Crimson Heart Prince manga volumes 1 – 6

27 01 2010

Good evening!  It is I, Laserwolf, to tell you tales of a manga featuring demons and angels and high school students.  Also featuring: lots of romance!  But is it worth reading?

Title: Kurenai Ouji (紅心王子・くれないおうじ) “Crimson Heart Prince”

Author/artist: Souta Kuwahara (桑原草太)

Genre: supernatural, school, romance

Number of volumes: 6 (ongoing)

Availability: Published in Japanese by Gangan Comics.

Website (Japanese): http://gangan.square-enix.co.jp/kurenaiouji/

This site is really great!  Bottom of the page has a free wallpaper.  Also, click on the link above demon Koujirou’s head (it says 第1話を読む!  ClicK!) and it will take you to a site where you can preview pages of the first volume.  Click on the olive green or blue button to view the manga (two different viewers are available).  The manga is in Japanese.

Summary:

Koujirou Sakura is prince of demons.  He grew up being the center of attention because of his brains and good looks.  One day, he is given an assignment – to go to the human world, find his “Target”, and take the Target’s soul.  As the demon prince, he has a special power called “Kurenai” which has not yet awakened and is difficult to understand.  The mission of taking the Target’s soul is somehow related to Kurenai.  In order to be inconspicuous, he disguises his red hair, red eyes, horns, and wings, and makes himself look like an a human.  His alibi is that he is a foreign exchange student.

Koujirou is a little too cocky on his first day in the human world, thinking surely nothing could go wrong, when a stray baseball hits him in the head and knocks him out.  He wakes up inside the house of Hana Koumeda, whose family owns a candy shop that the neighborhood children frequent.  She says she’s sorry and he stays for dinner.  When Koujirou later goes to sign up for his dormitory, he finds that he’s come after the deadline, and he has nowhere to stay.  After a night of sleeping outdoors, he attends his first day of human high school only to find Hana in the seat next to him!  Her house has many extra rooms, so with her grandmother’s permission, Koujirou is allowed to live with them, as long as he agrees to help out around the house and candy store.  Soon Koujirou realizes that his Target is actually Hana.  Why Hana?  How is Hana related to Kurenai?  Koujirou decides not to take her soul because he wants to learn more (and maybe a little because he likes her).

Gradually Koujirou adjusts to his life in the human world.  A surprising number of non-humans become students of his school – Issa Shirogane (werewolf), Mitsuki Arisugawa (angel), and Meiji Kuraku (death god) – are they his friends or enemies?

Extra features of this manga:

There really aren’t many extras.  At the end of the first volume there is a special chapter of an earlier version of Kurenai Ouji which is interesting to read but completely unrelated to the current storyline.  Other than that, there are usually a couple of pages of extras at the end of each volume.  One volume included some rough character sketches while most have a short comic.  The pictures under the outside covers are cute but not extravagant.

My honest opinion:

The thing that struck me about this manga right away was the incredible cuteness of it.  From the rainbow-bright covers to the lovely characters, everything is wonderful.  Let’s be honest, the whole premise of the series is outlandish and obviously has absolutely nothing to do with Biblical angels and demons – but it is still interesting and well-written.  I am not sure if boys would like it so much, but I think most girls will like it.

The only thing about the series that makes me enjoy it less is that there seem to be new characters popping up all the time.  It’s sometimes hard for me to care about what happens to them because I don’t know anything about them or why they are even in the story.  I just keep hoping there will be a good reason.

My rating: 4/5

Why should you read it?  (I hope I have already shown you why above!)

The best part of the series by far is the thought put into the character’s back stories and dialogue.  Even though Hana has had one of the worst times growing up, she always puts a bright face on everything and thinks of other people over herself.  Koujirou and Issa, while a demon and werewolf, are not bad guys.  And although a demon is the main character, the series doesn’t put angels in a negative light, either.  My favorite volume was the fourth one, because of the romantic beginning and because most of it centered on Issa’s story.  I like that even though Koujirou and Hana are the main characters, the story shows details of the other characters’ lives as well.

Hana is one of the most amazing characters ever, and the biggest reason why I like Kurenai Ouji.  Her parents got in an accident when she was a child, and she doesn’t talk about them very much, but she visits her mother in the hospital occasionally.  She has lived alone with her grandmother for most of her life, and now her grandmother also often has to stay at the hospital for days at a time.  Because her grandmother is not always around, she has to cook and clean and mind the family candy store.  When Koujirou comes along, he is amazed at her ability to smile and accept her life for what it is.  Once he starts living there, it’s easy to be happy for Hana because she has someone else in her life who can be there for her and make her not feel so alone.  Sometimes they have miscommunications, but Hana and Koujirou grow very close.  The biggest problem may be that she doesn’t know he is a demon.  I’m still waiting to see if he will tell her.  He is still slowly realizing how he feels about her.

Another reason I love the series is because it has a plot that goes somewhere!  What is Kurenai and how is it related to Hana?  Why is Kurenai so special?  If you read it, you will find out.

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