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by Rebecca Silverman,

The Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter

GN 1 & 2

The Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter GN 1 & 2

In the Forest of Scraps, an ancient dragon waits to die. His decline is interrupted, however, by a small child named Eve, who falls into the forest. The dragon takes the girl into his care, and when he dies five years later, Eve uses her magic powers to bring him back to her in spirit. Concerned that he can't remain with Eve forever, the dragon guides her to a human village, where Eve begins to make the connections she'll eventually need for a life without her father.

The Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter is translated by Bérénice Vourdan.


There is one very obvious comparison to be made here, and it's actually one that holds up pretty well across these two volumes: if you enjoyed Somali and the Forest Spirit, there's a very good chance that you will like Ichi Yukishiro's The Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter. Both series take a similar premise and do charming things with it, namely that an ancient supernatural being takes charge of a young girl in their twilight years and works to find a way for her to survive when their lives are over. The major difference is that Snoozy, the dragon in Yukishiro's series, does die very early on in the story. It's just that his human daughter Eve happens to be gifted with very strong magical powers and is able to bring him back as a ghostly skeleton.

Snoozy (named by Eve at age five when she first meets him) has no expectation of ever being a father again, although he does have a decent amount of dragon offspring. He's at the end of his life when the story begins, and he's come to the Forest of Scraps to live out his final days. The Forest is a strange place not unlike the Sargasso Sea in our world, a place where lost things wash up due to the currents of the world. Snoozy may or may not have come here deliberately, but he's content that it will be his gravesite – or he is until the day that a five-year-old girl falls from the sky. Suddenly he's the only person available to make sure that the girl survives, and even knowing that he doesn't have a lot of time left, he determines to be a father to her to help ensure her future.

About all we know about Eve from her first appearance is that she was put in a sack in her pajamas and then dropped from a flying mount over the Forest of Scraps. Was she kidnapped? Rescued and then lost? Was the drop intended to kill her? None of those questions have answers yet, although in volume two we get a bit more information about her life before the Forest, which had been very constrained. Although he doesn't say it in so many words, Snoozy begins to believe that Eve was specifically gotten rid of by people who were afraid of her vast store of magic power, and given that it only takes her six months and a couple of found magic textbooks to resurrect her dragon dad, it seems like that's a very plausible theory. But it also may be one that tells us more about the country she came from than the world at large, because once Eve and Snoozy leave the Forest of Scraps after his resurrection, none of the people Eve meets are all that upset about her magic skills. In fact, she becomes a much-sought-after witch in the town where she and Snoozy settle.

Again, part of this isn't through anything Eve or Snoozy do; it's a consequence of someone they meet, a hotelier named Yule. Yule runs not only the haunted hotel in town (he can see and speak to ghosts), but also just about every grift he can find, and he becomes Eve's self-proclaimed business manager. He is more helpful than not even with his intense avarice, and as with Eve's past, there's some mystery about who Yule really is and what brought him to the point he's at when Eve and Snoozy meet him. We know he sent his father, the original owner of the hotel, away, but with only one glimpse of the man in volume two and Yule's own shady nature, we can only speculate as to why. The Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter does an excellent job of slowly doling out its information as we need it, allowing us to learn more organically as the books unfold rather than slamming us with world-building right off the bat. There are some standard fantasy elements that give the world shape (such as the dwarves versus elves rivalry), but it mostly exists to support what's going on in the plot.

Both of these volumes are solid reads, and they build off of each other nicely. Volume one introduces Eve and Snoozy, as well as gets them to Yule's town and Snoozy's youngest (dragon) son, who lives above it. Volume two adds in the elf peddler Rose and one of Snoozy's dragon daughters, and both books take a gentle, and at times heartbreaking, look at the relationship between beings. Snoozy's son was involved with the witch Maribel over the course of her much shorter lifespan, while in the second volume Snoozy's grandchild is saved by a young dwarf girl who has lost her own parents and lives with her grandfather. Both stories relate back to Snoozy's own relationship with Eve and his fears that he won't be able to be with her in spirit form forever, making the series feel like an exploration of the parent/child relationship and familial love. It's warm even when it's sad.

Yukishiro's art is charming and works very well with the story, even if Eve's hair appears to have grown in a natural mullet over the five years she's been with Snoozy. Decorations for text bubbles to indicate what language is being spoken are beautiful, and there's a good amount of detail in the backgrounds that helps to center the work. Eve's height appears to fluctuate between panels, but that feels like a minor quibble in an otherwise lovely manga.

The Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter is a warmhearted, occasionally bittersweet exploration of familial love. If you're missing Somali and her Golem dad, Eve and her dragon dad are worth checking out.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. Yen Press, BookWalker Global, and J-Novel Club are subsidiaries of KWE.
Overall : A-
Story : A-
Art : B+

+ Warm, sweet, and a little sad. Beautiful art with good details.
Eve is a bit inconsistently drawn, Yule is a bit underused.

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Ichi Yukishiro
Licensed by: Seven Seas Entertainment

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Skull Dragon's Precious Daughter (manga)

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