Sakura Shrine Girls: The Spirits Are Willing.

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One of the first manga series I was introduced to, wayyyyy back in the early 90s, was “Ushio and Tora”, a series about a young lad who is supposed to take over the family shrine and who has to put up with his annoying grandfather who won’t shut up about spirits and curses and other superstitious nonsense. Naturally enough, they turn out NOT to be superstitious nonsense, and hijinks ensue.

“Sakura Shrine Girls”, then, is basically the exact same plot, except the main character doesn’t wind up fighting off hordes of demons with a tiger-like spirit companion helping him and occasionally threatening to eat him. Rather, you have to deal with the capricious demands of a pair of buxom shrine maidens, who you can tell aren’t precisely human thanks to obligatory cat ears and tails.

It’s a pretty lightweight plot, mostly dealing with the fact that your new friends do NOT get along and you need to balance your sudden exposure to the Realms Beyond with the responsibility of constantly trying to keep the peace between these two natives of said realms.

In the process, there’s a lot of flirting and accidentally walking in on other characters in various stages of deshabille. It’s drawn by Inma, however, who doesn’t do full nudity, so there’s nothing here that you couldn’t comfortably have up on your screen at work.

Mind you, that implies a very relaxed work environment. Err. Maybe you shouldn’t go taking my advice on that one.

To back up to where we were before I tried to get you fired, I was first exposed to Inma’s art with “Sakura Beach”, which I think was her first VN for Sekai Project, and I wasn’t a huge fan of her style to start. It’s kind of grown on me, though, and I really like the depth of facial expressions shown in more recent VNs.

Anyway, it’s a good-natured romp, even if the plot never gets particularly deep, the art is pretty and there is ample … ampleness, and if you pay attention to the backgrounds behind all of the ample you may notice that some of them even change to reflect time of day, which is a new level of detail for the series.

Also you should really check out Ushio and Tora because it’s pretty amazing too.

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