Genres: Graphic Novel, Manga
Yuu is a simple country girl, in the big city to attend college. When she sees her first stage play, she becomes inspired! This is her destiny- she will become an actress! There's just one catch... she can't act. But that won't stop Yuu from being a part of the theatre.
Hello everyone. I hope your Thanksgivings were wonderful and full of plentiful food (and for readers not in the States, I hope your weekend’s been great). Let’s start December off with another Manga Monday! Today we’re looking at another theatre and showbiz manga called Ashita no Ousama.
Also called Tomorrow’s King, this manga comes from Yachi Emiko. It was published back in 2005 and has 10 volumes out in Japan, with translations available soon in America.
Before we go to the plot, let’s look at the cover. On the first volume, we see the fresh and vibrant face of a pig-tailed young woman. This girl is Yuu Sasaya, and she is our protagonist.
Yuu left her family and home in the country to attend college in the big city. While there, a classmate invited her to attend a play (the classmate’s friend cancled last minute, so she had an extra ticket). When the show ends, Yuu is astonished. She had never seen a live play before, and the magic she experienced inspires her to join an acting troupe and become an actress! She asks her classmate, who got her ticket from a friend in a fairly big-named troupe, to take her to an audition. Once there, Yuu meets the man who sparked her desire to be on the stage- Touya, a handsome and exceptionally talented young actor. Touya, however, wasn’t supposed to be playing anything for other stages, and had his face covered and used a different voice. Still, Yuu’s ability to recognice him from his voice alone impresses Touya. So much, in fact, that he recommends her to another friend’s troupe. Yuu auditions, and while she does get cast, her acting is… subpar. But the fact that she can’t act her way out of a paper bag doesn’t stop her! Eventually Yuu discovers she posses the talent for writing, and directing, plays. Her life twists from the front of the stage to behind as she begins work on weaving stories that will transfix and astound audiences.
I really liked this title. It wasn’t like a josei that was all about romance, and it wasn’t a seinen, either, because, while Touya and other male characters get focus and story arcs, we don’t see them enough to make it entirely about men, either. This series can be enjoyed by many people, and it’s not because of the artwork. Honestly, the art is rather plain in comparison to other larger-named titles. It’s the stories and the struggles of Yuu and her fellow thesbians and writers that come up. Touya’s rise to stardom on and off the stage, Yuu discovering her talents and even encountering a rival writer/director. There are many different stories that come along and add a very real feeling to the story. And yes, Yuu and Touya end up as a couple, but their growth is organic, and natural, and for the most part Yuu doesn’t seem to be obssessed with Touya. It’s just a real and gentle romance and affection that comes from an unexpected friendship and blooms with time. Plus, having Yuu be adept not at acting but at writing is a fresh spin. Not everyone can act, and very few people can write engaging plays. But Yuu’s two plays, which come up in the series, are amazing and if they were real, I’d want to watch them.
I give this series 4 stars for having a realistic feeling compared to a lot of other ‘drama-breakthrough’ stories, with real, human feeling characters, even with a very simple art style.