July 5, 2007
How was Backstage Prince 2? It was surprisingly good, actually. It still relied a bit too much on the misunderstanding plot device for my taste, but otherwise I liked it a lot due to the couple being together instead of the usual shoujo tease. The characters are both sort of one-dimensional, but I can’t really expect more from such a short series.Really, it’s just very cute. I thought it was worth every penny I spent on it. Both characters have kind of adorable personalities, and the heavy focus on kabuki is certainly a lot different than the usual two-volume shoujo romance. I would have liked this a lot as a longer series which went over kabuki as well as developed the relationship between the main couple further. I’m completely ignorant of anything and everything about that particular form of drama, so I would have liked a bit more of a lesson. Granted, the intended audience for this would already be familiar with Kabuki, but I would have liked to have seen something like Swan’s technique of giving a brief plot summary for many different performances featured. But that’s all hypothetical.
I would also be interested in any longer series by this author. I’m too lazy to check and see if they exist in English right now, but this seems a lot to me like a fairly rookie effort, and I imagine later, longer series from her would be quite fantastic.
So yes, a very, very cute shoujo series that was definitely worth my time and money for the two volumes it lasted. It’s not mind-blowing amazing or addictive, but it does enough things right to be very satisfying.
May 6, 2007
Before I go into this one, there is something I need to get off my chest which has been prevalent in manga I’ve been reading recently. The use of non-word abbreviations as dialogue. “OMG” is not something people say. “Oh my God” is. Similarly, “WTF” has no place in a dialogue bubble where people are speaking. I don’t want my manga texted to me, I want to read it. Both Backstage Prince and Flower of Life were guilty of this a few times between them. It may save space, or whatever, and at least it seems to be confined to high school manga, but for God’s sake, no. Just… no.
Much like my random dreaded purchase of Millennium Snow, I wound up enjoying this series quite a bit as well. I thought it would be about kind of an assholish guy who the main character was attracted to and they did theatre together or something. This is not the case actually… instead of theatre, we get Kabuki, we don’t actually see any of the performances, and only the guy does Kabuki. He’s also just very shy and doesn’t talk to anyone and is not so much an asshole. How the main girl gets set up with him is still kind of a mystery to me, but they make a cute couple, and that’s what matters.
I liked the main female character quite a bit. She’s rather shallow and is portrayed as kind of stupid. I want to say this is rare, because usually they try to group that trait with a whole bunch of other positive ones, and usually characters that are meant to be hated are stupid, but she’s just kind of dim and overcomes it by being positive all the time, which is kind of cool. I also liked the way she looked, for whatever reason.
The only thing I didn’t really like was how the complications arose in the character relationships. Usually they were along the lines of “boo-hoo I’m not good enough for him” or “oh he doesn’t need me after all even though he’s never said this” and it’s kind of annoying since the only thing I see is the main male being cutesy with the girl. But I guess we need something. I kind of wonder where a second volume of this will go, because the three stories in this volume were all kind of standalone and it felt like it could have finished with one volume.
We never actually see any Kabuki performances. The author points out that it would be a bit weird to show all the characters in full Kabuki makeup, which is true. I kind of like we never see this thing that’s driving all their lives.