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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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04/26/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi review: Prince Charming 3"

Prince Charming 3
Story and art: Akemi Takaido
Published by the June Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1569708142
ISBN-13: 978-1569708149

Review by Cat

Finally, here's the concluding volume. Has the tangled web Takaido built through her last two volumes fallen apart or ran out of steam before making it to the finishing line?

Happily, no. If anything, it's still managed to produce surprises of various degrees and a couple of 'F***! Can't believe that... not happenin', not happenin'! Argh, can't bear to look!' moments. In spite of these moments and the complications, it works out in the end and pretty well, too.

Following from the last volume, the relationships of English teacher Asahina, his high-school and 'live-in lover' Yusa, and Yusa's high school best friends, Nagai and that rascal Kagami, continue to be twisted and re-defined even further in this volume.

How far will Kagami go in releasing the growing sexual tension between himself and his best friend's lover, Asahina? Will Yusa and Nagai resolve their issue over Nagai's feelings for Yusa? Will there be another train wreck in slow motion? I can answer the latter question, yes and no.

Not only that, we have three new characters introduced. One of them is a ghost from Nagai's past, thanks to another new character: a strange first-year blackmailer-in-the-making at their boys' school. There are at least three threats that could blow Yusa and Asahina's undefined relationship - as well as the friendship among them all - apart. It's down to them to save the 'day'. Can they pull it off? More importantly, has the infamously irresponsible and apathetic Asahina finally grown up?

*fingers in mouth*

I won't go in details about the further adventures of these guys in volume 3 here because I think if I tried, I'll ruin volume 1 and 2 for those who haven't read them yet. So I'll just focus on what I think needs to be said. Volume 3 is a little different here as it's a bit light-hearted, less cynical and dark than previous volumes. Also, it contains more sex scenes than there were before. Even though there is a couple more new storylines, it doesn't feel rushed nor a waste of time. It moves briskly but casually at its own pace, which makes the reading rather pleasant.

Some readers might find the conclusion of the main story somewhat an anti-climax, considering the somewhat complexity of these guys' relationships, but it fits well because it's obvious from the start with volume 1 that the friendship among these three high-school boys seems strong enough to withstand anything, even conflicts among them. I suppose it's not dramatic enough for some readers, but for these guys, it's dramatic enough, which suits me just fine.

When into the second chapter of this volume, I had wondered whether Asahina would ever change as he seems to be still a cranky, indifferent, passive little tosser. When I reached the end, I finally had my answer, which in turn made me finally like him. It's a miracle, considering the fact that I thought he was a bit of a prick last two volumes.

After the main story ends, there are three epilogues that outline these four guys' fates, and an amusing short "one shot" about Asahina's unexpected popularity. The sweetest epilogue belongs to Nagai who has a reunion with a ghost from his past. As for the epilogue of my favourite, the seemingly incurably incorrigible Kagami? Let's put it this way: bloody typical.

There's something different about this volume. For a while, I couldn't quite pinpoint exactly what. I realised that the usual art style has been amended in a way. In other words, the famously inexpressive teacher has more facial expressions. In some cases, prettier, which is kind of a mind blower.

Also, the translation seems different here, too. It seems to flow more easily - or more naturally - than previous volumes. It might be just me, though. Or perhaps, it's less dark than the first two volumes that makes it flow easily? Who knows? Either way, it works well here.

I'm happy that the ending for each character is tied up quite neatly, which itself is a surprise because Takaido tends to leave her endings widely interpretable, just enough for readers to draw conclusions of their own. Well, her tendency still appears in this volume for one certain major side character, but it suits his personality pretty well, which makes his highly interpretable ending fitting.

All in all, I consider Prince Charming one of the most enjoyable three-volume manga I read in a while. It's not for readers who prefer stories that thrive on definitive actions, dramatic speeches, romantic declarations, and the like. You won't find these in this one.

Certainly for readers who enjoy stories that thrive on unpredictability, deadpan humour, reflective angst, mockery, ongoing redefinition of popular concepts about love and relationship, organic relationships (by this, I mean none of that 'me Tarzan, you James' mentality), and, for me especially, Takaido's refusal to follow those popular teacher x student storylines usually found in "yaoi" manga. Each time I thought I figured out how it'd go, I was wrong. I like that.

Highly recommended. <- that's a posh way of saying, "Get it!"

Replies: 1 Comment

I am so jealous. I've been waiting, ever so anxiously, since February to read this volume. My bookstores don't have it in stock yet. And now with your review, I'm about ready to tear my hair out with anticipation!!! I look forward to reading this final installment, and thanks for the review!

Posted by Kris @ 04/26/2008 03:17 PM PST

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