Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sugar Princess: Skating to Win, vol. 1

Story and Art by Hisaya Nakajo
Released in the US by Viz Shojo Beat

Slugline: How to make what is basically a sports manga a shoujo, make it about skating!

Maya is at the local skating rink with her younger brother after winning a free trip there when in a fit of energy she launches herself into a spinning jump, which she doesn't land but still manages to do well enough to attract the attention of a professional coach. He's hoping to train her and pair her with his star, Shun. Maya appreciates Shun's form and grace, but Shun has very little desire to do pairs skating anymore, after the loss of his last partner. Maya takes to training, under Shun's reluctant guidance and works hard to be his equal in grace and style, but the potential closing of the skating rink that they practice at throw a wrench into her plans.

This is like a lot of other sport stories, they tend to be either underdogs who manage to win, or newbies whom everyone underestimates and manage to succeed. Notice there is a very fine line between the two, but right now the story is about a newbie, though it looks like that it is all going to be about the underdog. But it is still very much a shoujo, with the blending of the sport/shoujo aspects working better than I thought. Shonen sports is sort of the default, but the inherent grace of ice skating and the shoujo pretty boy aspects work together. It still has all the shoujo genre trappings, but adding the sport elements makes it somewhat more interesting.

Sugar Princess: Skating to Win, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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