An interesting concept for a shoujo romance story. A young girl who was scarred for life by an adult video she watched when young shuns the attentions of older men or men her own age, much preferring men that are younger. Meeting a seemingly young boy and nearly instantly falling in love with him her foster father throws a wrench in her plans by introducing to her three men who are each her fiancé. She has to choose which man she will marry.
Unfortunately, the story itself falls apart. There is almost no reason for her to have a raging crush on young boys only, Takagi could have done this differently and still had him cursed. Instead, during the first novel the main heroine is crazed and needy for young boys and in the second she has an almost level head and while still showing signs of craziness does things almost selflessly and becomes a compassionate person.
Telling a story in only two novels is hard and will inevitably feel rushed, as this did. There is some resolution in the end, enough that the two short books aren’t left simply floundering, but there are still unanswered questions. If Takagi had not felt the restrictions of a two novel series she might have been able to tell her full story. It’s a shame she could not and instead we are left with a sort of mess.
The entire series grade: C
There are seven books in the Penguin Revolution series by Sakura Tsukuba so I went with seven plot points that I am going to breakdown. Each one was what the manga was supposed to revolve around, or have a main focus in.
1. The Wings
- The main character, Yukari, can see wings on the back of someone that is meant to be a star. The bright and shinier the wings the more star power the person has behind them. When she first meets Ryou he has penguin wings, meaning he can not fly but he has potential to be a star. As the series progresses so do his wings. And that’s about the end of the need for her to see the wings. Seven novels and the wings only prove to be a visual effect to make a picture look more stunning. They do, but this is a part of a novel that could have been left out completely and not changed the story. At all.
2. Teenage Manager
- Yukari becomes Ryou’s manager. Yukari, who goes to school full time, somehow is finding this other teenager jobs for acting. Hard to buy when even in the manga most of the people who want Ryou are coming to her requesting him and it is not about her managing anything but having an excuse to be backstage with him.
- For about the length of one novel we get the backstory on the man who runs the production company Ryou works for and his love, Yoko Oka. This could have just been a short novel on its own and actually amounted to nothing, as did most of the plots in this story. It was supposed to be this gasp-worthy moment of, “That explains it,” and instead fizzled out.
4. Gender Bender
- To work with Ryou, Yukari has to pretend to be a boy so that living with him will not seem weird. Because she can’t just earn money and live at home. She has to live with Ryou. The gender bending had nothing to do with the story, much like the wings. This is again something that could have been stripped out and only tweaked the story in one or two spots, but overall nothing more.
5. Troubles at Home
- Yukari’s father can’t make money and is a bit of a deadbeat. This was only done so that Yukari could live with Ryou without any question.
6. High School
- Oh right, these kids all go to high school. The only time you would ever know it is when they are meeting up with friends to go to movies together later.
- This was highly unsatisfying, even in the resolution. Ryou, Ayaori, and Yuzuru all have a crush on Yukari. It goes nowhere. Do not expect some satisfying ending. Despite the fact that the books lean heavily towards Ryou there is no decision made, ever. And it’s not even a satisfying love polygon because every time Tsukuba starts bringing the story to the forefront she changes her mind and goes back to the acting.
All in all a wholly unsatisfying series. I’m a huge fan of shoujo and romance in manga, in face, it’s where I prefer my romance to come from than in romance novels written here. I’m a young girl at heart and things like this should make me blush and wish I had something like this. I don’t. I wished I hadn’t read any of it. So many good plots squandered and wasted because Tsukuba could not tell this story. Worse, she wrote Land of the Blindfolded, which I did enjoy immensely.
The entire series grade: D