Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sugar Princess vol. 1 by Hisaya Nakajo review

Sugar Princess vol. 1

Author/Artist: Hisaya Nakajo

Publisher: VIZ Media

Rating: A – All Ages

Genre: Shojo, Drama, Comedy, Sports

Grade: A

*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.org/. Check it out! ***

Every once in a while you come across a book that really endearing. For me Sugar Princess is one of those stories.

One day Maya Kurinoki decided to take her little brother to the local ice skating rink. Her little brother had never been ice-skating before so to give him a little confidence she decides to try a double axel. To Maya's surprise she landed the jump, sort of. It so happens that the local ice skating coach witnesses Maya's miraculous jump and scouts her. She was a bit suspicious but shows up at the rink anyway. The coach was indeed serious about being a coach and wanting her to skate. He is looking for a partner for one of his skaters. Shun Kano was a pairs skater at one time but recently he's been a soloist. Of course Shun is a very handsome high school student.

Shun is totally against skating pairs again so the coach decides on his own that Shun will be the one who'll teach Maya the basics. After a few embarrassing moments Maya starts her training, but without a coach because Shun refuses to teach her anything. Luckily some of the other novice skaters at the rink take Maya under their wing and teach her the things that they are also learning. Maya is in for a few surprises. It turns out that Shun attends the high school that is attached to the middle school that Maya goes to. The other surprise is she is able to convince Shun to finally teach her (she wore him down with her enthusiasm and determination). But there are a few storm clouds on the horizon. The owner of the rink falls ill and his son wants to close it because it's not profitable. The other storm is in the form of Reina. She's another skater at the rink and she seems to have a thing for Shun and wants to be his partner. What will Maya do about Reina and what will she be able to do to help save the beloved rink?

The reason why I found this manga to be so endearing is because Maya looks like a cousin of mine and I have a niece who is a figure skater. Combine the two into one character and I couldn't help but fall in love with the story. The characters are well developed and Maya's enthusiasm and innocence helps draw you in. Shun's initial coldness begins to thaw and you do learn why he no longer skates pairs. This is a really fun read. The series consists of two volumes, which are both available. When I finished this volume I immediately wanted to read the second one to find out if they were able to save the rink. I had to wait to read the sequel but it was well worth it. The art is beautiful. Each character is rendered beautifully. You can easily tell them apart, the clothing is beautifully detailed and there are various outfits instead of the usual two or three that some artists have the tendency to do, and the skating scenes are detailed and it really feels like you are watching figure skating. Did I mention it's beautiful?

VIZ made a great choice in bringing a title like Sugar Princess to our shores. It has an all ages rating and I will stand by that. Kids and adults alike can enjoy this title!

***Review Copy provided by VIZ Media***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***

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