Written by Kimura Noboru and Illustrated by Ken-etsu
Published in the U.S. by TokyoPop
Slugline: Whose brilliant idea was it to have distraught schoolgirls battle each other and have 'children'?
This is one of those manga that at first glance seems relatively, but when you start really taking it apart it starts mildly creeping you out. The two female leads, Mai and Natsuki, are driven by duties to others. Because of these duties they create mystical creatures called children with the main male lead Yuuichi, and even though they do not like him, their try to focus on their child. They are called princesses (the English translation of hime) and they are both protected and isolated, made to serve others. And in the process of doing so, they are revealed to the male eye in tons of fanservice. I've never formally studied feminist theory, and my thought processes do not usually turn to it, but this work I suspect revealed far more about what the expected Japanese roles for women and gender relationships than the creators intended.
And to show how bad I am at feminist theory, I am now going to put it all aside, and try to talk just about the manga as presented.
The story is basically about an Academy that is under attack by entities called Orphans, and school students called Hime use their psychic abilities to defend the school, with the story revolving two of the Hime and the new male transfer student who is a Key that helps the Hime create Childs, psychic creations that boost the Himes' abilities. Okay, one of the non-lead female students says to the male student "Please, open my keyhole..."
Okay, the art at times is a little confusing, with lots of fan service and the plot is, well, thin. Painfully so and unrealistic even by manga standards. I find that there are some good character touches and moments that rang true, for instance, real sexual tension in this sort of highly charged environment must have considering the sort of relationships that exist between Himes and Keys. I haven't watched the anime that this is based on, so if you really liked it, this is supposedly a re-imagination of aspects of the original story and you may want to read it because of that. Otherwise this is just something to looked at, experienced on a surface level if you like fan service and pseudo-sexual imagery, but otherwise, eh, not enjoying it.