My Sparkling Prince-sama

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Original review author: SpazzticBunnyhood
Webcomic name: My Sparkling Prince-sama ♥ or 私のキラキラの王子様 ♥ (Literally Translated: My *Sparkle SFX* *Sparkle SFX*’s Prince ♥. It’s a weird title.)
Author: Ki Hiwatari or Hiwatari Ki (Hiwatari being the family name) (courtesy of SmackJeeves)
Start Date: July 24, 2011 at 08:49 pm
End Date: Ongoing
Genre: Uber Sparkly Shoujo Manga. Oh, and, uh, Romantic Comedy, I guess.
Defining Flaw: Being, at best, mediocre. At worst, boring and predictable.

Rating Summary
Art: Wiki.pngWiki.pngHalf.png

Best Hiwatari Art yet!

Storyline: Wiki.pngWiki.pngHalf.png

It’s okay if you turn your brain off.

Characters: Wiki.pngHalf.png

Our regular Hiwatari Stock Characters with only slightly more character development.

Miscellaneous Details: Wiki.png

I gave Mr. Hiwatari a lot of credit, only to find out he backstabbed his own fanbase. (See Author Review).

Overall: Wiki.pngWiki.pngHalf.png

Really good when compared to Mr. Hiwatari’s other work…really crappy when compared to any actually GOOD comic.



Background

I originally found out about the works of Mr. Hiwatari through the article on this site by crookedglasses dedicated to Ki’s Webcomic Contradiction. I loved the article so much that I HAD to check out the comic, and it is still one of my favourite articles here. However, when I finished reading the comic, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness after such entertaining insanity. Either that, or it was indigestion. But, lo and behold! In the sidebar is a list of other comics by this insane little mastermind! And so, out of morbid curiousity, yearning for the insanity that was Contradiction, and a bit too much boredom, here is my binge read of Hiwatari’s Other Comics!

Downfall

It's pretty much the same level of mediocre all the way through.

Story and Plot

I’m going to try not to fall into my usual trappings—where I somehow end up spending most of my time on the plot summary—so, I’m going to try and keep it short.

Once upon a time, there was this lover of all things sparkly, Hanami. One day on vacation, she meets this weird guy at the beach, who is unfriendly towards her, and banging two rocks together like a caveman. Our main character is a klutz, of course, and falls on top of him because it’s “funny”. He leaves behind a pendant, and, for some reason, she thinks they’ll meet again soon.

Despite her father’s wishes, she joins the school’s jewelry club—a club that’s also the Student Council so that means that they’re also in charge of the school at times? There, she befriends Nao who is absolutely unnoteworthy except for her inexplicable loyalty to the President, a ladies’ man named Nozomu, and wants to get to know the mysterious club president Aruto. Oh yeah. You can bet he’s our comic’s Hiwatari Stu.

Nozomu doesn’t want to be late for a baseball game or something, and gets Hanami to deliver some quizzes for him. (I’m skimming. Deal with it.) There she catches Aruto napping and—PLOT TWIST—Aruto was the caveman from the beginning of the story, all along!

Dramatic Gopher.gif

During a club field trip into the middle of the woods with no adult supervision, Hanami follows Aruto off the Hiking Trail. Then she goes “oooo! Shiny!” and catapults herself off of a cliff. But it’s okay! Aruto saves her! And it’s not nearly as comedic as the comic would like you to believe!

Anyways, instead of being hospitalized like a normal person, Aruto’s sent home to his gigantic mansion. The other members visit and Nozomu is tackle glomped by Aruto’s presumably drunk dad/uncle/WHO IS THIS GUY?!

The comic ends with Nao giving Aruto the designs the new members did, with a brief hint that Hanami’s design was better. Unless, of course, you hop over to Tapastic and see that he’s been uploading pages there, leaving his SmackJeeves fans in the dust. Oh, Mr. Hiwatari… I’m not mad… Just disappointed.

So there are only two more pages on Tapastic. One page confirms that the crazy drunk was the dad. NOW I’m done reading. (Until it updates again.)

Oh, and while the comic ends here, I should also mention that on Mr. Hiwatari’s store page, it lists this comic as only having one volume, as opposed to the three that Le Diable has. I’m not sure if that’s because this comic is only one volume long, or if only one volume is finished.

Writing Review

Let me quote the official description of this comic:

While Hanami was at the beach during one summer vacation, she met a boy who was making a pendant by the seaside. After he left she found a pendant with a name tag.
When she went back to high school the following year, Hanami joined the Jewellery Club, and to her surprise, the president of the club was the student council president, who was a complete... nerd.
-My Sparkling Prince-sama's Official Description

Now, what are the first words that come to mind when you hear the word “nerd”? For me, I think “videogames”, “dorky”, “lovable”. Even if those words are not the ones you come up with, the word “nerd” has very strong connotations, even if you, dear reader, do not agree with them. With that said, Aruto is not a nerd. He’s a Hiwatari Stu and is, by extension, a LONER. The only nerdy aspect this guy has is his love of jewelry, and even that is subdued to the point where I can’t describe him as being nerdy about it. The description is sweet and all, but “nerd” is NOT a word I would ever use to describe this guy. Like, try “geek” if you’re trying to make him sound derogatory yet endearing! Sure “geek” implies good grades, but it’s a much more fitting word than “nerd”!

There is one other big nitpick I have about the writing in this, it’s the Jewelry Aspect. Mainly how it’s vaguely referenced and shows that Mr. Hiwatari didn’t actually do any research on the subject. I mean, we met Aruto when he’s banging a gemstone against a regular rock instead of getting it properly cut and polished. And this is as deeply as they go into the specifics—and it’s just one line! I mean, I know basically nothing about jewelry, and even I can tell the comic is avoiding giving us details. Would it be too much to ask that we hear the names of gemstones, or specific types of cuts? Perhaps some famous designers in the field? Or maybe a debate on whether or not simple plastics are worthy of being called and used as jewelry (my limited knowledge has me believing that this might be a controversial topic. Though I could be wrong)? ANYTHING?!

Characters

Our Character Cast

Hanami Kirizawa - This is really strange for me to say, but Mr. Hiwatari seems to be really good at writing shallow girls. In the comic Autumn Love (which I skipped over because I think it’s Mr. Hiwatari’s best comic), he managed to make a very vapid and shallow bimbo a really likable character. I can’t say it’s as well done with Hanami as it was with Suzune, but Mr. Hiwatari still manages to make you legitimately root for her. If I tried to write these characters, you’d want to rip their heads off in a matter of pages. Well done. Credit where credit is due.

Aruto Ishimura (The Hiwatari Stu) - Another Hiwatari Comic, another Hiwatari Stu. However, this one I don’t really mind too much. Sure, he’s got all of the classic symptoms (he’s reclusive, rude etc.), and even if he didn’t, he has some very Gary-Stuish traits (he’s freaking rich), but Aruto actually feels like a character. He is the most self-aware Hiwatari Stu we’ve seen yet. He’s reclusive and rude, yes, but this comic actually acknowledges that no one would like this guy. He’s stinking rich, yes, but being the son of a successful jeweler kinda makes that a given. This time around, it’s the charismatic ladies’ man that gets all those sweet, sweet fangirls, not Aruto. And he’s even the butt end of some jokes! Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a Hiwatari Stu, but he’s the least Gary-Stuish out of all of them, making him somewhat tolerable.

Nao Fukuda - I can tell Mr. Hiwatari is trying really hard to make this character a character, but she’s just way too bland. The only things I can recall her doing in this comic are being loyal to Aruto, scolding Nozomu, and having a crush on Aruto (I think?).

Nozomu - Holy crap, it’s the Boy Next Door done right! Or, rather, the Boy Next Door with more than one character trait. Instead of just being the Boy Next Door, he’s the Boy Next Door AND a Flirty Ladies’ Man! He’s still two dimensional, but this is more fleshed out than most of the other boys in Mr. Hiwatari’s comics with the exact same role.

Hanami’s Dad - One thing I do appreciate this time around is Hanami’s parents. More specifically her dad. More specifically, their inclusion in the story. Sure, they don’t do much, but her dad is an actual character, unlike that unsympathetic cardboard cutout in Turbulence. This guy is opposed to her joining the Jewelry Club not because he’s an unrepentant jerk, but because he thinks it’ll take away from her already bad grades and doubts that she can make a living at it. Those are legitimate parental concerns! Sure, she’s actually GOOD at making jewelry (or at least knows enough to have potential), but he doesn’t know that! And the comic isn’t afraid to use him in jokes! I wanna see more of him!

Art Review

Um... That’s a running track.

This comic doesn’t actually suffer all that much from the proportion issues found in Contradiction. It’s evidence that Mr. Hiwatari is getting better. However, they’re still not perfect. Like, this perspective shot hurts to look at. Still, it’s a lot better than his other works. However, there is one aspect of the artwork I’d still like to harp on… Mainly, the Lack of Colour.

See this page? It’s the only page that’s in full colour (minus the cover artwork). And it made me realize how much I wished that ALL of Mr. Hiwatari’s comics were in colour, not just this comic.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some good greytoning. But Mr. Hiwatari has proven countless times that he is not good at it. It may not be as obvious in this comic, but the greytoning mess has proved to be one of the signature flaws of Mr. Hiwatari’s comics. In Contradiction, this random guy looks pretty much identical to one of the leads; and in Le Diable there are three different characters with the same face and hairstyle. Even Hanami and Nao look pretty dang similar when you don’t see below the shoulders or when Nao’s hair gradients weirdly.

But, if you venture into the “Characters” section of Contradiction and Le Diable (the link for Sparkly Prince is broken), you’ll notice the characters have nice, bright hair colours to tell them apart. Would it kill Mr. Hiwatari to at least do all the pages in flat colouring? The same face-same hair syndrome would still be a big problem, yes, but with colour you would be able to tell all of these people apart! So why?! WHY, MR. HIWATARI, DO YOU GREYTONE ALL OF YOUR COMICS?!

Also, there’s this creepy thing for a while when Aruto turns his head to the side and…has no eyes. At all. Which makes me focus on how weird the glasses look and OH MY GOSH, IT’S SO CREEPY! I know Mr. Hiwatari was going for a big reveal by not showing Aruto’s eyes, but all the eyes look the same so adding them wouldn’t have really changed anything.

Author Review

I wasn’t going to add anything more onto what I said in my Le Diable Review, but I just found Mr. Hiwatari’s Tapastic Account and I’m not too pleased.

Sure, I get it. SmackJeeves is a dying site… But leaving your entire SmackJeeves audience hanging is still kind of despicable. This comic hasn’t been updated in 2 years, but on Tapastic (on date of discovering this) the exact same comic was updated six days ago. I can understand putting your comic on multiple sites, but updating one and not the other leaves a bad taste in my mouth. What if there are some hipsters out there who are avoiding Tapastic like the plague because they are still clinging to the remnants of SmackJeeves? I know I’d be like one of those people (it happened with me and Facebook). And, sure, Sparkly Prince (oh my gosh, this title’s dumb) wasn’t the most groundbreaking thing ever on SmackJeeves, but it still had/has 292 fans! Is he really going to completely ignore all of those people!? I mean…I know I called you a Sell Out, but this is a slap in the face to any fan that hadn’t found your Tapastic Account!

I’m not mad, Mr. Hiwatari. Just disappointed.

Okay, screw it. Yes, I’m mad too. How dare you do that to your own fanbase!?

Overall

Out of all of Ki Hiwatari’s work so far, I’d say that this comic is the best one overall. Sure, he sticks to his comfort zone (high school protagonists), but this is a story where it works. Sure, his story telling is as predictable as ever, but this time it actually feels like something I’d read in a legit shoujo manga magazine. It would still be just as crummy, but it’d be a crummy that you see out of professionally published comics. (I’m looking at you Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.) Sure, all the characters are his familiar stock characters, but this time they actually feel like proper characters instead of just being there out of necessity. It’s actually almost kinda funny sometimes! Well… Almost. I can understand if it’s a guilty pleasure for anyone.

So, this is his best comic overall. Key word being overall; because this comic also doesn’t excel at anything. When compared to his other works, this comic is really good. But, when compared to other comics out there (especially GOOD ones like Gunnerkrigg Court), then this comic is really lame. If I came across this comic in the wild, I’d read it once and never read it again. And, like the gemstones it revolves around, with a bit more polish this comic would actually be kinda good.

Also, the whole updating the comic on Tapastic but not on SmackJeeves is just bull. It makes me regret being so lenient in this review.

Other comics by this person reviewed on this site

Links