Yuri Manga: prism

January 23rd, 2013

Show Higashiyama’s prism was a perfect example,  I thought, of a manga series about which my opinion changed over time. A re-read of Volume 1 helped me realize that my opinion changed because the story itself changed.

I remember reading the first chapter in Tsubomi and being wholly unimpressed. Megumi’s first love was with a boy she met one summer when she was young. She and Hikaru shared their first kiss. Now she’s met him again for the first time in years and it turns out that he’s a she. Hikaru is still in love with Megumi. After a while, Megumi gets over her reluctance for being in love with another girl.

Their relationship consists of stolen kisses and increasing intimacy, which would all be very realistic, if Higashiyama wasn’t portraying everything like he was drawing a porn doujinshi. As I read this volume, I remembered why I had been reluctant to say I liked this series for so long. It’s not until it gets into later chapters that it becomes less creepy and more honestly uncomfortable-making.

However, this may be moot, as Volume 2 may or may not ever be forthcoming. This series was put on hiatus and this volume pulled from stores after a plagiarizing scandal. (In which I unusually find myself on the side of the artist.) This is a damn shame as it was later chapters in which this story started to be really worth following. And now that Tsubomi has gone to digital, (updating mostly manga we never cared about) we may never see any more of it. So, unless you were collecting Tsubomi and unless they bring back prism, your best bet is used manga bookstores, or 3rd party sellers.


Art – 8
Story – Starts at 6, but climbs steadily
Characters – 7, they get better in later chapters
Yuri – 10
Service – 7

Overall – 8

I’ll hope that in some future date we’ll  get the gay-bashing chapter in a collection because that was when this series went from “okay” to “absolutely worth following.”

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6 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    “…portraying everything like he was drawing a porn doujinshi.”

    Now that is interesting. I agree but in my small opinion I would say it is more with the choice of images.

    What in the composition that brings you to that conclusion?

    Problem is when I see Show’s art I expect creepier stuff than what is in prism so the effect is numbed. ^^;

  2. Hatou says:

    I, too, was not impressed by prism at first, but grew to like it as the series went on. Last I checked, which was around the start of the year, the Tsutaya bookstore in Shibuya restocked with a few copies of Prism in their Yuri corner.

    “…portraying everything like he was drawing a porn doujinshi.”
    He started with, and is still drawing porn after all.

    On a related note, if you look at Houbunsha’s order form online, they have indicated which of the books sold well, and are thus recommended. It’s not a definite indicator of a how much a series sold though it should provide a feel of how it is doing (it’s worded as “sold well and recommended”). Unfortunately, none of Tsubomi’s volumes or manga were marked as such, save for Hoshikawa Ginza Yonchoume.

    Prism was not listed at all, so I think Houbunsha wants to pretend that it never existed and the chances of seeing a second volume or any continuation will be very low. Houbunsha’s stand is rather unfortunate. I believe Higashiyama’s loli porn manga with another publisher was not pulled despite the scandal. Houbunsha, on the other hand, issued an apology and pulled the series immediately. If memory serves, Prism did very well on the Amazon rankings for a while until stocks ran out but whether or not it was after the scandal broke, I do not recall.

    Outside of Tsubomi, however, it seems Sakura Trick (桜Trick) did well enough to warrant a recommendation so I’m rather glad. I’m not sure if you’ve read it or if it will even be to your liking. Sakura Trick is a 4-koma Yuri manga. No, not like K-ON! or A-channel. This one is actually Yuri, has kisses and is centered around the two female lead’s relationship after they hook up in the first chapter.

    The order form can be found here, if you want to take a look: http://houbunsha.co.jp/patron/pdf/201302_ordersheet_mangatimeKR.pdf

    I’m still adjusting to the fact that we no longer have bi-monthly Tsubomi releases. I’m too used to timing my Amazon Japan orders to Yuri Hime and Tsubomi release dates. BTW, actually Yuri Hime has been doing very well in Amazon rankings for quite some time. I think it was since YuruYuri started airing. The first volume that came out after YuruYuri’s air date actually sold so well they had to do a second print run when it sold out everywhere, to which the editor jokingly (or not?) said on twitter that they were in the red because of this second print. The big YuruYuri goods giveaway might have had something to do with it though.

    My apologies for writing such a long comment, rife with content that are only slightly (or even not at all) related to the the post. I have a bad habit of rambling on…

  3. @Mara – The saliva strings, the angles at which we are look at their bodies, and some other tropes of porn.

    @Anonymous – Yes, I agree that Hobunsha is basically dealing with this as hear no evil, see no evil. I’m guessing that there was some editorial shakedown involved as well.

  4. @Anonymous – I won’t be reviewing Sakura Trick. If you’re interested in doing so, contact me.

    The biggest problem with Amazon rankings is that they skew strongly towards LFB-focused material. So yes, there are many series that “top sellers” that I have no intention of reviewing. ^_^

  5. Zirno says:

    >…after a plagiarizing scandal
    Could you elaborate this? The reason for this Hiatus of this Manga is new for me and I wish to know more about it.

    >…portraying everything like he was drawing a porn doujinshi
    You are right: A leopard cannot change its spots. But at least his porn is not inherently sexist and filled to the edge with the usual ugly story-tropes of japanese pornography, imo.

    >What in the composition that brings you to that conclusion?
    For me it lies in the aesthetic difference between sensual and non-sensual scenes and parts of the story. Almost every sensual part of this manga is drawn detailed, close, somewhat semi-clean but gooy and most-importantly: suddenly lustful. In contrast the other scenes are more plain, simple and calm or lighthearted comical. In other words: Show shows more artistic afford in his sensual scenes.

  6. @Zirno – http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1061841 for details of the plagiarism issue

    You say, ” A leopard cannot change its spots.”

    In this case, the leopard did change his spots. Later chapters were significant less like doujinshi art-wise and more substantive in content. This is why many people would like to see the later chapters in print.

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