Warriors is a popular series of children novels about clans of cats living in the forest wild. There are several clans, all fighting with each other for territory and food. This OEL manga, the second three volume series created about the novels, and this volume in particular, takes place during the first set of novels, probably between volumes 5 & 6. It explores the character of Sasha, a Rogue who chose to leave her kittens with Riverclan, and how her relationship with Tigerstar, the kitten’s father, started.
Warriors: Tigerstar & Sasha Volume 1: Into the Woods
By Erin Hunter
Publisher: Tokyopop/Harper Collins
Age Rating: Youth (10+)
The story starts with Sasha being abandoned by her owner. She decides to live on the edges of the forest, and discovers the world of the Clans. She meets Pine, a Rogue, and later Tigerstar, leader of the ShadowClan. A sort of courtship between Sasha and Tigerstar begins, as they get to know one another. Just as Sasha begins to realize she is in love with Tigerstar, she learns some things about him that makes her doubt him, just as he comes to offer her membership in the clan.
This first volume introduces us to the main characters, Sasha and Tigerstar. They come from different worlds, but both find something in the other that they admire. Even though Sasha is a kittypet, Tigerstar admires Sasha’s hunting skills and courage. Sasha sees a brave warrior in Tigerstar, who protects and cares for his clan. It’s easy to see why Sasha would fall for the ShadowClan leader with the good side we see at first. But, there are hints of a darker side to him, and Sasha discovers the full extent of his darkside just when it seems she has found a new home with him and the ShadowClan.
Even though in the novels Tigerstar is clearly made out to be the villain, in the manga, we see a genuinely good side. He isn’t trying to trick Sasha into joining the ShadowClan. She obviously fascinates him, and he truly thinks she’ll make a good addition to his Clan. And he may actually have feelings for her, but no insight into his mind is given, so we can’t be sure.
But this is Sasha’s story, and we do see what’s going on in her mind. We see her conflicting emotions between wanting her Housefolk back, and determination to accept no one else. Tigerstar, with his charisma, makes Sasha consider abandoning her Housefolk. She starts to believe that she could be in love with him. It’s her strong sense of right and wrong that makes her doubt him when she hears his plans for the other Clans. It’s this complex characterizations of Tigerstar and Sasha that make their budding relationship so rocky, and yet so interesting.
There’s nothing objectional in this volume. We see Sasha and the ShadowClan hunting mice, birds, and sometimes rabbits, and there is a fight between Sasha and Tigerstar and some foxes, but that’s the extent of the violence. Tigerstar is hurt, but heals.
The art is decent, but I did have some problems with some of the cats were drawn, especially Tigerstar. In some scenes, the dark triangles over his eyes are emphasized too much, making him look like Groucho Marx.
Warriors: Tigerstar and Sasha is written so that even if you aren’t familiar with the novel series, you could still read the manga and not feel lost. A new reader can learn about the Clans with Sasha, and it doesn’t feel contrived. Readers already familiar with the novels will enjoy the expanded insight into the ShadowClan and its leader, as well as story about Sasha, a minor character until now. The series is off to a good start, and I would definitely recommend it for current fans. It’s also not bad for new readers to check out if the world of Warriors is for them.