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Anatolia Story
by XileDragon on February 25th, 2008, 9:48pm

Rating - 9 / 10.0

User rating of this review - 4.75 out of 5
Story/Plot - 4 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 3.5 out of 5
Enjoyment - 5 out of 5
Overall - 5 out of 5

Click here for series information

Anatolia Story is widely recognized as one of the better mangas of all time, and certainly the one that has rightfully set the bar for the shoujo/fantasy/romance genre. If more traditional artwork has previously kept some readers away from certain titles, this is one exception that must be made: Anatolia Story is an instant classic.

Plot/Story

The main plot is the classic 'girl arrives in new world, falls in love and saves the world' concept seen in many shoujo mangas such as Fushigi Yugi or Basara. Whereas other titles of the genre rely on prophesizing the heroine as 'the savior' and bless her with destined powers, Anatalia Story takes a much more realistic approach in its portrayal of Yuuri. There is no all-encompassing wheel of destiny constantly at work here; instead, it is Yuuri herself, the people around her, the ever changing landscape of the Hittites Empire that shape her story.

Although not excessively complex, the main plotline presents many twists and turns, because as we would expect, nothing ever goes according to planned in the wild, ancient world of the 13th Century B.C. Ultimately though, this is the story of Yuuri's fight to survive, to protect and to love amidst the chaos of the antiquity, from which almost unwillingly she will bring together a people, a nation, and the entire ancient world.


Characters

Without a doubt, the characters are the strongest aspect of the series. Unlike most shoujo titles, the heroine is the most endearing character of all. Indeed, Anatolia Story masterfully illustrates the evolution of the main character: from the lost, scared, and naive girl of the beginning to the smart, strong willed, warrior goddess that she eventually becomes. Yet throughout the story, Yuuri never loses that sweet innocent charm that endears her not only to the people of Anatolia, but also to the readers themselves.

Without taking the shoujo aspect to unreasonable degrees, the author is able to introduce many other characters, both male and female, that complement each other to great lengths. For example, the heroine's love interest is somewhat cliché, but at the same time, he is the perfect match for Yuuri. The romance between them is very skillfully portrayed: strong of passion and yet held together by a thin thread of fate, their love for each other is constantly put to the test.

One interesting contrast to most other titles of this genre is that although the romantic elements are strong, they do not represent the whole of the content. Indeed, the various interactions between the characters are all integral to the development of the storyline: from loyalty to betrayal, from brotherhood to unrequited love, from friendship to hatred, they all contribute to ultimately shape the direction of the series.


Drawing Style

The artwork is very traditional, which will obviously not please everyone. However, this suits the series very well: in contrast to the usual overly exaggerated shoujo style, or the ecchi infested shounen style, a more traditional drawing style is perfect for the serious, beautiful and transcending series that Anatolia Story is. In addition, the artwork only adds to the innocent charm of the heroine Yuuri, which is plus in many ways. Thus, although the drawing is somewhat outdated, its contribution to the final product should not be underestimated.


Enjoyment

The emotional value that Anatolia Story brings is also quite significant. The author chose not to play on the events themselves by making them exaggeratedly tragic, but rather she focuses on the feelings of the main character Yuuri. How is the world seen through her eyes? What is she feeling? Why does she feel that way? Why is she acting that way? Those are the questions the author chose to address, which masterfully does she do so.

There are several tragic moments throughout the story which will break the readers' hearts, but there are also many more heartwarming moments that make all the reading that much more worthwhile. For the typical seinen sucker that I am, I found Anatolia Story more enjoyable on the emotional front than any other manga, even though it is a shoujo title, and that in itself is quite an exploit.

Overall

In contrast to the more recent and thus more popular series, Anatolia Story is a true gem. In the future when artwork tastes will have changed, manga fads will have passed, these 'pop' series will lose its appear. But Anatolia Story will forever retain its charm, just as it still does to a contemporary manga reader such as I.

Anatalia Story is a beautiful story of love, war and betrayal. So sweet at times, and yet so tragic at others, the sentimental value is unparalleled. And in the end, everything comes together in a tale that bends time, space and reality in order to bring a nation - and most of all, two individuals - together.
 
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Nice Review by EtceteraSpeed on May 16th, 2009, 9:39am Rating: 5

This review is pretty accurate. Although, I must agree with hendo12 in that though the artwork was old-fashioned I would have given it a 4. But now I must disagree with hendo12 in that I believe Yuri was not granted all-mighty magical powers. Rather, she achieved her status with her own will-power and strength.
Although I would have rated the story/plot a 5 out of 5, it may just be because I'm bias.
Great review.
 
Well-done by hendo12 on July 2nd, 2008, 5:46am Rating: 4.5

Definitely a good review, although there are some points I'd differ upon. The artwork, although old-fashioned, is pretty good and I would've given it a 4. And Anatolia Story does make Yuri "Ishtar, the Goddess of War," and she plays a very savior-like role. Although what XileDragon wrote probably meant that the heroine was actually that role and that Yuri is actually just a charismatic, strong girl with no actual powers, the circumstances of her arrival and how she fulfills all the characteristics of Ishtar (ex: the lion and the twins) could be used to argue that maybe she really was the chosen of Ishtar and sent back in time and space to achieve a purpose. But that is just my opinion. Other things that could have been improved were the several typos (at least 3), but the analysis of Anatolia Story and XileDragon's writing was top-notch. Overall a very good review.
 
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