Backstage Prince Book 1

A classic romance set in a kabuki theater provides a comfortable “getting to know each other” story about a young couple proving that opposites attract.

Backstage Prince Book 1 cover
Backstage Prince Book 1
Buy this book

Akari’s the typical “ordinary girl” manga character, a bit of a klutz who accidentally injures Horiuchi, a young stage star. She’s drawn with the typical wide eyes; he’s tall and glower-y, considered hot by Akari’s fellow schoolgirls. When she follows his cat into a theater (in a way that reminds me of Alice in Wonderland), she discovers his career.

To make up for her earlier thoughtlessness, Akari becomes his assistant (a combination dresser and gofer). Everyone’s stunned by this because he’s a known misanthrope, hating everyone. Because this is a romance, it’s really that he’s emotionally blocked, and his growing relationship with Akari allows him to become a better person, learn the importance of love, as well as improve his art.

She sees a part of him no one else does, and she won’t give up or leave him to himself. We read lots of her internal monologue as she ponders Horiuchi’s attitudes and her feelings about him. She’s in love, but she knows she doesn’t fit in his exclusive world of the theater. It’s solid emotional drama with the familiar Harlequin-like theme of waiting for the two to realize what the reader already knows: they’re made for each other.


  1. I’m curious how this read as a collected volume. Reading this series in Shojo Beat, I remember finding the recaps at the beginning of every chapter to be a bit distracting and thinking they’d be even worse if read ten minutes apart instead of one month apart.

    Still, I did like the character work. The story did manage to communicate how these people both learned from each other and become better people for their relationship, which is something I seek in the genre. OTOH, the series also had a few moments where jerky behavior on the guy’s part turns out to be a sign of how intensely he loves her.

  2. […] Johanna Draper Carlson reviews the first volume of Kanoko Sakurakoji’s Backstage Prince. […]

  3. Lyle, I noticed a bit of that (see comment about lots of internal monologue), but not so much that it became actively annoying. It’s in keeping with the genre, in my opinion; lots of thinking over “where are we and where are we going?”

  4. […] At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson reviews vol. 1 of Backstage Prince. Journalista’s Dirk Deppey says vol. 1 of Parasyte is one of those love-it-or-hate-it books; […]

  5. I read this when it was serialized in Shojo Beat magazine. Is there more than one volume? It ended after 5 or 6 chapters, with what seemed to be a conclusion to the series. It was odd, because it seemed like it could have continued for a while, but the story just ended. I thought it was okay, but nothing great.

  6. According to the Viz website, Book 2 is due out June 5.

  7. i love BACKSTAGE PRINCE!!!!

  8. how many chapters
    r dere in da first book??


  10. Uh…this review is an almost word-for-word paraphrase of the Publisher’s Weekly review, one of the most legitimate and professional review journals out there. So…either “Johanna” is plagiarizing from Publisher’s Weekly, or (infinitely more unlikely) Publisher’s Weekly is plagiarizing from Johanna….Check it out for yourself:

  11. Actually, I wrote the Publishers Weekly review, which is why you find that both pieces contain similar points, although different phrasing. (You’ll notice PW listed on my credits page.) So no conspiracy here, and nothing nefarious going on. But thank you for paying such close attention to my older reviews!

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.