbing. Later cited as a reason there is still good inside him by Beni.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Renkaku from Kagetora's village has the ability to do this. However, the memories aren't truly gone, just sealed away. They can be brought back if something extremely shocking or traumatic happens to trigger them. This is how Kagetora and Hataki forgot about meeting Beni in the past when they were children.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: If they do, one of them disappears forever at random. However if the one disappearing is the "past" object the "future" will go with it.
- Not So Different: Rihito guesses he and Hitaki are Not So Different, hence the later's affection and kindness towards him.
- Phony Psychic: Beni's mother was believed to be clairvoyant. In reality, she'd been using a time portal in the shed to go forwards and then return to her own time.
- The Reveal: Beni's father is Hachikuma, a shinobi who lived in the same village as Kagetora and therefore has known who he really is from the start. and he knew by being with Kagetora Beni would become lost in the past.
- Scars Are Forever: Kagetora's never heal.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: After Hitaki learns, and saw, his brother killed himself in front of Kagetora and Renkaku, he is set out on saving his brother from killing himself, paradoxes be damned. It takes Rihito finding him and telling him how this is not a wise thing to do and how selfish it would be to try and save his brother, and the fact Kagetora had his memories sealed of the event, which prevented him from even having the chance to tell Hitake the truth.
- Shirtless Scene: Kagetora has several to show off the mass of scars all over his torso.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Beni and her ancestor are almost identical. She looks a great deal like her mother as well.
- Taking the Bullet: Well, taking the knife anyway. Rihito stops Hataki from stabbing Beni this way. He survives.
- Taking the Heat: A fifteen year old Kagetora takes the blame for killing Hachikuma, Hitake's Parental Substitute, who was a mole. This was to cover for two things, one it wasn't the real Hachikuma but Hitake's long lost brother Toukichi, who was an enemy mole, and the fact Toukichi killed himself rather than return and tell Hitake he tried to kill him twice before. This led to Hitake's grudge against Kagetora which continued for many years after.