Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yuri Manga: Creo the Crimson Crisis volume 1

 This is, quite possibly, the absolute stupidest manga that I enjoy reading. Playing Spot the Cliche (But With Yuri!!) alone is half the fun. :D

The story begins with Suou, your typical nondescript, plain-Jane heroine whose best friend Urara finds her irresistibly attractive. Suou becomes the center of a catfight in class over who will take her to the infirmary, since she isn't feeling well one day. The teacher sends Suou outside as punishment, and she wanders off to find the infirmary. Suddenly, she notices the school lake turning blood red as a voluptuous, pointy-eared magical woman rises out of it (who I can definitely see being voiced by Nabatame Hitomi, with Nakahara Mai as Suou and Shimizu Ai as Urara) and recognizes Suou by name. But naturally, Suou freaks out and sprints away from her. The woman introduces herself as "Creo Levigister", catches Suou, and forms a "contract" with her by placing a collar around her neck that can only be removed by Creo herself. (Cue salacious squeals from the yuri fandom.) This prompts a fit of jealous rage from Urara, who snatches Suou away from Creo. When Suou and Urara return to Suou's home, they find that (surprise!) Creo is already there, and she's gotten permission from Suou's sickly older sister Akane to live there and help take care of the house. More exposition is given on the flimsy excuse for having Creo move in with Suou (Creo's the princess of a demonic realm, she needs to form a contract with a human to use magic, and she has loved Suou ever since they met as children), and a Rival (TM) appears, another magical being named Kiki whose sights are set on Urara. zOMG.

Does this sound like anything else you've ever read? Aa! Megami-sama, MeruPuri, Lum Urusei Yatsura, perhaps? If you've never read or seen a single magical girlfriend (or boyfriend) story, this just may impress you. Otherwise, you already know exactly what you're getting into. If you don't mind reading the same old thing with a yuri-spin, then dig in. On the upside, this series doesn't overreach itself or pretend to be more than what it is. (Obviously a backhanded compliment.) And for what it is...I kind of enjoy it. It isn't ever going to approach being a favorite of mine, but it's a decent series to read if there aren't any new installments of Girl Friends, Hayate x Blade, Sasameki Koto, Aoi Hana, Octave, whatever Morishima Akiko and Fujieda Miyabi release, Otome Kikan Gretel, Sugar wa get the idea.

The characters fulfill their respective stereotypes to a tee. Creo's supposed to be the sexy vamp- but the series tries so hard to make her the Sexy Character, that it doesn't really work. Kiki provides a foil as the uncouth, "loveably" naive bumpkin at the bottom of the demon world social ladder with far more innocent designs on her respective human. Urara's the Lusty Best Friend, and...that's it. And Suou's the weakest link... a quivering little pile of tears and ineptitude who would probably get eaten alive at a real high school. (Welcome to the magical girlfriend genre.) My favorite character is Akane, actually. And Urara and Kiki are my favorite couple.

As for the art, it's a mixed bag. Sometimes the character designs look remarkably pretty- especially the way that their hair is drawn-, but oftentimes they look bug-eyed, with disproportionately bulbous foreheads. Suou's perpetually whimpering, mascot-like character design in particular almost never looks appealing.

There are so many things that I can pick apart in this series...but I still read it. -_-; Yuri fans in the Hino Matsuri and Watase Yuu age-demographic will probably get much more out of it. In fact, when I first read the first chapter of Creo in issue 8 of Yuri Hime (or rather, attempted to read it and found it easy to follow because of its adherence to cliches), I thought it was "ZOMG!*squeal*" amazing.

Story: D (Same magical girlfriend story, different magazine.)
Art: C (Mixed strengths and weaknesses.)
Overall: C-

Speaking of the polar opposite- I've recently started reading Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise. It's starkly different from what I normally read in comics- and it's excellent. And episode 12 of CANAAN was ❤! ^___^ I probably shouldn't read or watch any titles that I really like shortly before reviewing anything like this anymore. lol Granted, Umineko no Naku Koro ni is pretty dumb also (but in a strangely riveting, "wtf"-eliciting way), and I'm finding it more entertaining than Creo.


Glo said...

I am going to read this now. That is all.

Snark said...

You're right; this sounds like the dumbest pile of crap that I might actually like.

Yi said...

I read a few chapters on Yamibo, and stopped... I just could not continue with it.

darkchibi07 said...

Considering the potential of how big the world is in this manga, I wonder if Creo the Crimson Crisis would have been better off in a monthly publication like Monthly Comic Zero Sum. Of course if that happened, then this will have to introduce more guys and we don't want that! lololol

Katherine said...

@ Glo- Haha, I'm glad I helped you find a new series to like...I think. ^^

@ Snark- Took the words right out of my mouth. :)

@ Yi- Can't blame you. lol And yet, I still follow it.

@ darkchibi- Monthly Comic Zero Sum does seem to be a pretty bishonen-heavy magazine. I wouldn't mind male characters being introduced, so long as the story remained...well...not good, but on its current level. I've thought the same thing about several other Yuri Hime titles- "how would so-and-so title be if it ran in a monthly or bimonthly magazine?" But I like to think that Creo being in a quarterly magazine means that the mangaka will avoid inserting a glut of filler material that s/he might include otherwise (the beach arc, the onsen arc, the Valentine's Day angst arc, the school festival arc, etc).

C. Banana said...

one thing I noticed with this manga it that it never tries to hide its clichés. In fact, it does the exact opposite, playing them up and exaggerating them whenever possible.

I like the manga but I know it's likely never going to be more than a guilty pleasure for me.

Katherine said...

@ C. Banana- Oh, this series certainly doesn't make any pretensions about being derivative. But it would probably work better if Takewakamaru went for a no-holds-barred satirical approach instead of playing it straight. (Pun intended. :P)