Saturday, August 9, 2014

Crown (manga, vol. 1) story by Shinji Wada, art by You Higuri, translated by Christine Schilling

Crown combines action, humor, hot guys, and hints of future romance. It was published by Go! Comi and is now out of print, although it's still possible to find cheap copies of the first couple volumes.


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.


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.

  • Full Metal Panic! (manga) by Shoji Gatoh, art by Retsu Tateo - Another over-the-top series starring a military guy who's acting as a pretty girl's bodyguard. The guy takes his job very, very seriously and is not at all good at pretending to be an ordinary high school student.
  • Wild Ones (manga) by Kiyo Fujiwara - Another series starring a girl who thinks she's an orphan, until she learns that her grandfather is still alive and is, in fact, a yakuza boss. Her grandfather assigns her a bodyguard, who happens to be a gorgeous and attentive high school-aged boy. Like Mahiro, Sachie is loved by all, but at least she can stand up for herself and doesn't constantly throw her crying self at people. I've written about the first three volumes of this series.
  • The Good Witch of the West, Vol. 1: The Girl of Sera Field (book) by Noriko Ogiwara, illustrations by Haruhiko Momokawa - This stars another secret princess who possesses a jewel that links her to the throne. I haven't read further into the series yet, but I'm guessing there's lots and lots of political intrigue and attempts to kill the princess. I've written about this book.

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