~Princess Princess~
4 lacy ruffles out of 5
Replay Value: High

"They're like a lubricating oil that soothes peoples' hearts."

And probably some other things considering it's an all boys' school populated by young men who wouldn't be able to get a girl if one was handed to them.

Yaoi is not something we typically watch, but Doc was looking for something fun and at only $20 for the complete series, this seemed like a good choice. Neither of us was disappointed.

Suffering from some family issues that will show up to cause problems later, our main protagonist, Tohru, packs his bags and transfers to an all boys' school. Being young and somewhat pretty, Tohru is quickly picked by the student organization to become one of the school's three princesses. It's a long standing tradition that helps keep up morale, choosing the prettiest boys from the freshman class to spend one year to dress as girls and entertain/cheer for/smile at all the young men. Young men who eagerly follow them around like love sick puppies. All of it is played for comedy, and as over the top as it is, it works very well.

It's immediately obvious who Tohru's love interest is going to be. With his long blond hair making him look very feminine even when he's not in drag, Shihoudani quickly becomes Tohru's best friend. They have real chemistry, none of it feeling forced or rushed. In the 13 episodes we're given, they don't angst over wanting to be together. Rather, they angst over their family problems. Speaking of how he distances himself from his family and how he feels like he ruins the balance that makes his parents and little brother look like a perfect family, he comes across as a young man struggling with that one thing that makes him different. He loves his family and wants to be loved in return (and he is), but he still feels alienated because he can't talk to them about it. It's played out well here, without feeling overdone or with over the top dramatics.

The third in our trio is Mikoto. He hates being one of the princesses, but once the student organization chose him, there was no way out. He's not very good at controlling the obsessive crowds the way the others are, he's indecisive, and he's struggling mightily to hold on to his masculinity. His small stature and pink hair make that understandably difficult. However, obviously wanting to prevent an unnecessary triangle, the writers gave Mikoto an honest to goodness girlfriend. He is teased endlessly by Tohru and Shihoudani for how sweet he is on his girl, talking to her on the phone every night and smiling giddily whenever he thinks about her. We meet Megumi about midway through the series, and I can say she's worth every bit of that. We also meet Mikoto's sister, Makoto. I'm wondering if there's more there about them all in the manga, because if I didn't know better, I'd swear Mikoto's sister is trying to move in on his girlfriend. Doc saw it, too, so it wasn't just my yuri colored glasses dropping down.

The rest of the cast is also a lot of fun. Akira, who everyone refers to as Sakamoto-sama, is unintentionally following in the footsteps of his illustrious older brother. The president of the student organization is crafty and wonderfully twisted, followed around by his "henchmen," always appearing at the right place at the right time. My only complaint is that we don't get real payoff in the Tohru/Shihoudani pairing, though we do get the hint of a payoff. I suspect the manga goes on after the closing of the anime, and I'm actually tempted to look into it. I like these characters and find myself pulling for them to have a happily ever after.

In spite of not being big yaoi fans, both Doc and I really enjoyed this show. It was good, silly fun with a dash of drama and angst. In spite of the wild concept, it never felt forced. They set it up well enough that everything made perfect sense. We didn't sample the English track, since Media Blasters isn't really known for well done dubs, but it is there for anyone who has to have one. There's a manga preview inserted as an extra, however the text is too small to read on a television. The only other extras are the clean opening and closing on the last disc, but with a retail price of $20 or less for the complete collection, extras are the last thing to be worried about. This was a solid release by a company that I'm starting to like more and more, and it comes highly recommended even to those who don't consider themselves yaoi fans.

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