Kaguyahime (輝夜姫?) is a science fiction manga series by Reiko Shimizu. This 27-volume series was serialized in Lala from 1994 to 2005. The story is based on the Japanese legend of Kaguyahime (The Tale of the Bamboo cutter).
Based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, this manga takes place around the mysterious Kabuchi Island where children were raised in an orphanage as sacrificial victims. Some of the children manage to leave the island and think they have escaped their fates. But then they all start to die at age sixteen, in the order and at the time they were originally arranged to be sacrificed. The only way to stop the deaths is to return to the island, seek out the cause - Kaguya Hime - and destroy it. The children later realize that they are clones of famous or influential humans, a fact which further complicates their quest to figure out their mysterious past and save their futures.
- A child orphan raised on Kabuchi Island for the purpose of becoming the victim of the Kaguya-hime "festival".
- A human who was cloned for the purpose of offering organs or spare parts to a VIP of financial or political power (the "recipient"). Clones can be created for insurance purposes (Akira, Midori, Sutton, Satoshi, Katsura, Kaede, Mamoru) and for crucial organ parts (Miller) in transplant surgeries.
- Camp U.G. (Underground)
- A U.S. Armed Forces military camp whose target recruits were young men. A large cash prize and citizenship under any country was promised to four participants who successfully completed the mission. This incentive was necessary because the military takes no legal responsibilities for participants, and every year there are deaths. The camp's location changes every year; in this case it was held at Kabuchi Island.
- Kabuchi Island (Kabuchijima)
- An island on the Amami archipelago where Akira and the orphans grew up. Its creatures and plants seem to be endemic. The island's history and cultural practices remain shrouded in mystery.
- Moon Stone
- A moon rock brought to Earth through the Apollo mission program. Its appearance differs from other moon rocks, and was believed to have been "created" over seven billion years ago. Its pieces were distributed to six different countries (Japan, China, America, Britain, Russia, and Thailand), and the existence of these stones is not known to the public.
- Moon Stone Mold
- Mold that is spread through contact with the moon stone. When a human is infected and not immediately quarantined the disease can become an airborne pathogen. A cure is being researched but it is currently fatal to all who catch it. The sacrifices are immune to the mold due to the environment in which they were raised and their genetic makeup.
- Li Plutocracy
- The main branch of the Li clan. They possess so much wealth and influence that they are referred to as an empire. They are known for their harsh rules of succession under which the empress is bound. A female successor must live within the palace walls until they are an adult. At the age of 18 there is a ceremony in which her suitors are revealed. The characteristic style of marriage is the successor chooses one of her five suitors every night as her companion, and when a child is conceived marriage arrangements are made.
- Akira Okada (岡田晶 Okada Akira?)
- The main protagonist, Akira is a woman of androgynous beauty. She is dignified and strong-willed. While attending high school she was more popular with the girls than boys and was often mistaken for a man (for example: she won a magazine's bishōnen contest that her classmates entered her in as a joke). As time passes, she flourishes into a young lady. When she was a baby, she was found in a bamboo thicket and taken in by the Kashiwagi family, but the couple divorced when she was three and Akira was abandoned to Kabuchi Island. At the age of five she was adopted by Shoko Okada, an artist who received child support to raise her. By junior high school Akira was forced into a homosexual relationship with her stepmother. To escape the situation with her adopted family, she decides to participate in Camp U.G. She is kidnapped from the camp and forced to assume her role as the donor of a Chinese empress, Li Gyokurei (李玉鈴 rigyokurei?).She was in love with Yui. But in the end, Yui died and she became Miller's wife. but years later when she was at death's door yui came for her and took her back to the moon, meaning that she was a tennyo in the beginning
- Yui Lindros (由･リンドロス Yui Rindorosu?)
- Possesses superhuman abilities, such as superior eyesight and strength. He, Midori and Akira were particularly good friends during their childhood. Since their escape from Kabuchi island he has been known to suppresses his emotions and is weak in communicating with others. He is gentle but lonely, and gets anxious when separated from Midori. He returns to the island through Camp U.G. with them to break the island's curse and protect his two friends from harm. he is revealed to be the son of the legendary Kaguya hime and a human.
- Midori Matsuzawa (松沢碧 Matsuzawa Midori?)
- Donor for the 9th generation foremost Prince of Thailand. The age difference between him and his "true body" is 10 years. He has a a calm and kind personality and harbors strong feelings toward Akira. He also deeply cares for Yui but sees him as a romantic rival, often acting out coldly when he feels Yui's being extremely affectionate or overprotective. He is diagnosed with stomach cancer and is given the option of having an operation, but instead leaves for Camp U.G. despite his weak medical condition.
- Mayu Okada (岡田まゆ Okada Mayu?)
- Daughter of Shoko Okada and Akira's classmate. She is very possessive of Akira, and doesn't let men or women near her. She has a sweet appearance but will do anything to get her way, such as pretending to be sick and fainting on the spot to get attention.
- Sutton (サットン Satton?)
- Donor for NBA star player Don Bellamy (ドン・ベラミー Don Beramī?). He also wanted to become a basketball player like his "true body." He has strong leadership skills and becomes leader of Camp U.G. during their stay (despite Kaede's rejection of the idea). He courted Akira along with the other Donors until realizing his strong feelings toward Miller.
- Brett Miller (ブレット･ミラー Buretto Mirā?)
- Donor for Julian, a blood relative of the British Royal Family. He was used for a kidney transplant at the age of 5. He is a famous Hollywood actor known for his gorgeous looks, but his personality is inconsiderate and rough. He gets upset when he is mistaken for a lady (which happens often) and a director was hospitalized after being assaulted by him in the past. Because of his failing eyesight he had to quit the acting business and cut all ties with his agents before leaving for Camp U.G. His goal was to receive an eyeball transplant and live as Julian. Later, he became Akira's husband and they had one child and lived together well into life until akira was nearly dead. then yui came and took her 'back' to the moon.
- Kaede (楓 Kaede?)
- Donor of Kim Seok-Yong (キム・ソギョン Kimu Sogyon?), son of a Korean Nobel Prize recipient. Twin of Katsura. Obstinate and childish, and seemingly aware of these personality flaws. Participated in Camp U.G. in hopes of winning the money to repay a failed business debt.
- Katsura (桂 Katsura?)
- Donor of Kim Seok-Yong (キム・ソギョン Kimu Sogyon?), son of a Korean Nobel Prize recipient. Twin of Kaede. Steady in character and keeps Kaede out of trouble.
- Satoshi Oda (小田聡 Oda Satoshi?)
- Donor of Hiroki Rushton (ヒロキ・ラシュトン Hiroki Rashuton?), son of an American Congressman of Japanese descent. Was adopted by a loving Japanese family and did well in school, but killed a classmate just before leaving for Camp U.G. He is quick on comebacks and develops intelligent schemes to get what he wants.
- Mamoru (守?)
- Donor of Yuri Babanin (ユーリー・ババーニン Yūrī Babānin?), a high-ranking member of the Russian mafia. Mamoru is wanted by the law for cheating and stealing, and wishes to have a fresh start at life through Camp U.G. Because of his nearsightedness he kept a distance from people and never took the time to properly take notice of them.
- Akira Okada: Yumi Kakazu
- Yui: Akira Ishida
- bodyguard: Jurota Kosugi
- Mamoru: Jin Yamanoi
- Midori Matsuzawa: Yuki Matsuda
- Satoshi Oda: Hirofumi Nojima
- Kaede: Hiroyuki Yoshino
- Sutton: Yuji Kishi
- Brett Miller: Yasuyuki Kase
- Mayu Okada: Maria Yamamoto