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review 2014-08-10 05:34
Crown (manga, vol. 2) story by Shinji Wada, art by You Higuri, translated by Christine Schilling
Crown, Vol. 2 - Shinji Wada,You Higuri

Mahiro's team of bodyguards increases by one – Ren and Jake invite the smitten Chondrite “Condor” Bourne to join them and protect Mahiro during the day, while they're busy hunting down potential assassins and doing research. In the latter half of the volume, a new assassin is sent...but not after Mahiro. Angela, a sexy assassin who only works for expensive jewelry, is told to kill Ren and Jake. She becomes curious about Mahiro, who she guesses is her employer's true target.

I think I'm going to stop here – I doubt the later volumes are worth the effort and, possibly, expense.

Somehow, Mahiro manages to become even more boring in this volume than she was in the first. It's difficult to believe that she's supposed to be 16 – her puppy-like behavior makes her seem several years younger. When she's not behaving like a disgustingly adorable child, she's enveloping everyone in her aura of gentle love, sweetness, and acceptance.

She sucks Condor in with that aura, and he becomes one of her faithful servants. His behavior is basically that of a stalker, but, since he can kill any potential assassins that might threaten Mahiro, it's all good I guess. I was at least thankful that not one of the guys showed an ounce of jealousy when Mahiro acted affectionately toward any of them. Although I think Condor noticed how very close Mahiro and Ren are.

This volume had fewer bloody killings (but Ren and Jake are good guys, killing people for good reasons!) and fewer icky indications that Ren and Mahiro might become a couple in the future. That should have meant it was better than the first volume. Instead, I found myself growing rapidly tired of the story and characters. Also, I was not happy with some parts of the latter half of the volume.

First, there was Ren's belief that Mahiro needed to build up an “immunity” to strange men. Mahiro had a habit of fainting around naked/nearly naked hot guys, and she was uncomfortable being near the good-looking celebrities visiting her school to shoot a movie. She told Ren and the others, “I can't help it. I'm sort of scared of guys I don't know.” So what did Ren do to try to “help” her? He arranged for him, Jake, Condor, and Angela to wear swimsuits and soak with Mahiro in a hot tub. She was so clearly uncomfortable that I cringed.

Second, there was Angela.

It turned out that Angela was really a cross-dressing man. From my understanding, he dressed as a woman because it made him feel better, but he didn't necessarily consider himself to be a woman – it was just a persona he took on, a way of dealing with some of the terrible stuff that happened to him when he was younger. Unsurprisingly, Wada took the easy route with him and turned him into a joke for most of his portion of the volume. “Oooh, Ren was French kissing a man and didn't know it, how gross!” - that sort of thing. And Ren, Jake, and Condor's “how gross” reactions were another opportunity to highlight Mahiro's loving acceptance. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the next volume, Angela realized his emotional wounds were healed by Mahiro's loving smile and decided to become another one of her bodyguards. Or maybe he's being set up to die tragically in Mahiro's defense.

(spoiler show)


Extras:

A funny little "what happens after the cover image scene" comic on the first page, a two-page comic-style author's note, and a one-and-a-half-page comic-style artist's note. Is Higuri's head a...cucumber?

 

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-08-10 04:29
Crown (manga, vol 1) story by Shinji Wada, art by You Higuri, translated by Christine Schilling
Crown, Vol. 1 - Shinji Wada,You Higuri

Mahiro is a cheerful, hard-working orphan who everyone loves, except for the horrible family that took her in after her parents died. When Mahiro caught the dad peeking at her while she was changing, she opted to leave and live on her own. Ren and Jake, two talented and hot mercenaries, kidnap her from one of her jobs, kick the horrible family out of her parents' house, and then take her to their condo. That's when Mahiro finally learns that Ren is her long-lost brother and that she is a princess who is in grave danger. Their stepmother, Lady Phoebula, wants Mahiro dead so that she can have the pendant that is the key to becoming queen of the country of Regalia. However, neither snipers nor hordes of soldiers will keep Ren from giving Mahiro the best birthday ever.

Right, so this series is over-the-top and knows it. Ren and Jake are OMG hot!!!, Mahiro is so sweet that her very aura can turn any enemy who is not complete cardboard into an ardent admirer, and several of the villains rely on the incredibly lazy stereotype of the Evil Fat Person.

Readers are supposed to believe that Ren and Jake are the perfect mercenaries, capable of taking on a hundred men without breaking a sweat. However, Jake is weak against women and literally becomes petrified when he's hugged by one. And Ren...well, he's just unbelievably great at everything. No explanation is given for how he and Jake managed to perfectly plan and set up a trap for over a hundred trained men, all by themselves. Also, Ren and Jake somehow manage to wear camo uniforms and bulletproof vests underneath expensive suits, so they can be appropriately dressed for battle at a moment's notice.

I'm sure that the whole bit with the crystal pendant was supposed to be very pretty and magical, but, in this already over-the-top series, the addition of supernatural elements seemed like a bit too much. In addition, I was very uncomfortable with the hints of future incestuous romance – Mahiro almost did a love divination for herself and Ren, and Ren and Mahiro are so touchy feely with each other that even Jake thinks it's a bit odd.

I'm not sold on this series yet, and there are already some warning signs of things I won't like. Still, the art is pretty, and sometimes over-the-top cheese is nice. I own the second volume, so I'll continue on.

Extras:

A funny little "what happens after the cover image scene" comic on the first page, a two-page comic-style author's note, and a one-and-a-half-page comic-style artist's note.

 

Rating Note:

 

My personal grade was a C/C-. I went with a C (3 stars) because, so far at least, my enjoyment of the art and some of the over-the-top aspects outweighs my discomfort with the hints of future brother-sister romance.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2013-05-25 00:00
Angel's Coffin
Angel's Coffin - You Higuri Pretty love story from one of my favourite mangaka. I'd loved a different ending, but it was satisfying nevertheless

Романтична демонична история по времето на дългите рокли и балове - от типа, който най-много обичам, подкрепена с арта на една от любимите ми мангаки. Бих предпочела различен и по-щастлив край, но и така завърши задоволително.


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review 2012-09-17 00:00
Night Head Genesis, Volume 1 - George Iida,You Higuri Brothers Naoto and Naoya both have psychic powers. It was because of their psychic powers they were sent to a research center when they were young and eventually escaping the place. But Naoya starts having frightening visions of the future. His visions foretell of a deadly virus that will infect the entire world.Pretty good story. Naoto and Naoya are both likeable characters and their psyhic abilities make things interesting. I think I'll be reading the next volume in this series, as I really liked this one.
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review 2011-04-12 00:00
Seimaden 10 - You Higuri The manga series would have been a lot better without Hilda as a main character or, without Hilda at all. Reincarnated soul of Laures´wife Elise, ok, I can live with that, but Hilda just doesn´t ... stick to the others. She´s got no gut & nothing special. I think the ghost of Elise would posses more guts & charisma than Hilda does in this plot.
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