written by Mai Nishitaka
Takami isn’t quite the average teen girl. In fact, she seems to have a little difficulty with the whole “girl” concept. She dresses like a tomboy and eats like a wrestler in training. Maybe that’s why she has such a hard time keeping a boyfriend. The only constant male in her life, excluding her four older brothers, is her best friend, Akira. Being two years younger, Akira seemed like a little sister to Takami; but when Akira surprises her by revealing that he wants to date her, Takami starts to see him in a whole new light.
At first it feels awkward and just plain wrong to date Akira. By and by, the pieces start to fit together, and Takami starts to see what a handsome, talented, and sweet young man Akira has grown up to be. She’s not the only one though. A pretty young girl Saiyuki appears at one of their piano rehearsals and reveals plans to compete with Takami for Akira’s affections.
When the school festival rolls around, Takami witnesses her last boyfriend, Mori, dumping his current girlfriend publicly. He wants a more beautiful girlfriend to be his partner in the Prince & Princess contest. Takami decides to take him down a notch by beating him at his own game. She’s going to enter the contest as the Prince and use his latest ex as her Princess, but in a last minute move by Mori, Akira has to step in to fill the role of princess.
As much fun as the gender-bending contest gets, it only leads to new problems for Takami and Akira. Akira becomes so popular with the ladies that he’s constantly being harassed for photos and locks of hair. The couple bears through it and discovers that relying on one another is just what they both need.
Volume 1 of Venus Capriccio offers a simple setup for what could possibly be an endearing or heart-wrenching love story. It’s still a bit early to tell. Anyone who has suddenly started looking at a friend in a different light will be able to relate. So far, the plot feels more like a drama with a few funny moments sprinkled in. It’s unlikely to turn into a romantic comedy. There seems to be a bit of influence from Revolutionary Girl Utena in here with Takami’s tomboy qualities, tall build, and the reference to wanting to “be a prince.” But that’s about where the resemblance ends.
Venus Capriccio is a read for teen girls, but it’s too early to tell if it will end up as a quality classic or a simple read-it-to-kill-time kind of manga. So far, the artwork, clear story, and interesting characters make this book manga worth at least a glance.-- Courtney Kraft