Daydream Sanctuary Features

Friday, May 6, 2011

[101 Manga in 2011] Lapis Lazuli no Oukan - "My Goal is... TO SEDUCE the Prince!"

Lapis Lazuli Crown
By Kawase Natsuna
Mieru: I want to seduce the crown prince....
Sara: That won't be anywhere near possible if you can't even get into the palace. So enhance your magic skills for you to become a palace magician like me.
Mieru: I'm trying, big sis, but... *destroys something*... looks like my magic sucks that bad. *depressed*
Sara: All you've got is that inhumane strength of yours.
Mieru: Whatever!!!!
***** Mieru goes out
Mieru: *emo emo emo emo emo*
Radi: Hey, I lost someone. Can you help me look for him?
Mieru: I'm no good.... *emo emo emo emo emo* I don't think I can help you.
Radi: You won't know if you try! Come on!
Mieru: *helps out*
***** Later
Mieru: I did something useful *shocked*
Radi: Told you so~ I knew you can do it!
Mieru: Thanks for encouraging me. Now I am one step ahead to my goal of enterting the palace and meeting the prince!
Radi: I'll be waiting for you then...
Mieru: O_O What did you mean by tha-


I see this likened to my number one favorite shoujo series because its heroine wanted to be by the prince's side not just through his favor, but through making herself worthy to be a part of the palace. That's one of the things I had admired with my numero uno shoujo, so I was hoping that this series would be pretty good as well.

To my disappointment, this series is so HORRIBLY written that it felt like a blessing that it only lasted for two volumes. Lapis Lazuli no Oukan is like my numero uno shoujo series alright... but done WRONG.

The first few chapters is a repetitive cycle of the heroine being unconfident about her abilities, then later gets the encouragement and does something cool, and in the end exclaims out loud her resolve of entering the palace and seducing the prince. After that we've got a chapter that's focused on her friends. After that certain chapter, we see some progress in her magical abilities... and time skips in every chapter even faster than usual.

Being fast paced can be good... but abnormal and inconsistent pacing? It's alright if it's neatly done... or if you can notice the style in it... but it seemed more like the mangaka just came up with random stories in the beginning but only thought of an actual plot in the later half T_T

Storytelling had been really terrible. In the earlier chapters, it kept on repeating what the stones are used for. But the significant facts about the nature of the stones were only revealed in the LAST chapter. And about the heroine's history, it kept on mentioning about "the heroine's family being supposedly nobles but don't seem like one" though the really tragic and impactful part of her past lacked emphasis... it didn't feel like she was being discriminated for that reason, it felt more on it's just about her abilities.

Speaking of which, it's an overused cliché to have a character who is incapable of controlling his/her enormous power (and oh, naturally she can control them in times of emergencies! Exceptions~). Our heroine had managed to control her power in the end of course, but seriously, it was TOO FAST... I didn't see the development. We see her attend school on the first chapter (where she starts being more serious in improving her magic), hang out with buddies on the next, then suddenly now has a tough rival, then has a first serious task, then she's already employed??? WHAAATT???? Hey, wait, was there even a graduation? Did she learn anything new at all besides the freezing and barrier stuff (speaking of the actual learning process, they only took a few panels... though she has been failing on her magic control for a loooong time in the earlier chapters)? You only need to take magic school for a year or shorter to be qualified to be part of the palace??? I don't know. No, no explanations of the education they're giving. Pfft!

Anyway, back to the cliché. So in the end, she's actually the most powerful character in the series. (The prince is more of the brains, while she's more of the brawns) The part when she'll finally shows to the doubting crowd that she's really capable and incredible was only shown in a pretty small panel. (The scenes before what I'm talking about aren't counted because on one of them she just got the staffs, and on the other the staffs aren't even shown) It's the prince who got most of the flashy scenes on the most important moment, huh? It's alright since he's also a main character, but he only got emotional development (though it was REALLY little), unlike the heroine. So the bishie needs to have most of the screentime, huh?

I can't believe I'll be saying this but... you see, a lot of crappy shounen overuses that cliché but they have done a better job on it compare to this shoujo series! Ugh, why can't something as simple as making the significant moment of the heroine not deserve much impact... ugh...

I also want to complain on The School Setting. They're learning magic but they're more like studying just on history or literature. Most of the school days only show them reading books or chit chatting. Oh crap... imitating the Hogwarts school set-up would've been more bearable that looking at a non-magical magic school. They love magic so much.... really? Instead of magicians they've been more like enthusiasts interested in books about magic. =_=

Characterization is no better. We've got a rival in love who appears out of nowhere, and the prince's bodyguard was mentioned to have superb magic skills yet we don't see him doing something more superior than what the prince did. It doesn't bother to share us more character background either: we barely know anything about Mieru's siblings and Radian's bodyguard.

The prince is the usual shoujo hero: perfect bishie, but with a few problems. On the bright side, he has a nice reason for blending into the crowd. It's good of him to be open to his people's opinions, whether they're positive or negative. He's not butthurt when people say bad things about him; that's a nice quality. It's good that he wanted to understand his people by being with them... but I don't see the point of his disguise.... if only the get-up and hairlength are the difference:

Some characters were able to see through his disguise even. Only the heroine was stupid enough not to notice. She differentiates the prince's two personalities in the beginning then on the next chapter she says that they're the same to her? Pfft! Oh the cliché of "her falling in love with the prince's non-princely look before she found out that he was the prince" would've worked better.

I admire the heroine's determination to improve herself to be able to help the prince, rather than just be a useless parasite to the prince and rely on his bias to her to be together with him. She didn't like being protected all the time; she wanted to be useful.... and does something to BE such (not just complaining about her uselessness).

But her angst and stupidity are really tempting me to despise her... T_T I managed to stop myself so we're okay, haha!

I don't really hate any character in this series (maybe except for the stereotypical bitches that got jealous of the heroine's friend because she's the love of their crush). As for favorites, I thought it would be prince (since I usually like the princes in shoujo manga like this) but he's too stereotypical.

His relationship to his best friend and his brother would've been interesting though... but the mangaka preferred to focus on the love story only. Meh.

Anywayz, my favorite is this guy:

He's so frank and direct xD Hahahaha! His love story's like the main couple in the Special A series, compressed in two chapters! Oh it's so cliché, but they have been sweet... and thank goodness they're not mushy. (The heroine ruined their moment =_=)

Speaking of love stories, oh the love story in this series is so crappy. One of the reasons why the prince has found Mieru interesting because she's one of the few who still act normally around him even after knowing that he's a prince.... oh as if his bodyguard hasn't been doing that. And even if the girl is a fighter, is the line with the bishie telling his girl that he'll protect her in every freakin' shoujo series? And what a coincidence that she had met him and he was interested in her by the time she got in something very dangerous. They meet often on such convenient times... I can understand coincidences, but too many of them is just so questionable. The fate or destiny fantasy cliché would've been more acceptable! T_T

 Fine, it's not really that bad. At least they're not the 'I'll die if we're not together" type. They're okay as a couple. The romance is just... meh. Some other overused clichés seemed more interesting.

Oh gawd, seriously, this mangaka even FAILS ON CLICHES. And that's really disappointing because she had the potential. Its characters aren't really bad; they're just not develped well. The last chapter actually improved and made up for the things that the previous chapters had lacked. It made a really interesting twist around the end... particularly on the true goal between the "public rivalry". The main and supporting characters are smart individuals (only the heroine is stupid!!!!) that they would rather think over things and plan than go emotional and depend on the power of luck.

Overall, this series really had potential... but too bad it didn't turn out so well. The clichés and mediocre storytelling really bothered me... but the characters made me last until the end of the last volume~ Don't read this as a fantasy series (because it fails on the fantasy elements) but as a typical slice-of-life shoujo series of a rich guy (who wants more honest friends) and a commoner girl (that lacks confidence).


abandonedfactory said...

Speaking of magical schools, have you ever seen Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto – Natsu no Sora? It takes place in a magic school that is pretty believable, and is kind of a love story. I really liked it.

Sapphire Pyro said...

Yup, I have, and I really like that series as well~ (though I haven't finished it yet. Eep!)

Now THAT is an example of a series which KNOWS how to make a magic school setting (and didn't even need to imitate Harry Potter's)

abandonedfactory said...

Yeah. I know there's more of it, and given that what I saw was so well done, I really need to find it. It was like they were so confident about the magic school setting that they backgrounded it, and put a lot of effort into bringing out the human drama.

Aorii said...

Well, darnit, this series was actually on my to-read list. Magic + that heroine type and all. Real shame =\
So... what is your #1 shoujo series? It sounds real familiar~ XDD

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