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Monday, April 19, 2010

Portrait of M&N vol. 1 Impression

Portrait of M&N volume 1
Fetish can be a very odd, a very personal luxury few can afford to indulge in no matter how sane the user makes the practice in their head. Many of these acts are socially unacceptable or just plain embarrassing and with Tokyopop’s Portrait of M&N volume 1 readers get a taste of both worlds.

Both are beautiful, both have much to hide. Mitsuru and Natsuhiko have secrets to hide; ones which eat them up inside and force them to hide from society. All they want is to fade into the shadows but it’s this very fading which draws attention to them at school and a chance encounter, a few encounters reveal to each the secrets they hide. Mitsuru is from a high society family which frowns upon her extreme masochist ways. An accident reveals this secret at school where Natsuhiko steps in to ‘save’ her but he also has an issue. He is an extreme narcissist who delights in his looks and only his looks. Through a series of interesting events the two grow closer and must overcome the potential issues their secrets carry.


A unique manga; oh yes. Creator Tachibana Higuchi has created a very interesting story where the focus on two such fetishes is brought to light in both a serious and humorous manner. These are two characters that, from external appearances, have everything going for them but are tormented by their own inner demons. Their coming together is not smooth and creates a butterfly-in-stomach series of encounters that will delight readers and is done so subtly. For a story built on the M&N the focus moves to a relationship manga quite nicely. The art, well it reminds of a rougher Wall Flowers with tall, thin, shojo’ish characters that don’t scream original but suit the mood.


Overall the art and story is very shojo and at its heart this is a unique take on the romance genre of manga. The inclusion of two such unique fetishes is what will determine how Portrait of M&N fairs as this is the one point, the one and only story point that separates this from so many similar manga.

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