In the last year, Enjoji Maki finally broke into the American manga scene with Hapi Mari?! (Happy Marriage?!). Other than a difficult “official” translation (I prefer the fan-translations I’ve found), I don’t care for the story. At all.
I don’t think I’ll ever purchase Happy Marriage?!, but if publishers ever put to print Private Prince, I’d buy it in hardcover.
Why Private Prince? The story of a woman catching the eye of a prince and falling in love isn’t groundbreaking in the romance genre. But this one is entertaining, and so much fun!! The main character is a great heroine, and the love-interest, with his faults, isn’t too bad himself.
Graduate-student Sakuragawa Miyako is stubborn, intelligent, and driven to be the best in her field. Juggling part-time jobs and school is trying on her health, but without the blessing of her mother, she’s on her own. Miyako’s history dissertation is on Princess Ritsuko, a Japanese noblewoman who fell in love with a prince and traveled to his kingdom, Estolia. She knows everything about the princess, but she needs primary resources: records or diaries, to put into her thesis.
What luck! The great-grandson of Princess Ritsuko, Prince Wilfred, has started his studies at her university. Miyako has no way of approaching the courteous prince with the hordes of admirers surrounding him at school. Finally, connections through her best friend Chiri’s father gives her a chance to meet him at a fancy function. No posse of admirers to get in the way!
Upon meeting, the handsome gentleman isn’t what his reputation precedes him to be. He mistakes her advances as an attempt to get laid (primarily due to the dress Chiri convinced her to wear), resulting in a less-than-positive first impression. Turns out the ethereal prince has a breast fetish! And the dress she wore showed off her’s with little need for imagination.
Miyako’s world is turned upside down. Will finds her fascinating because she has little interest in him, just his great-grandmother. He asks her to be his friend, since he doesn’t have any in Japan (and he needs to dispel his boredom, the jerk). Like a child, he agrees to give her access to the diaries once she falls in love with him. (Honestly, I’ve never understood this trope in manga. Shouldn’t that be the objective after you’ve fallen in love the person?)
Chaos ensues! The spoiled prince acts without thinking a lot, resulting in many unfortunate situations for Miyako. All she wants to do it study!
The series is not without problems. Miyako is not a ‘normal woman,’ being into her research and unaffected by handsome guys advances. When she doesn’t give the expected attention to Will, she’s reprimanded. Will pushes her even when she says ‘no’ clearly, and at the beginning of the relationship, he has no regard to how she feels about the situation.
Overall, the series is great. Five volumes of character growth. If the series was any shorter, the relationship of Miyako and Prince Will would’ve seemed forced and illogical. The problems I listed before are ironed out in a way by the end, something that wouldn’t happen in a one shot. They each rub off on each other in all the right ways, becoming better people from their being together.
I’ve found this series published in Spain–seriously considering buying it from there! I’d really like it to be enjoyed by other people in the USA, though. It’s only a decade old. That’s not too much to ask, right?
What’s a series you’d love to buy in your language that doesn’t exist yet? I’d love to hear!
As an avid reader of manga scans, I click through the fan-translated manga pretty quick. Many times, I don’t recall the name of the manga once I click on a new page. Or the characters’ names. Or the plot.
Other times, though, there is a series that captures my attention that I keep going back to.