Manga-ka: Yukari Hashida
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: January 2009
Synopsis: “Brilliant young Eugene has to hit the books both day and night! After all, as an impoverished scholarship student, he’s got to keep his grades high or he’ll get expelled. Too bad he’s attracted the attention of the school’s most sought-after guy…the incredible Prince Willis! Why is a royal hunk obsessed with a scrawny, fussy nerd?”
Tricky Prince started out on a fairly entertaining note. The flamboyant Prince Willis has set his sights on the studious Eugene, spurring him into a determined pursuit of the uninterested scholarship student. Using every mean at his disposable, the Prince continuously find new and more inventive ways to get Eugene’s attention after their unexpected meeting late one night.
I actually have some slivers of hope for this book when I began reading it. Prince Willis’s ignorant and spoiled nature proved amusing, especially in contrast to Eugene, as one event after another led the two to spend time together. A jealous brother and nosy paparazzi added some needed humour and drama to the story and for the first couple of chapters, it looked like this could be a formula that may actually work.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for the story to feel drawn out and flat. The whole book continues the stubborn game of cat and mouse, and while to no surprise Eugene begins cracking in the end, I felt annoyance just reading the book in sympathy for him. Prince Willis’s persistence isn’t cute and it isn’t sweet, it’s invasive and downright irritating. There’s no real connection between the characters and Eugene seems like he’s just another flight-of-fancy for the arrogant Willis. An attempt at some sort of character development regarding Eugene and his sister falls incredibly short near the book’s end, with a resolution that’s so cut, dry and cookie-cutter that it felt like a joke, and by the time the book had gotten to the end with a sexually harassing teacher, I realized how long ago this book’s attempt at humour had failed.
The artwork here in Tricky Prince also didn’t do the book any favours. Characters’ eyes are vacant, at times stylistic consistency is tossed out the window and lines are often so thin and drowned in screen tone that they look half-finished. Character designs aren’t anything to woo over either, with the Prince being one of those people hailed as being beautiful but I can’t see him as anything bt creepy looking, not to mention the professor near the book’s end who’s a prime example of why some boys’ love fans will be forever traumatized at the thought of reading a story with men who actually have body-hair. Occasionally there was some fun physical humour, especially when involving the Prince’s brother, but amusing moments like these are a far-cry from savoirs in a book I otherwise found unattractive.
Unlike some other releases around the same time as this one, Tricky Prince is a DMP release that still has the cover slip so it’ll present to readers the usual packaging. The cover printing is nice, though admittedly I think its just nice treatment of a very bland piece of art, and the printing on the inside is much the same. It does seem a little odd that this would be have a cover slip though, when it doesn’t even have the cute artist bios on the inner flap that makes the cover slips sometimes worth having in the first place. If any book could afford to have some corners cut, I certainly don’t see why it wouldn’t be this one. The entertaining translation work was the strongest feature of this English-language edition, and the book in general, as the specific manner of speech given to the Prince really added to his, albeit annoying, character.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend this book to readers due to its overplayed plot, underdeveloped characters and unappealing artwork. I have to say that after some other far-less-than-impressed encounters with her work, Yukari Hashida tiles are officially on my ‘no thanks’ list when it comes to browsing new titles to pick up. To each their own of course, but Tricky Prince is another example of something that’s just not for me and there’re lots of better titles out there more worth of a reader’s time.