Manga-ka: Mikiyo Tsuda
Publisher: DMP Books
Rating: Teen (16+)
Released: August 2007
Synopsis: “The Day of Reckoning has finally come for Mikoto! When his often-mentioned-but-never-seen girlfriend shows up for the school festival, Mikoto flies into a panic. It’s not the love of his life that has him sweating bullets, but someone far more terrifying – his sister! Can Mikoto trust his princess-pals Tohru and Shihoudani to keep the secret of their extracurricular activities from his suspicious sibling?”
Princess Princess volume four continues the school-life adventures of Tohru, Mikoto and Shihoudani. Living in an all boys’ school, the three have been chosen to play the role of princesses, cross-dressing in girl’s clothing to give support and eye candy to the rest of the student populous. Now it’s time for the school festival and Mikoto finds himself living in fear of his girlfriend finding out his secret. Then, from one minor crisis to the next, it seems the shy Akira has a new challenger for the position of student council president.
The story dives right into the middle of the festival, Mikoto begging his fellow princesses to keep his secret and allow him time with his girlfriend. To fans of Mikiyo Tsuda who follow her other stories, this is an awaited moment where her previous work, The Day of Revolution, crosses over with Princess Princess with the introduction of Mikoto’s girlfriend, Megumi and his interfering sister, Makoto. These awkward moments offer some amusing situations and entertaining interactions. To help readers keep straight everything that’s going on, including crossover information, the artist has also included self-explaining pages starring her personal avatar.
In attempts to keep the story fresh there’s the addition of a new character. Enter the new transfer student, an attractive and intimidating business heir who’s out to claim the student council president position for his own. He brings about a nice twist to the story, particularly as an unbiased outside voice who views this school and its strange attributes, such as its collection of effeminate students and the sheepish Akira who seems to have the entire school at his feet.
Nice additional features in this book include a special bonus chapter showing the daily lives of the princesses and some amusing stories staring the artist and her friends. While the latter may not appeal to casual readers of the story, it’s an entertaining read for Mikiyo Tsuda followers.
Mikiyo Tsuda’s artwork continues to impress. It manages to stay very sharp and clean while still being fairly detail heavy. Particular note for this goes to the excellent work on the clothing, both in design and realistic appearance with folds and creases. The consistency and natural flow of the artwork and panels gives it a very professional feeling and it’s evident that this is the work of a seasoned manga artist.
While Mikiyo Tsuda’s art is very attractive, the undeniable fact that readers will need to wade through pages and pages of text just to view it can often make the book feel like a chore to read. Though text-heavy pages are necessary for plot intensive moments in any story, this book takes it too far at times and doesn’t offer enough interesting or informative knowledge to have the excess wordiness excusable. Fans of Princess Princess will enjoy this as a continuation of the story but they may not find it as charming as previous releases.