Sunday, January 27, 2019

REVIEW: Gakuen Prince (manga, vol. 2) by Jun Yuzuki, translated by Harumi Ueno

Gakuen Prince is, I guess, a romantic comedy series. It was licensed by Del Rey.


Azusa and Rise learn that they're going to need to do a little more than just exchange neckties in order to be accepted as a real couple by the girls at their horrible school. They will also need to participate in a mock marriage, a ceremony known as the Fiançailles. Just ignore the fact that this was never mentioned in the first volume.

Rise wants nothing to do with the ceremony, especially since it will involve kissing Azusa in front of the whole school. Azusa, however, really wants the continued protection of a fake girlfriend, although he keeps telling himself that one of the main reasons he wants to participate in the Fiançailles is to finally end the other students' bullying of Rise.

Two other characters get involved: a girl named Noriko Fuwa and Akamaru, a popular but aloof guy from S-class. Noriko is determined to make Azusa her own. Akamaru, meanwhile, seems to want to protect Rise. He had previously warned her to keep her distance from Azusa, and now he goes after Azusa for continuously upsetting her, making her cry, and making her even more of a bullying target.

Anyone who accidentally skipped the first volume would likely assume this was a relatively normal, if annoying and slightly risque, romance series. A couple potential love triangles are introduced, and, if I remember right, not a single character mentions the fate that Azusa is trying to avoid.

If you did skip the first volume, or if it's been a while since you read it, allow me to remind you: at this particular school, girls vastly outnumber the boys and see this as an excuse to hunt them down and rape them. If a boy is lucky enough to find himself a girlfriend who can protect him, or if he can find a part to play (school idol, unapproachable sex god, etc.) that the girls think is acceptable and that he's willing to perform, he's safe. Otherwise, he's at the mercy of any girl who can catch him. All of the school's teachers are either too dense or too non-confrontational to be of any help.

And that's why this series is still garbage, even though this second volume scales the worst aspects way back. It was also easy to see that Yuzuki had no clue how to handle the characters or write this world. The male students' parents were generally as rich and influential as the female students' parents. Why wasn't that a factor in how they were treated? Heck, one of the teachers was too afraid of Akamaru's father to tell Akamaru that he was going to have to attend an after-school tutoring session.

In the first volume, Rise was a ball of barely suppressed rage and disdain. In this volume, that mostly disappeared, and she became a more generic delicate flower of a heroine, prone to beautiful tears. And while it was clear that Azusa was still supposed to be her primary love interest, Akamaru was at least a hundred times better than him. Where Azusa was childish, easily distracted, and prone to yelling at Rise when she didn't do what he wanted, Akamaru was protective of Rise and mature enough to see when his interference might make things worse for her rather than better. Granted, readers still don't know his motivation (if he even has one - I'm doubtful that the author has any kind of plan), but I certainly liked him more.

Although this volume did have far fewer on-page rape attempts, it still wasn't sexual assault-free. In a kissing scene that made me shudder with revulsion, Azusa forced his tongue into Rise's mouth in order to prove that they were a "real" couple (only true couples French kiss, or something like that - yeah, like I'm going to believe Munechika never French kisses any of the girls he has sex with). He got his tongue bitten, but that's beside the point. Also, the rapist lesbian returned: the school's student body president gave several female students to her as punishment for throwing raw eggs at Rise. This was supposed to be funny.

So yeah, this was slightly better than the first volume, but still crap.


Several author's notes, a few humorous drawings, four pages of translator's notes, and a four-page untranslated preview of volume 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment