School girl Megumi, suffering from an uneventful life after a fleeting grade school romance, hopes to end such boring days with her entrance into high school. Still dreaming about the peaceful days with her past love, Hikaru, she encounters a stunningly beautiful girl on her way to the entrance ceremony. Suddenly, the girl calls out for Megumi and gives her a hug! Hikaru enters back into Megumi's life not only as a classmate, but as a girl. How will Megumi handle the shocking revelation?
(Source: Dynasty Scans)
Note: this manga is currently on hiatus due to its author's copyright infringement. There has been no notice since June 2012 about its re-appearance.
Prism is a yuri manga written and illustrated by Shou Higashiyama. My score is based on the first five chapters of an unknown total at the time of this writing.
Prism has been a special experience. As much as I love yuri, I find that a truly enjoyable yuri story is rare; it doesn’t help that noteworthy works in the genre usually fall into one of two extremes of a) pornography or b) stories about close – but not explicitly romantic – relationships between girls. Prism is an exception that not only lies comfortably in the middle, very near my ideal, but is executed beautifully. It
The story itself, when extracted from the work as a whole, is nothing to write home about. What makes Prism special is a certain lifelikeness found in every panel that arises from the art and dialogue. It is ironic, considering the type of manga the artist specializes in, but it can be seen in his other works, too. He knows how to sell his characters. They are never archetypal; there is never doubt that they have real emotion and motivation. It is precisely this aspect of his works which makes Prism stand out among yuri stories with similar premises.
The art quality is something that most people will notice right away. It is another characteristic of Shou Higashiyama’s works that is well beyond usual expectations and a personal source of inspiration for me. It is the final and possibly most important step in bringing the characters to life.
Technical excellence notwithstanding, I acknowledge that Prism is not necessarily a manga for everyone. Many of the reasons it hits so close to home for me are personal, and of course, not everyone can get into yuri. For fans of the genre, though, it is a must-read.
I'm really not a fan of yuri. It's usually bland, pornographic, stereotypical, plusl misleading towards actual lesbian relationships.This is an exception. I read all of the chapters in one day and it's still playing in the back of my mind. And it's not at all unpleasant.
The story is best summed up by the word "cute". The portrayal of Megumi and Hikaru's relationship itself is truly brilliant, especially for such a short story. Both characters are well rounded and believable.
prism is a non-h yuri manga by higashiyama shou/"show higashiyama" serialized in the bimonthly magazine tsubomi. (i use "bimonthly" here to mean it comes out once every two months.) chapter 5 is the newest as of this writing, released about two weeks ago by futari wa pretty anon. (because of the "extra" chapter 3.5, by myanimelist's numbering, this is chapter 6.)
normally i wouldn't review something while it's still running, but i suppose i can indulge myself a bit and hopefully attract more eyes to this excellent manga at the same time.
i was already a fan of h.show from his past work, which is hopelessly different.
it's best described as explicit lolicon - in other words, porn. it's not clear to me how common it is for an h manga artist to suddenly surface somewhere else plugging something so unrelated. at any rate, when i started reading prism thinking it would be like his other stuff, i was in for a ride.
hoshino megumi is the main character. people tend to call her megu. when i think about her name i come up with something like "the grace of heaven" or "stars falling upon the earth in a blessing." as we quickly discover, "grace" is not really a good word for her. she's more than a bit dense, especially when it comes to understanding others' feelings. yet she is incorrigible, and she really cares, which is enough for anyone in love.
there are strong parallels with revolutionary girl utena in subject matter. megu remembers a chance encounter by the beach long ago with a boy called hikaru ("shining light"). their day together, culminating in a kiss, remains her image of ideal love until the story begins with her first day of high school. hikaru-kun is the prince or knight in shining armor who came to sweep megu off her feet.
but it turns out that hikaru is actually female, now excessively so after her sudden reappearance as part of megu's school life. she is a sex object for heterosexual male and female students alike - the boys love her, and the girls want her wiped off the face of the earth. we learn that hikaru is accustomed to this treatment, and we therefore assume that she didn't turn into a doll overnight, but tragically little of her backstory has been revealed. in some ways prism is defined by the potential of what is left out. in other words, it is profoundly inspiring.
still, i feel as though hikaru's character is the better developed of the two mains. her ~forbidden love~ for megu causes her a great deal of the standard mix of pain and self-loathing. we see just enough of her struggle to be sold on her internal conflict. she is someone who cares about appearances and is embarrassed by her feelings. she is sure no one will find them welcome - but we are rooting for you, hikaru! viva yuri!
as the story begins, megu greets her several friends. unfortunately, with two exceptions, we hardly hear from these minor characters again. as of chapter 5, they appear to serve as little more than background decorations.
of course, it's possible that their potential contributions to the story are muted intentionally - speaking from experience, your friends tend to fade into the background when you are in love. even at the beginning of the story, megu will have no reason to go out of her way to introduce us to these people. they have presumably been around for some time and therefore are of little consequence to a girl who spends more time sleeping than socializing.
to be clear, the overall pace of the plot is just about perfect. prism is not a novel, and it's not so important that we see meaningful interaction with all of the minor players. given a set number of pages to fill, h.show begins by illustrating beautiful characters with uncommon elegance and expression, and, if there is any room left over, then perhaps he will write some text. in other words, this manga is primarily art-driven.
though the subsequent subject matter (especially the school trip and the trip to the beach) is standard, h.show manages to inject enough individualist flair to keep me interested. in particular, the second scene in the second chapter is sharply ironic. in heteronormative society, everyone, including the protagonist's own sister, assumes that a girl in love has a boy in mind. h.show exploits white blindness for full effect. his yuri is neither the bourgeois fantasies of strawberry panic nor the nonstop sexual escapades (clearly meant only for heterosexual males) of sono hanabira. in prism, the dreamer is suddenly awakened and the world behind closed eyelids remains superimposed on her largely routine and hackneyed existence. now it is up to her to reconcile the two. as vonnegut said, "people are too good for this world."
unfortunately, much of the nuance and craft of the text is lost in the translation, passable though it is. on the one hand, i probably have little room to complain - some releases of h.show's other works are far worse. but i can't help but wonder how much my experience of prism is affected when i pick out a page of the original and read it as if for the first time. futari wa pretty anon is semi-professional, but it will take more than that to bring this minimalist and highly context-driven story into english. my recommendation is simply to read this work in the original if you find that it sticks with you. if you can't read japanese, it would be an excellent way to learn.
i can't personally identify with hikaru's shame or megu's emotional tour de force following hikaru's reentry into her life, but i can identify with hikaru's strong feelings for someone of the same sex who has also utterly failed to register on the gaydar. it is enough to make one question whether the will of heaven indeed exists - i see that there is even a place for homosexual lovers and still no place for me - no label, no classification, no speed-dial for what they would call my sexual orientation. i am trapped alone.
knowing how h.show picked the titles of his past works, it seems less likely that "prism" is meant to reflect the story in any significant way, but i do see a connection nevertheless. in short, with every kind of person under the sun, love will eventually bring the right two together.
but no one said it would be easy. you have to care, and this couple will be tested.
Prism is a yuri Manga that deals with the problems that naturally follow after falling in love with the same sex.
Admitting your interest, getting together, being open about it to your environment and of course getting judged for it, are only some of the many problems this Manga deals with.
As you can see this is a rather realistic depiction of a romance, in this case a lesbian relationship. And this is exactly the point which makes this Manga so enjoyable.
Most of the Yuri Manga you can find, either show Yuri as a side story only, or present it in a rather unrealistic and sometimes
even too sexually orientated way.
Prism on the other hand scores by showing the natural developement of the first love to the point in which sexual actions between the two main characters seem only natural.
While I enjoyed the story and its developement quite much, I think it's worth to mention that the two main characters, Hikaru and Megu, especially made this Manga so enjoyable. They are cute together, both have very unique and different personalities and all in all match each other very well.
So if you are looking for a nice and realistic Yuri love story with great art and character developement, then Prism will definitely be to your liking.
But if you actually want to see some action and drama, then this might be boring to you.