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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/28/2006 Archived Entry: "Manga reviews: Princess Princess and The Day of Revolution"

Princess Princess
By Mikiyo Tsuda

Day of the Revolution
By Mikiyo Tsuda
Published by Digital Manga Publishing

Review by Ginger Mayerson

Up until this morning, I wasn't going to review either of these titles because I felt they were inherently misogynistic and I had not idea how to give that a positive spin. Then the other evening I was rambling on and on about this very subject - how much I love Digital Manga, but not these titles, and why - when I looked up at my dinner companions who were staring at me with those hackneyed "What-in-God's-name-are-you-talking-about?" looks unenlightened people get when I discuss important cultural issues above a whisper. Poor lambs. But in the process of shocking innocent bystanders at dinner (heh heh heh), I adjusted my position on these manga and have decided they're not as misogynistic as I originally thought; nobody goes un-mocked in these manga. Most impressive.

So it really pays to ramble about this stuff in public in LA. Especially at cultural events, and I have recently added to my fascinating patter quoting from T.S. Eliot à la Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now," which causes most people to find something somewhere else to do very quickly. And I'm here to tell ya, it just doesn't get any better than than then the hipsters run from you at art openings.

Anyway...

"Let us go then, you and I,/ "When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table; ... Oh, do not ask, What is it? / Let us go and make our visit."

In both Princess Princess and The Day of the Revolution, vol 1, it's what, more than where the boys are:

Princess Princess - boys are stupid
The Day of the Revolution, vol 1 - boys are scary

"In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo."

Of course in the elite boys school, there are no women to come and go, so they have to manufacture some. And not just any double Xes, they have manufacture some Princesses to worship. They do this by choosing, and then bribing with money and gifts, three pretty, effeminate boys to dress up and act as girls at special school events. Sort of a cross-dressing cheerleader squad, but with the Gothic Lolita look, French maid costumes, and hot nurse costumes. Don't look at me like that, I could never make this up. It gets a little odder, because the Princesses use "charisma" to keep the other boys at bay. They smile and charm and create a magic circle around them. Otherwise I could see this manga ending up as a cross between prison porn and "Some Like it Hot," which would even give me nightmares.

Are boys really so stupid they need even fake women to worship? I wonder. I remember reading that amazing class warfare manifesto by Napoleon Hill, "Think and Grow Rich," and he has a whole chapter on the Mystery of Sex Transmutation (I think that's what it was called) and the thesis of that chapter is that everything MEN do to succeed (and grow rich) is to impress WOMEN (so they can get laid [and keep the species going]). (And this is not the weirdest chapter in that book, but this is not about that book, is it?) So, if we decide to believe this, MEN would still be living in the trees if WOMEN didn't need mink coats, diamonds and other such necessities. Of course this would make Lorelei Lee God, which isn't such wacky an idea now that I'm thinking about it. So, by this line of reasoning, it's not that far out that the boys at whatever all boys school this is would need female idols to inspire them to athletic victory and academic success. One could even posit that without feminine charm and romantic love there's nothing left for anyone but chaos, darkness, and endless re-enactments of "Lord of the Flies."

So, obviously, in the interest of civilization and evolution, girly girls are going to have to keep working their charms on boys. Good thing boys are stupid, eh?

"There will be time, there will be time/ To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;"

Are boys scary? Is gender re-assignment funny? Is Elvis really dead? In The Day of the Revolution, vol 1, our hero, Kei, discovers, after fifteen years of living as a boy, he is hormonally (or something) female, and foolishly decides, for some pretty specious reasons, to switch over and live as girl named Megumi. He, now she goes back to his, now her old school, and all his, now her old pals fall in love with him, now her, but the idea of having sex with a guy is really scary and he, now she becomes a lesbian. And it all makes about this much sense. Okay, fine.

I think the most important thing about this manga are the drawings of skinny girls wearing sailor suits with pleated skirts cut just this side of wonder. I call this the schoolgirl as sextoy look. The big gender-bending twisteroo in this story is that the schoolgirl sextoy was once a schoolboy. Wow, or something.

I will say that both Princess Princess and The Day of the Revolution, vol 1 mange to treat everyone, including the reader, with equal contempt. This... impressed me. I found the art overwrought and lurid, but I prefer to be treated with contempt in a more minimalist fashion. I'm funny that way.

"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

...hey ...where's everybody go?

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