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March 1, 2010

Bento Bako Weekly: Millennium Prime Minister 1 & 2

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Millennium Prime Minister (volumes 1 and 2)
Author: Eiki Eiki (Color)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Doki Doki line.
Volumes: There are four volumes total; I’ll be reviewing MPM 1 and 2 today.  They’re $12.95 each.
Vintage: Ran in Japan from 1998-2001; Eiki mentions Color as an upcoming work (some perspective there).  Digital Manga began publishing the title in the summer of 2009.  Volume 4 comes out in April.
Genre: Young adult.  Romantic comedy, political drama, shojo.

Japan has just elected a new, 25-year-old Prime Minister named Kanata.  Minori couldn’t care less about politics.  She just spent all night playing video games, and now has to go to high school.  But while the 16-year-old is walking to school, she realizes the day is far too beautiful to spend in class.  So instead she skips class to…play video games in an arcade.  When she arrives, a small group of boys is attempting to beat an unknown opponent on an adjoining arcade machine (they’re back to back, so you don’t see who you’re playing against).  The mysterious player is totally stomping them.  Minori decides that she wants to have a crack at it, though the boys protest that she’s just a girl.  A girl that completely owns at this game in particular.  When she crushes her opponent, a handsome man appears from the other side, furious at having been beaten…then stops short when he realizes his opponent was a cute young girl.  Suddenly Minori finds herself being proposed to by this mystery man, but they’re interrupted and the man is forced to leave.  Later that night, as her family is watching the news, Minori spots the man from earlier on television…being presented as Japan’s new Prim Minister! From that moment on, her life will never be the same.

The first book introduces us to Minori and Kanata, and also Kanata’s friends: Sai, his 18-year-old male secretary; Matsumoto, Kanta’s former classmate and a political reporter; and Makita, another classmate and a member of Kanata’s personal police force.  Poor Minori gets swept up in Kanata’s sudden passion, bizarre hair fetish, and political power.  She is eventually forced to move into his large government house, when the landlord of her apartment requests that something be done about the chaos she has created by becoming the Prime Minister’s fiancee.  There she finds that Matsumoto and Makita are kind enough, and very helpful (particularly in the matter of protecting her chastity from Kanata); but Sai flat out hates her for reasons she doesn’t understand.  Of course, the reason is pretty obvious – Sai is in love with Kanata.

Minori meets Kanata and is immediately swept up in his chaos, in Millennium Prime Minister vol. 1.

The second volume gives us a better glimpse of Kanata’s character.  We’re introduced to his foster father, Representative Kamijo.  The encounter between the two at the beginning of the volume sets Kanata off in a bizarre way.  I’m unclear as to whether he greatly fears or greatly hates Kamijo, and it could very well be both.  Minori does a little digging around and learns some about Kanata’s past, and comes to the realization that the Prime Minister is a very lonely person.  She begins to feel sympathy for him, which jump starts her feelings.  But just as she begins to find herself falling for Kanata, Makita’s 7-year-old son appears, to protect Minori in his father’s absence, and becomes an…interrupter of intimacy.  A large part of this volume follows Sai around as he displays a remarkable amount of childish selfishness, petty jealousy, and spoiled airs as he forces Matsumoto to take care of him for several days.  There’s something going on behind the scenes involving Kamijo, and possibly Sai, but there’s only the slightest hint of it in this volume.

Kanata falls instantly in love with Minori when she beats him at a video game. It’s pretty ridiculous, though not anymore ridiculous than anything else out there; like a girl ordering a robotic boyfriend (Absolute Boyfriend), or a 12-year-old magical prince who ages into a 17-year-old boy in the dark (MeruPuri).  What makes it less appealing though, is how frivolous it is.  There’s just not any real substance behind the impetus of their relationship.

As for Minori…she’s kind of useless.  Apparently this is Eiki’s first time writing a major female character (her usual fare being boys’ love stories).  To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that it would make much of a difference if she wasn’t even in the story.  She has very little presence, a pretty weak personality, no motivation, and not much purpose (so far at least; maybe she will later?).  She’s meant to fill Kanata’s void of loneliness I guess, but there’s nothing particularly special about her that sets her apart from any other girl.  I really forget she’s even in there unless she’s there on the page.  The bulk of the story seems to be something involving Kanata and Kamijo, but in two volumes, barely anything is happening on that front.  Most of the first is taken up with Kanata tricking Minori into moving into the Prime Minister’s house, and most of the second is taken up with the drama involving Sai.  There’s very little of the political drama here that Eiki herself promised in one of her reader notes.  Which is a real shame, because I’m fascinated by that sort of story.

I hope it gets better.  I want to like it, but I fear that it’s not quite sophisticated enough for me.  I love some good political intrigue, which can be found in spades in titles like The Twelve Kingdoms, and even a bit in Spice and Wolf.  But it’s pretty weak here, and I’m a little disappointed.  Still, I imagine the meat of the story is yet to come; but when you only have four volumes to work with, I don’t think it should be shoved behind everything else.  I get that Sai loves Kanata, I get that Sai is incredibly childish, I get that Sai really acts like a baby when he can’t get his way; I don’t need pages and pages of that happening.  Could have done with a little less of that, to make room for more political drama.  In the end, this may really be just a typical shojo work, rather than the truly interesting story it could be.  We’ll see where the story goes in the next two volumes.  The resolution will have to wait until April, however.

Next Monday: Makoto Tateno’s one-shot fantasy story 9th Sleep.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copies provided by Digital Manga.

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11 Comments



  1. So is the fact he’s Prime Minister just a catalyst for this flakey love story or do you think there will be more political intrigue. It just sounds as if it’s emotionally all over the place with no real focus.


  2. Kristin

    Well, I want it to have more political intrigue, and there’s already potential within the story for it. It’s just a matter of Eiki fleshing it out in the last 2 volumes. Because she’s barely touched it so far. The potential is there, the story is set up already, she just hasn’t used it yet, and that bothers me. I can’t really say without having seen volume 3 or 4 (and 4 isn’t out yet). I’m not getting my hopes up, since she doesn’t seem to be going in that direction so far. But I know it’s in there! So I’m sort of holding on for it to get deeper later on.


  3. billy

    Wow, that Kanata dude is a cradle robber! lol



  4. “I really forget she’s even in there unless she’s there on the page.”

    Now that’s what I call a protagonist! lol


  5. Kristin

    @Billy: Sometimes I don’t even notice anymore. That sort of relationship is incredibly common. The age gap is never very wide; it’s almost always a girl in the last couple years of HS, and a guy in his early 20s. But yeah, it’s really common to have that sort of relationship in Japanese manga.

    @Andy: It’s sad, but true. Unless she’s actively doing something in the story, it’s like she doesn’t exist.



  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by girlg33k_Kris: Mornin’! New #Manga Review: Millennium Prime Minister 1&2 http://comicattack.net/2010/03/bbwmillenniumprimeminister1_2/



  7. […] Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of I Hate You More Than Anyone! (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Kristin on vols. 1 and 2 of Millennium Prime Minister (Bento Bako Weekly) Kate Dacey on MW (The Manga Critic) Jennifer Dunbar on vol. 1 of Selfish Mr. […]



  8. […] Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of I Hate You More Than Anyone! (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Kristin on vols. 1 and 2 of Millennium Prime Minister (Bento Bako Weekly) Kate Dacey on MW (The Manga Critic) Jennifer Dunbar on vol. 1 of Selfish Mr. […]



  9. […] you haven’t grown tired of my ramblings (and there were quite a lot this week), be sure to come back tomorrow for my Bento Bako Weekly column, where I’ll […]



  10. […] For my review of volumes 1 and 2, click here. […]



  11. Tks…

    This information really helped me, I am sharing with a few friends….



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