365 Days of Manga, Day 350: Crown


CROWN • Shinji Wada (story), You Higuri (art) • Go! Comi • 16+ (language, violence, brief partial nudity, mild sexual situations)
International elite mercenary Ren leaves his job to go to Japan, dragging along his more prim and proper friend Jake. His mission? To protect his long-lost “little sister” (actually cousin) Mahiro, a perpetually plucky orphan who’s unaware that she and Ren are the true heirs to the throne of the tiny kingdom of Regalia. Ren rescues Mahiro from her lame adoptive family, shower her with gifts, and help her with her math homework. But the unlawful, evil queen of Regalia sends hordes of assassins and mercenaries to kill her. Good thing that sweet, carefree Mahiro is protected not only by the magic crown jewel of Regalia, but also by Ren and Jake’s brutal black ops skills! The story of a poor girl who suddenly discovers that she’s a fabulously wealthy princess, Crown feels sort of like a Roald Dahl or Harry Potter book, except that instead of “magic” the heroes’ special power is sniping and setting explosives. It’s a collaboration between You Higuri, who brings to the mix her usual polished, detailed backgrounds and dreamy guys, and Shinji Wada, a 1970s male mangaka best known for the Sukeban Deka (“Delinquent Girl Detective”) series. Unlike in Sukeban Deka, though, here it’s the guys who are the tough ones, although Mahiro shares their blasé attitude towards all the violence. As a series for young-ish readers, it’s pretty cute, although the carnage and killing grants it a 16+ age rating. (This review was originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
** (two stars)