Tennen Pearl Pink Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-59816-775-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Tennen Pearl Pink

Tennen Pearl Pink Vol. #01

By Michelle Ramonetti     April 09, 2008
Release Date: January 09, 2007

Tennen Pearl Pink Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Meca Tanaka
Translated by:Adrienne Beck
Adapted by:Jamie Rich

What They Say
Buckle up and get ready for a bumpy ride down the road to true love!

When the sweet, bubbly, and somewhat clumsy Tamako sets her sights on the ever-so-serious Kanji, it's more than a struggle to get the romance to spark. But the challenge becomes even tougher-Tamako's mom is the top money-maker at the talent agency run by Kanji's dad! Tamako must conceal her identity to protect her mom's secret, but she's determined to become the perfect "pearl-of-a-woman" and nab the man of her dreams . . .

The Review
The front cover image is of Tamako and her pet monkey, Kantaro-tadamune Momono ("Kanta" for short!) on a background of pink mists and pearls. Though this makes the first impression of an extremely girly manga, the first glance also speaks of perky fun. The title font suits this mood, as well.

The back cover provides a volume summary and features Kanta the monkey with a rose. Extras include the author extra "Mecasite COMICS VERSION!" with Pearl Pink character bios, a preview page of Volume 2, and ads for Tokyopop.com, Gyakushu!, Pixie Pop, and Archlord.

For those of us who love our characters drawn as gorgeous as possible, Pearl Pink is pure sugar. Every page packs some kind of visual treat, be it detailed backgrounds, wispy hair, lovely screen tones, round, intense eyes, and more physical beauty than you can shake a stick at. Even Tamako, who spends most of the volume looking more like a boy than a girl, gets an idol's makeover near the end. That might make other series hard to take seriously, but here it works just fine.

SFX/Text:Honorifics are kept and sound effects are left untranslated. As usual, there are limitations to leaving sound effects untranslated, but there are so many brief asides in this manga it almost doesn't matter.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At first glance, Tamako Momono seems like an ordinary girl-strike that-a stick-figured tomboy who acts more like a monkey than a girl. But Tamako's on a mission, and not even being reunited with her pop idol mother will slow her down from claiming Kanji Inui as her ideal man. The operative word is "claiming", because even though the staid and serious Kanji can't remember Tamako at all, Tamako remembers how he promised when they were little, if she grew strong and stopped crying, that he would marry her.

Since pop idols are meant to be pure role models, any discovery that Tamako's mother had a child out of wedlock would tank her career and send Dog Run, the agency run by Kanji's father, into financial ruin. So Kanji gains his "fianceé" as a roommate.

Tamako's grown tough as nails, so she takes the opportunity to seal the deal by climbing on Kanji for piggyback rides, making him giant rice balls for lunch (because Kanji's the domestic one), and beating the living crap out of anyone who makes fun of him. She's definitely no Belldandy or Aoi, and it shows, but her main concern is being able to do for Kanji what he can't do for himself. Trouble is, that list is pretty darn small, yet she keeps trying . . . and driving poor Kanji crazy.

Though Tamako's mother's stage name, Shinju, means "pearl", the name "Pearl Pink" comes from a set of pearls that led to the childhood engagement. For most of this first volume, however, Kanji can't remember Tamako or the events surrounding his promise, so the action is taken up with Tamako's antics and the looming threat of having their makeshift household uprooted.

That focus is significant. Tamako cried constantly ten years ago when she first lost her mother and faced teasing at school for her clumsiness. Since Kanji's promise turned all that around and strengthened her, she wants nothing more than to repay him. But first, she has to learn the hard way that true love starts and endures on an equal footing.

This story is endearing and offers a host of quirky characters, ranging from the irrepressible Shinju, who breaks the taboo of wearing shoes indoors, to Kanji's perverted father, who dresses up in Shinju's costumes, to Raizo, a boy band member who loves to mess with Tamako's head, and to Tamako's grandmother, who first comes off as stern, but turns out to be a softie.

Granted, if there's any noticeable flaw with Pearl Pink so far, it lies with the grandmother's story. In this arc near the end of the volume, when Tamako's grandmother learns of her living situation, we learn that Shinju and the grandmother are "physically incapable of being civil to each other". However, all it takes is some minor stealth and a simple request to make Tamako's grandmother change her mind. Right after, as if the preceding tensions never existed, Shinju and her mother share a tender moment. It's sweet, but anticlimactic.

The emphasis on Tamako's current strength vs. her crybaby past is a bit strange, too. Not that people should wallow in their sorrows or anything, but the litmus test of Tamako's inner strength throughout this volume is how much pain she can endure without crying. To speak from experience as one of the many people who are prone to tears, this judgement seems unfair.

One last nod is due to Kanji's show-biz radar, which he uses to spot the latest trends and potential stars. Once a certain "switch" is flicked, however, Kanji turns into a makeover maniac who can't stop no matter how much the girl kicks and screams! His mature insights compensate for that zany quirk, but it's so fun to watch.

Though I'd recommend Pearl Pink to any fan of romantic, shoujo comedy, I highly recommend it to fans who like a dash of the entertainment industry thrown in, like Full Moon wo Sagashite or Penguin Revolution. Chances are, even those with different tastes will not be disappointed.


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