An Early Look at Pretty Face Vol 1 by Yasuhiro Kano Manga Review

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Title:  Pretty Face Vol 1

Author:  Yasuhiro Kano

Publisher:  Viz

ISBN:  9781421513683

May Contain Spoilers

Masashi Rando, karate star and teenage thug, barely manages to survive a terrible bus accident.  In a coma for a year, he awakens to a shocking discovery: his face, horribly disfigured, has been reconstructed using a photo from his wallet.  A photo of Rina, the girl he has a crush on!  He learns that his parents have declared him dead, and he has no where to go.  Mistaken for Rina’s older twin, Yuna, Rando allows himself to be welcomed into her family until he can locate the real Yuna, who has been missing for two years. Will he be able to keep up the impersonation and fool everyone into believing he’s Yuna?

Argh!  This has got to have one of the most ridiculous plots, ever!  At least we have a guy pretending to be a girl, instead of the other way around.  Too bad Rando isn’t the most likeable guy on the planet.  He’s surly, has a bad-temper, and randomly beats the crap out of anyone who annoys him.  Maybe he’s upset because he’s so short…

After waking from his coma, he encounters Dr Manabe, the slightly deranged surgeon responsible for his new, girly face.  Fleeing the clinic before the good doctor can perform the sex change operation he’s planned, Rando discovers that his old house has burned down and his parents have moved away, without bothering to leave a forwarding address.  Maybe their violent son intimidated them so much they were afraid he would return from the dead.

Running into Rina and her family, they mistake him for Yuna, Rina’s missing twin sister.  How convenient!  Attributing his lack of memories to a mysterious case of amnesia, they welcome he into the family with open arms.  This allows Yasuhiro Kano to torment his hormonally charged character with an overload of Rina fan service.  Panty shots, hugging, and near bath experiences make life hell for Rando. 

To round out the fan servicey moments, Rando goes berserk about once a chapter, pummeling whatever annoyance he’s presented with in that particular grouping of pages.  Because the predicaments he finds himself in are hardly unique,  and the humor beats you over the head, the tale feels stale instead of funny. Rando’s frantic attempts to keep his gender a secret seemed  especially old and tired.

The art, though a little cluttered, was the best part of the book.  The character designs, especially Rando in his girly glory, are attractive.  The panel layouts, in keeping with the high-energy of the book, are frantically strewn across the pages.  The illustrations are very dense, with lots of panels per page.  A greater allotment of larger drawings would have been a welcome break in the activity.

In a questionable attempt at humor, Pretty Face travels some pretty tired ground.

Pretty Face Vol 1 will be available in August.

Grade:  D+

Rated for Older Teen

Review copy provided by Viz

3 thoughts on “An Early Look at Pretty Face Vol 1 by Yasuhiro Kano Manga Review

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  • July 19, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Heh heh.  Honestly, that’s about what I expected from this title.  Thanks for confirming my intention to stay far, far away from it.

  • March 17, 2009 at 5:31 am

    I’d agree that some of the humor is cliche and a few of the chapters where forgettable.  There is also a fair amount of fan service.  But to be honest this is one of my favorite mangas.  My biggest disappointment was the sudden termination as at the end, while things had been winding down they seem to be setting things up for another year of hijinks.  Maybe I just haven’t read enough "one gender pretending to be the other" manga, but I found myself laughing out loud at some of the chapters.  This is clearly a guilty pleasure manga and makes no pretense at being highbrow or artsy (it does have good illistrations). I didn’t feel at all that his antics to hide his identity were at all "old and tired."  Also although rando is kind of a punk in the beginning I feel that is made up for by him meeting everyone he’d mistreated in school before (with his secret identity) and having to hear them talk about how much they hated him.

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