Venus Capriccio Vol.1&2 – Mai Nishikata

Venus Capriccio was serialized in Hana to Yume magazine from 2006-2008. This is Mai Nishikata’s first serialized work.

Synopsis: Takami Habara was raised in a family with four older brothers. So it’s no surprise that along with her tall, attractive physique, she has a bluntly honest and outgoing personality. This is far from her ideal girly personality of a beautiful and demure princess. Her long time childhood friend, Akira Sasaki, has served that role in her mind; a talented pianist whose blond hair and blue eyes project a delicate beauty rivaled by any princess – except that Akira is a boy. Now teens, Akira decides to enlighten Takami about his own masculinity and sets out to prove which of them is really the “princess”.

Review: While Venus Capriccio is Nishikata’s first serialized story, I find many aspects of this piece nostalgic. I can easily refer Takami and Akira’s story to other characters and events from popular shojo titles I’ve previously read. Strangely, this doesn’t diminish the story. I find that Nishikata stuck with what appeals to a shojo audience and used it to her advantage. Unsure if her work would be serialized or not, Venus Capriccio starts out episodic in nature. This seems to be what works best since the two protagonists only have the piano school as a common setting. As the series continues though, there are longer story arcs as the couple spends more time together outside of piano school.

I find the gender reversal in this series entertaining. Takami, the female protagonist, plays the oblivious teen in this series, which is usually the role of the male. She is clueless to her own femininity and desirability. With four older brothers, she’s used to being “one of the guys” and thinks of her relationship with Akira as having a cute younger brother. Akira, on the other hand, plays the more feminine role. He is declared the more beautiful of the pair. Even though he is the guy, he is the one frustrated by attempts to get his feelings of love across to clueless Takami. He gets jealous of other guys, tries to protect her, shows her she can be beautiful and attractive, and still Takami avoids the obvious presentations of his feelings. It’s classic role reversal, and the personalities of Nishikata’s characters pull it off fantastically.

The art in this series is very simplistic. I would say Nishikata uses conservative toning and coloring, when compared to other shojo works. The paneling and layouts tell the story well. I find the main characters attractive, drawn with expressive faces. My only complaint would be cover art layout and lettering, which would be the design of the publisher. The title lettering doesn’t fit the series, especially when you see the original Japanese fonts.

Overall, Venus Capriccio is a fun and enjoyable read. I highly recommend it, especially if you like classical music or gender role reversal. I’ll have more on volume 3 coming soon!

Romance Rating: Cuddly.

Media Status: Venus Capriccio is published here in the states by CMX. Volumes 1-3 are currently available.

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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