Crown of Love is written and illustrated by Yun Kouga. It is an example of a Japanese josei romance manga which means it was written for the target audience of older female readers. The series is complete with four volumes.
In volume one, sixteen year old Hisayoshi “Kumi” Tajima accidentally meets idol star Rima Fujio while she is fleeing obsessed fans who want to take her picture. For him, it is love at first sight. Rima thought Tajima was cute as well, but she one-sidedly loves her married manager, Ikeshiba. Rima’s manager has always wanted to manage a male idol, so when he crosses paths with Tajima, he makes an offer of representation. While Tajima sees it as one step closer to Rima, she sees it as a threat to her relationship with Ikeshiba.
I am just a little bit obsessed with manga and K-dramas [Editor note: “Korean dramas”, i.e. soap operas] that feature idol stories, so I was excited to see this offer available to review. Unfortunately, I was not as excited once I started reading this one. I am not a big fan of stories where there are impossible one-sided loves because the other party is in a relationship, especially the married-with-a-sick-spouse types. Tajima’s father is against him becoming an idol, to the point of beating his son and kicking him out of the house. Rima has a greedy mother who causes trouble for her at the record company. The whole first volume seemed like a mishmash of various soap opera-styled plotting. Rima is also portrayed as a ditz who does not consider herself to be smart, but wants to go to high school because of cute uniforms.
The artwork is very character driven with not much attention given to anything else. At times the panels can get confusing, as characters think back to past events, which introduces a flashback to explain the references. At first I thought my copy had its pages bound out of order because of the lack of transition between these occurrences.
All that being said, it is not a horrible book, it’s just too cluttered with typical manga plot contrivances. There was nothing in this first volume that stood out as a red flag for the “older teen” rating except possibly Tajima’s father beating his son. This could change in other volumes, as the josei style of manga usually contains sexually explicit or mature storylines. Readers of the mangaka’s other works, like the ongoing series Loveless, would enjoy this earlier work. However, for similar themes, I would recommend Yoshiki Nakamura’s Skip Beat instead.
Crown of Love, vol. 1
by Yun Kouga
Viz Media, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: OT/ages 16 & up