The Young Master’s Revenge Volume 1
Meca Tanaka’s previous series, Meteor Prince, was a goofy take on “love with a supernatural creature” manga. Here, she tackles the “we knew each other as children and now meet again” genre with similarly silly results.
The Young Master’s Revenge stars Leo Tachibana, returning to Japan to start high school. The decade he spent out of the country, he fixated on revenge on Tenma, whose family has suffered a decline. While Leo’s father’s fashion business has since made them rich, her family’s department store went bankrupt, and she’s no longer pampered.
The reason for his determination to ruin her life is dumb. As children, she was a rich princess, and his father wanted him to foster the connection for business reasons. She was a “reckless tomboy”, and he ended up being made fun of for following her around. This culminated in an incident where, while chasing turtles, he fell in a pond and was bitten on the butt in front of classmates.
So we know that Leo feels everything strongly, to a ridiculous extent, while she’s got an engaging willingness to try new things and not worry about what others think of her. He’s made himself attractive, though, as part of his scheme to gain her love and then reject her, although she’s more interested in learning new things to help with her life as it is now.
Ultimately, we know where this story is going: she’ll fall for him, all right, but he’ll learn to let go of his hurt from so long ago and value her many virtues. Her family’s reversal of fortune has been good for her, too, as she’s learned to rely more on herself, and she can follow her dream of being a veterinarian (in spite of animals running from her) instead of having to marry well.
The art is typically shojo, with most emphasis on faces with simple expressions, although there are also gag character interactions and a cute overweight dog named Virgo. The most impressive panel is when Tenma is dressed in a traditional kimono for a marriage meeting, a full-page figure illustrated in lovely detail.
One indication that we’re in for a number of comedy twists comes when Leo takes Tenma home with him — to be his servant, so she can save enough money to finish high school. She’s clumsy and lacks common sense (as her aunt tells her) but is goodhearted and eager to learn. What’s unusual here is that our “hero” is so obviously in the wrong, and she’s so saintly as to be unbelievable (when she’s not goofing up for humor). For that reason, I’m curious to see where the series goes. Particularly as Tanaka keeps introducing equally exaggerated rivals for Tenma’s affections.
The Young Master’s Revenge is due out in comic shops on March 7 and bookstores on March 6. It’s a light-hearted take on teen passion with plenty of laughs. It can be preordered now from your local comic shop with Diamond code JAN18 2061. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)