REVIEW: Prunus Girl

Title: PRUNUS GIRL

Author / Artist: MATSUMOTO Tomoki

Status: Complete (6 volumes)

Genre/s: Comedy, gender bender, romance, school life

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MY OPINION:

Today was a bad manga day. There are only two days left of my summer holiday and I wanted to make the most of the free time and read a bunch of stuff. Yesterday was ok; I started Slam Dunk and another manga called Banana bread no pudding that I might make a review about. Anyway, so today I was in the mood for something short and not very profound, so I picked up some one-shots. After reading Complex Love my mood became grim, but as I was lurking through the manga-updates forums in search of a good recommendation, somebody mentioned Prunus girl. I thought “great, let’s have a doses of gender bender” and started reading it. Anybody who had walked into my room after two chapters would have seen a black aura in the corner of my bed as I muttered how I hated the world (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here).

The main character, Maki, meets a girl while he’s off to look at his school marks. The first day of school however, the girl he met turns out to be a student from his class and she also claims to be a boy, despite him wearing the girl’s uniform. So then they become friends and stuff happens.

As a genderqueer, I found Prunus girl very disturbing. There were comments in there that offended me and it seems like the whole manga revolved around her being a girl or a boy. Nearly every five pages Aikawa-san has to say “do you think I’m male or female?”, and the next four pages revolve around what Maki-kun thinks she might be. What I like about the gender-bender genre is that the characters blur the lines between the different sexes and genders and make great pink and blue pies that nobody would understand unless they were reading the manga themselves. I don’t like stereotypes. I don’t like having to hear “boys do this”, or “all I can see is a girl”, or “you must be a boy because you said this or that”. And there was too much of that in this manga.

But as a non-sentimental manga gobbling monster, I think the story itself could have led to some funny situations and the art was ok too (not great, but ok). Still I had to leave it. If you couldn’t care less about stereotypes or have a binary way of thinking, I think this manga can be enjoyable, but if not I think there are better gender-bender manga out there (like Ouran high school Host Club!).

 

Average rating from Manga-updates: 8.3 / 10

My rating: 5 / 10

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My opinion on the big three

After watching this video:

I decided to give my own opinion on the big three. I don’t have an equal knowledge of the three series, but I think I know enough to be able to comment them. I have read the whole Naruto manga series up to volume 63 (the last published in Spain) and have seen one or two episodes of the anime. I have read up to volume 45 of Bleach and have also seen a few episodes. I have read the first five volumes of One Piece and some others from the middle of the series, but I have watched many episodes of the anime.

First things first: the manga of both Bleach and Naruto are WAY better than their anime. I was nearly bored to death with the episodes I have watched of Naruto, because not only was there too much unnecessary filler, but the art wasn’t that good either. And don’t get me started on the Bleach anime.
Naruto was the second manga I ever read, and therefore has a homely feeling. I will never give up Naruto. It has taught me how to be strong (mentally) and I got through three years of bullying thanks to Masashi Kishimoto. Plus it has great quotes that you can use in philosophy classes… I love nearly all the characters, girls included (I don’t tend to like manga/anime girls) and I feel like whatever happens to them happens to me. Anyway, Naruto is a great manga that has marked my life a lot. Some say that it is getting boring, but they are usually the ones who read it on the internet, where the quality is inferior to the original.

Bleach was the third series I started collecting, and it also has a nice feeling to it. I can spend a very long time staring at one image because it’s beautifully drawn. The characters are nice and the plot is interesting, but then, they’ve been going on with the same thing for ages and I think it’s time to discover a new enemy (or finish). Regarding One Piece, I didn’t really ever get addicted to it and actually don’t even have a single manga at home of the series. Not that I find it to be bad or anything, but for some reason it just doesn’t give me the “I love reading manga” feeling. However, One Piece merchandising is great. Luffy figurines are much better than any Bleach ones I’ve ever found, and all my manga/anime T-shirts are either from Death Note or One Piece.

In all three cases I think the fan base ruins the manga. It’s not a good idea to turn to the internet when starting to read them, otherwise you will probably end up hating the series. Plus, people have already told me a great amount of spoilers that I would have preferred not to know.

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So who are you anyway?

I grew up as a happy child in a (big) house in a corner of the world, but I was soon ripped away from my freedom and was placed in a Catalan school, countries away from my previous home. My younger sibling was too small to notice this change and my older sister quickly adapted to her new life. However, I became rather unsocial and dedicated my free time to scribbling on a piece of paper and claiming I was going to be an artist. By age ten I already spoke English, Spanish and Catalan and became obsessed with manga. My master drawing skills were directed towards drawing long-legged big-headed figures on all my homework papers. This didn’t last long, since my innocence was also taken away from me when I started high school and became the main target of laughs, insults and other kinds of humiliation. I became too shy to show my pictures to people, so they were quietly hidden away in my cupboard. My parents tried hard to upgrade my self-confidence, and signed me up for drawing classes and painting classes. I went through many stages and fazes, but it was only when my personal bullies eventually left the school that I could make use of the effort I had put into my self-defence and start caring about myself. My interest in Japan grew greatly and I took up manga and Japanese classes. I also started teaching English to a little kid and learnt to cook.

At college I was great enough to attract the attention of a new group of bullies, but by that time my ego was so big that it could difficultly be popped with a few swearwords and rude fingers being pointed at me. I became aware of my queerness. I started to like cosplay. I won a writing contest and appeared in the school magazine more than once. I fell in love with a non-existent girl. I lost some friends. I made double the amount of new ones. I decided to start a blog. And here I am today. I’m probably avoiding studying for an exam to share with you some silly little picture or observation from my day-to-day life.

Me before my mum made me cut my hair.

Me before my mum made me cut my hair.

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