I reviewed this one-shot sequel to Princess Princess for Manga Recon, so you can check out my review over there.
Oh, Mikiyo Tsuda. One day, I will read something by you, and it will be awesome. Maybe it will be Living for Tomorrow, the book I’ve got sitting on my floor here. There’s always that chance. In the meantime, I will inexplicably continue to buy and read everything by you that is published here.
This volume was almost entirely student council elections, with a lot of intense bickering between the new character and the two main characters, with Akira thrown into the middle of things. There was also a bit of plot where Yuujirou wasn’t sure whether or not he had cleared the hurdle with his family, and he took the other main character home with him for moral support. This wasn’t actually all that… good at all, really. It was okay, and it had all the elements of being a touching family scene, but it just didn’t come off as very sincere.
There was also a farewell bit for all three of the Princesses after the student council elections, and we get one last performance along with some flashback and memories from past volumes to wrap up their year as princesses at this school.
As I said… while there’s technically nothing wrong with this series, and some parts are enjoyable, it was just powerfully mediocre, and I wound up not liking it too much. The best evidence of this is probably the fact that the farewell/flashback didn’t really do anything for me, nor did the “emotional” family scene. I did like when the princesses were saying private thanks to one another… maybe the farewell/flashback was marred by obnoxious characters, among them the costume designer, former student council president, and the new character from last volume. There was a part where the princesses were wearing wedding gowns as their final costume that I thought was kind of a fitting way to end. That was also okay. But… yeah. These good things are a matter of 2-3 pages each, and the book was, you know, around 200 pages long.
It has a lot of different genres going for it, and it works pretty evenly across all of them, but I suppose it does comedy best. The jokes aren’t really that funny, but light comedy series like this one also aren’t really my thing, so maybe it’s better than I thought. It has some moments of light drama, and it flirts with being a BL series (it’s extremely easy to slash the two main characters if you want), but the comedy is probably its strongest quality.
It is much, MUCH better than Day of Revolution though, and I can see how Princess Princess might appeal to some people. I’ll probably wind up reading the one-volume Family Complex when it comes out in English soon. I suspect the quality will be somewhere between this and Day of Revolution, but eh. It’s only one volume, and I think it will inform at least one of the characters in this series.
I feel like I need to confer with someone about the volume of Nana I just read. Words fail me when I try to think or write about it though. Unfortunately, I read it right after I read this volume, so what little Princess Princess had going for it was totally overshadowed by Nana’s mastery of the medium.
Sorry, Princess Princess.
This volume was the actual school festival/play, which was thankfully not Alice in Wonderland, but a weird original story that was written to be a kind of sarcastic fairy tale starring the three princesses. Later in the volume we get student council elections, with a new character, the embodiment of perfection, to run against Akira. Ho-hum.
The monotony of this volume was broken up by two side stories, one that starred the main character from Day of Revolution (Mikoto’s girlfriend in this story) and one which just outlined the regular routine of the princesses. The one with Mikoto’s girlfriend was great not only because the four characters that ruined Day of Revolution for me did not appear, but it was an alternate look at the festival goings-on from a strictly Mikoto/Makoto/Megumi point of view. Well, that didn’t make it great, but it at least made it slightly more enjoyable.
Once again, there’s nothing particularly bad that this series does, and it manages to stay entertaining because the comedy is okay, and the characters are okay… but it’s just… not very good either. I do like all the omake chapters that Mikiyo Tsuda does, in this case there’s an introduction to both the side stories (or at least one of them, I can’t remember if the other has an intro or not), an afterward, a comic drawn by both Mikiyo Tsuda and Eiki Eiki about making drama CDs, and a bunch of 4-panel comics at the end. Her 4-panels have mostly just been about losing weight and looking identical to Eiki Eiki, but I still find them really enjoyable, much more so than that particular mundane subject matter is in the hands of other mangaka.
I was kind of expecting a volume like this, or rather, I was expecting everything that occurred in this volume… but I suppose it was hard to take in all at once.
This volume basically contained every shoujo manga plot device you can think of. There was the school play (which we’ll see most of next volume). There was the school choral competition, where of course one character had to be taught how to sing. The complications with the main character’s sister that were brought up last volume… they looked like they would provide some promising tension, but the situation was kind of ended lamely. The school festival took place. There was a chapter about the main character transferring schools. Ho hum. We were spared a hot spring trip, which probably would have done it for me.
Though, to be fair, I did get a little enjoyment out of some of that. Even though there was no way the main character was going to transfer, I did like some of the conversations between the characters. Granted, these conversations weren’t all that deep or edifying, but they were at least a little enjoyable within the context of the series. The school festival event involving the Princesses was pretty funny. The students had to collect stamps from seven different people, which included the three princesses, three student council members, and Akira’s older brother, who is still apparently the school celebrity. You basically could pay off the council members to get their stamp, or beat them at impossible tasks. You had to find or chase down the princesses in order to get their stamp, which was them kissing your card, and Akira’s brother was apparently unapproachable because of a “Holy Aura.” Once again, nothing too ingenious, but enjoyable here. I also liked the song the Princesses wound up performing at the choral competition.
It’s still just… sort of okay. I don’t have much hope of it picking up momentum in the last couple volumes, but I’m not exactly dreading reading them, either.
Also, I still liked Mikiyo Tsuda’s afterward stuff. Even though it’s not too much different from what other artists talk about, for some reason, her 4-panel comics and illustrated afterward are just very funny in the backs of all these books.
I don’t know guys, I still don’t think this series is that bad, and I actually kind of like it at this point. The Princess theme is still pretty novel, especially since all the random side characters still have really bizarre and enjoyable reactions.
Most of the content in this volume revolves around revealing the pasts of the main character and his friend. The main character actually has the kind of tragic past you may have expected, which I kind of glossed over, but there’s some interesting friction coming from his cousin/sister, and maybe that’ll be good later. There was a lot of buildup to the friend’s past, and it was actually a little funny when it was revealed, but the problem he has is legitimate. It was interesting. The characters… still aren’t the most in-depth males you’ll ever see in a shoujo manga, but they serve their purpose pretty well.
Some of the funnier content in this volume is in the side stories, though. The two main characters go to the house of their class president over vacation, and the rest of the chapter is a parade of gags surrounding the members of his family. It was pretty cute.
Tsuda is also surprisingly good at doing bonus material. She portrays herself as a teddy bear and doesn’t talk about anything in particular, but somehow I find it much more interesting than the long, boring essays Arina Tanemura launches into, for instance.
After being curious and not really hearing anything about this series, I went ahead and ordered all five volumes in a sale. I did read “Day of Revolution” and hated it, but I sort of liked the plot, and I thought since this series was written a bit later, Tsuda would be a bit better about the messy things in that series, like different personalities for the characters and a direction for the series to go in. Shortly after placing the order, I heard this series was really rotten.
The first volume actually wasn’t that bad, though. It’s slow, and a bit bland, but it hasn’t actually committed any sins as of yet. The premise is a bit strange. The prettiest boys have to dress up as princesses in order to… entertain the rest of the students at the all boys school, and there’s absolutely nothing sexual about it. This is sort of rare, and you can read in the afterward that Tsuda wasn’t sure if she should make it a BL series or not.
The characters do have slightly different personalities, but they’re a bit generic at this point. The main character, a transfer student who winds up being chosen as a princess, seems to be sort of an average guy. His best friend, the kid with long hair, seems to know how to play the princess game and is slightly manipulative, and the third princess is the one who freaks out and protests about the whole business. The only other standout character, the president of the first year students, is the nice boy. It works so far, but I’m hoping for more.
So far, we’ve been introduced to what the Princesses do, how they are compensated for their time, what the process for their costumes is, and we’ve been through a school assembly and some sporting events with them. Next volume looks like it’ll be a vacation volume, where two of the characters are staying behind in the dorms and possibly visiting a third at his house. There may be dark pasts for two of the characters.
Eh. Not rotten so far, but not standout, either.