Readers who pick up Tenryu: the Dragon Cycle will probably notice the words “from the creator of the hit manga FAKE!” emblazoned on its rather unfortunate cover, but anything more different from Sanami Matoh’s saga of policemen in love would be hard to imagine: Tenryu is a buddy adventure tale with nothing more shocking between its pages than an exclamation of “heck!” Fans of shonen manga, anime, and action movies of any kind will probably be able to predict what happens in Tenryu, but the art is appealing (Sanami Matoh fans will recognize the elfin ears and creative hairstyling) and the characters are entertaining despite their cliches. Tenryu takes place in a Japanese fairy-tale vision of ancient China, where rival gangs of outlaws rob from the rich to feed the poor and certain people can transform into animals that represent their inner being. In the time-honored tradition of adventure stories, two warrior buddies (serious Ryukei and wisecracking Hiryu) and a spunky princess are pitted against the evil Lord Torao. Our heroes and heroine are about to discover a shared heritage; all three are members of the powerful Dragon family, with dominion over dragons and extraordinary abilities to fight and to heal. There’s plenty of action, a little mild romance, a lot of humorous squabbling, and a talking weasel. Plus, dragons!
Tenryu: The Dragon Cycle volume 1
by Sanami Matoh
DC Comics/CMX, 2005