Highlights from Petite Princess Issue 2/2015
Petite Princess is a bi-monthly publication that contains both series and oneshots. The content generally straddles the line between shoujo and josei, with a couple of very young skewing shoujos and usually 2 or 3 smutty selections. The stories are generally high school, college, and young office lady romances with no fantasy elements, except for the occasional talking animal. Petite Princess is small format and the page count is typically around 800 pages. There are extra oneshot collections packed in once in a while, usually during seasonal transitions. The publication comes out on the 16th of every even month.
A series call “Cafe” is on the cover of this current issue of Petite Princess. It’s an episodic series about love stories that center around a cafe.
Here are the selections I read from this issue.
“Bishounen” (Bishounen_Tweets) — moderate shoujo smut
Summary — Natsume is a boy who is prettier than most girls. Since childhood, he’s dressed as a girl. When they were children, Natsume said his best friend, Hinata, was “normal” which affected her for the rest of life. Although they are best friends, Hinata is terribly jealous of Natsume’s beauty to point where it’s starting to poison her heart. Things start to unravel between the two when Natsume starts working at hostess bar. Consumed with jealously and self-loathing, Hinata forgot that Natume is still a guy.
Commentary — The premise of the story is solid, but the mangaka does nothing with it at the end. We don’t know why Natsume cross-dresses and given that Hinata had no problem returning Natsume’s kiss while he was in female dress in the infirmary, why would Natsume need to appear in male dress to have sex with Hinata? it’s like the mangaka missed the entire point of her oneshot. It wasn’t about Natsume’s cross-dressing, it was about Hinata not feeling pretty and sexually desirable to Natsume. In the story, it was important to Hinata for Natsume not to see her without make-up or to see her make-up run when she was in tears.
Mini-Review — As I said in the commentary, despite a solid premise, the story falls apart in the end. Hinata and Natsume are interesting characters. Despite dressing as a female, I always felt that Natsume was guy and Hinata’s insecurity about her appearance was very relateable. The character designs are very similar to Kaoru Ichinose’s. The faces are beautiful and a lot attention is given to the characters’ hair and clothing. The infirmary scene was pretty amazing. It’s too bad that turd of an ending was attached to an otherwise compelling story. 始めはよかったですが。。。
“Haruiro Stalker” (Haruiro_Stalker_Tweets) — clean
Summary — Pretty-boy Momose’s vapid girlfriends all breakup with him after they discover he has stalker. However, one day, after getting fed up with the stalking, Momose asks his stalker on a date so she can get to know the real him, instead of the fantasy guy she photographs.
Mini-Review — The artwork is nice and the story is lots of fun while being incredibly poignant. There’s a nice twist on the end that caps this overall very well done oneshot. お疲れ様でした！！！
“Unbalanced Love Heel” (Unbalanced_Love_Heel_Tweets) — josei where presence of underwear cannot be confirmed. It’s suggestive, but technically clean.
Summary — Ayano discovers fantastic heels and incredible service at a high-end shoe boutique.
Mini-Review — As always, Ai Kurimi shows she understands women’s clothing fetishes, and she creates a self-insert character that manages not to be bland. This was a short and elegantly executed story about shoes and the giving and receiving of care and attention. I like how Ayano is first satisfied by how special her first purchase of fantastic shoes makes her feel before the romance comes. The shoe drawings are sumptuous, and, as usual, Kurimi’s main character is curvy and cute. This is truly a feel good oneshot. 栗実先生、よくできました！
“Colors” (Colors_Tweets) — josei with adult situations, but no bare breasts.
Summary — At 16, Arisu dreamed of the go-go high-fashion life of Shinjuku. After deciding between a new skirt or food, Arisu takes a job as a hostess at a hostess bar, which leads to 10 more years of extended childhood and a meaningless affair with her boss.
Mini-Review — Foremost, the Japanese in this oneshot is nice to read. The oneshot is sprinkled with narration that reads like poetry with simple and lovely illustrations to go along with the words. Arisu could have been played off as a vapid materialistic girl, but her “gentle cynicism” about the world and her place in it, makeｓher very relateable and likeable. A lot of us have been where she is; stuck at the border of childhood and adulthood, with a bright future right in front of our eyes that we are unable to see. I like Ooshima’s sketchy flowy drawing style. It and the lovely language take the sting of what could have been a very acidic josei cautionary tale. 麗しいでした！
Here are some of the color frontis pages from the publication.
Here is the index with the complete list of works in the issue.
Here are the previews for the Petite Princess 4/2015 which releases in Japan on February 16th.