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August 6, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Millennium Prime Minister vols. 3&4

Title: Millennium Prime Minister
Author: Eiki Eiki (Color)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing (Doki Doki)
Volume: Volumes 3 and 4 (completed), $12.95 each
Vintage: 2000 by Shinshokan in Japan; volume 3 in January 2010 and volume 4 in April 2010 by DMP
Genre: Romance, comedy, some light yaoi

For my review of volumes 1 and 2, click here.

The story so far:  Kanata Okazaki is Japan’s newest elected, and youngest ever, Prime Minister.  After falling in love at first sight with Minori at an arcade, Kanata tricks her into an engagement during a press conference, and Minori moves into the Prime Minister’s residence.  At the residence, she meets Kanata’s childhood friends; Makita, a member of his personal police force, and Matsumoto, a journalist.  She also meets Kanata’s 18-year-old secretary Sai, who instantly dislikes her because of his own feelings for Kanata.  As Minori learns more about Kanata, she begins to fall in love with him, but just as they start getting close, Makita’s 7-year-old son arrives to protect Minori’s chastity.  Meanwhile, Sai, who can stand hiding his feelings no longer, confesses to Kanata, who reacts badly, causing Sai to run away.  Representative Kamijo, Kanata’s foster father and political rival, appears and antagonizes Kanata, then switches his focus toward Sai when he learns the young boy has run away.

That leads us right into volume 3.  Sai has taken refuge at Matsumoto’s house.  Matsumoto, bothered by Sai’s depressed and manic behavior in more ways than one, starts developing feelings for the distraught young man, and grows angry of Kanata’s treatment of him.  When Makita stops by to bring Sai back, he finds that Sai has disappeared; in fact, he’s been kidnapped by Kamijo.  Sai is quickly and quietly replaced, and things move on as normal, though Kanata is clearly depressed.  Matsumoto, transferred to follow Kamijo instead of Kanata, starts discovering some uncomfortable truths about Sai and Kanata.  Things start getting a little steamy between Minori and Kanata, when Minori goes back home for her brother’s birthday.  All hell breaks loose while she’s gone, as Sai has revealed Kanata’s secret plans to Kamijo, forcing Kanata to take drastic and dangerous measures.  Refusing to be Kamijo’s puppet, Kanata calls an emergency press conference and announces his plan to overall the election process, reducing the salaries of assemblymen, creating new rules for campaigning, and allowing for anyone of any station to be able to run for office.

Finally we come to volume 4.  Minori, whom Kanata has forbidden from returning for her own safety, tries desperately to understand what is going on, and learn more about Kanata the politician.  Kanata’s rivals stage protests, send threats, and eventually bombs start arriving at the residence.  Things get even worse for Kanata when Makita takes a bullet for him.  Realizing this leaves Kanata all alone, Sai rushes to support him, only to find Minori has become his support.  In despair, Kanata decides to forget about his new initiative, until Minori beats some sense into him.  Later that night, they finally sleep together, but Minori is taken aback when Kanata calls out for someone named “Yoko” in his sleep. Furious about another rejection, Sai vows to tear them apart.  Unfortunately, someone gets to Minori first, and she is kidnapped to try and force Kanata to rescind his proposal.  Save the girl and lose the vote, or pass the law and lose the girl.  This causes Kanata to reexamine his motives for becoming a politician.  He wants revenge for his grandfather (who was falsely accused of illegal campaign financing) and Yoko, but begins to realize that the cost may be too high.  Sai, Makita, Matsumoto, and Minori are gone, and he’s alone.  Whatever his decision, it doesn’t much matter, as Matsumoto has managed to send him the address where Minori is being held via text message, so Kanata sends his aide to stall the vote and rushes off to rescue Minori.  The ending provides several unexpected conclusions, and Kanata realizes what’s most important to him.

My opinions on this title haven’t changed much now that I’ve read the final two volumes.  Again, Minori feels unnecessary.  She serves almost no purpose.  If she were removed, it would barely impact the story.  If she were replaced with a male, it would be more interesting, and it would fit with hardly any changes to the story.  Minori is unremarkable, generic, plain looking, has little personal motivation…she’s really just there so it’s not a boys’ love story.  Female characters just aren’t Eiki’s strong point, though she has said this was her first female lead, so she can be forgiven to an extent.  Sorry Eiki-san, but I really think you should stick with what you’re best at.  Writing a female heroine isn’t it.  One part that really rubbed me the wrong way deals directly with Minori’s poor development.  After Makita is shot, Kanata declares that he’s going to rescind his proposal, because Makita took a bullet for him, and it’s just not worth losing a friend over.  He’s going to throw away all his work, and, as Minori tells him, toss aside Makita’s sacrifice.  Then later on, when Kanata apologizes for his behavior to Minori, she brushes it off, saying, “I like everything about you, including your weak and pathetic traits!  It wouldn’t bother me if you kept on whining…”  So, I guess that means she would have been perfectly fine if he was a little coward and gave up all his beliefs in a moment of despair.  Yeah, I can really see that happening.  She loves him because of his strength, kindness, and how much he cares about Japan’s citizens; so I don’t see her sticking around if he were to act so pathetically.  But enough about Minori.  I don’t like Sai, either.  He’s spoiled, obnoxious, weak…he threatens to kill himself if Matsumoto won’t help him kidnap Minori.  He’s so full of jealousy that he doesn’t realize his actions will hurt the person he loves.  Fortunately he redeems himself in the end, and grows up a tiny bit.

My biggest complaint before was the lack of political drama in the first two volumes.  My hope was that Eiki would amp it up in the final two.  She did and she didn’t; it still took a backseat to everything else going on.  Kamijo stopped making sense halfway through when he switched sides to help Kanata and protect his own political future, and explains his actions that previously caused Kanata so much pain.  Turns out he’s not such a bad guy after all…I guess.  He didn’t treat Sai very well….  It also turns out the big way he wronged everyone was not loving his wife (because he was in love with someone else prior to her), and keeping the truth about her involvement in the campaign funding scandal a secret to protect Kanata.  His change of behavior kind of comes out of nowhere.  The whole thing sort of falls apart a bit at the end, but Kanata’s plan succeeds, and he and Minori get a happily ever after.  Volume 3 contains some bonus 4-panel comics at the end (mostly about Eiki, her editor, and friends), a short comic celebrating the 200th issue of Wings (the magazine MPM ran in), and a short Q&A with Eiki.

Next week, you can (possibly) look forward to Hikaru no Go, some Yen Press titles, and…maybe some yaoi.
Review copy provided by Digital Manga Publishing.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Digital Manga , Digital Manga and Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New #manga review: @digitalmanga's Millennium Prime Minister vols 3&4 @comicattack https://comicattack.net/2010/08/bbbmpm3_4/ […]

  2. Billy

    Ah, politics and scandal…a match made in heaven.

  3. […] AstroNerdBoy on vol. 3 of Kitchen Princess (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime & Manga Blog) Kristin on vols. 3 and 4 of Millennium Prime Minister (Comic Attack) Sean Gaffney on vol. 27 of Negima (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Edouardo Zacarias […]

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