It's a new year and a new set of fabulous princesses! Shihodani, Mikoto, and Tohru mentor in the next crop of cross-dressing wonders.
Writer/Artist: Mikiyo Tsuda
What They Say
Ex-princess Matsuoka and Izumi have been chosen from all of their classmates to dance as princesses. However, due to differences in values, conflict rises between the pair! Now that the ex-princesses are being pulled back into the mix, can they dismiss their conflicts and allow a new chapter to begin?
The art is this is clean and detailed, although backgrounds tend to be sparse - simple screen tone or nothing at all in most cases, with full backgrounds showing up infreqently. I find myself really enjoying Mikiyo Tsuda’s art – it’s very clean, but dynamic as well, and she clearly puts a lot of love into the costume design for each princess, and the care really shows.
I have no real complaints about the book itself. The print quality is good, the paper quality could use some work, and the translation is better than many that DMP has released. Like all the other Doki Doki books I've seen, this is released in a smaller trim size than the original Princess Princess series which is disappointing for those who like things to line up nicely on a shelf, and doesn't include a dust jacket. Keeping with the original series, sound effects are translated next to the original effect, in fonts that closely match the original.
It's a new school year, and our heroes (or would that be heroines?) from the original series are off the hook at last, but tradition is tradition, and new princesses must be chosen! The two lucky boys couldn't possibly be more different, which sets off a comedy, or possibly tragedy, of errors, refereed by Shihodani, Mikoto, and Tohru as they try to mentor Izumi and Matsuoka on their new responsibilities.
Izumi is the rich boy, living a life of privilege and luxury that includes even being driven to school. Matsuoka is a poor orphan, making do with the help of his siblings as best they can, and making the sacrifices that their circumstances force on them. He doesn't understand Izumi's loneliness, or the danger his life is in, and Izumi's innate innocence means that he manages to hurt Matsuoka with his thoughtlessness and naive innocence.
Can the two manage to find a way to bridge the gap between themselves and become friends? Will they at least figure out a way to get along? And, more importantly, will they master the Princess Smile before the entrance ceremony?
Surprisingly, there's less comedy in this than in the previous series, and most of what is there revolves around the three previous princesses, who manage to steal pretty much every scene they're in. The rather complex relationship between Matsuoka and Izumi is really well illustrated - there's a distinct connection between whatever Izumi's latest thoughtless statement and Matsuoka's defensive reactions leaving the reader with no doubt about what triggered the latest development between the two. While I didn't enjoy this as much as the original series, there's still a lot to love, and Tsuda is certainly a master of bizarre interpersonal relationships. If you liked the original series, pick this one up - it's definitely worth it if you're already a fan, but if you're not then there's not likely anything new here to pull you in.