[Review] Catwalk Romance by Shiraishi Yuki: Pretty can only take you so far

Catwalk Romance street date: 25 May 2011

Catwalk Romance (m&c!)

Plastic Girl © Shiraishi Yuki/Shogakukan
[First serialized in Sho-Comi]
Published in Indonesia as Catwalk Romance by Gramedia/m&c!

Catwalk Romance by Shiraishi Yuki: Pretty can only take you so far
Shoujo manga review by huamulan03 (Some rights reserved)
Rating: 5.75 of 10 ♥

The lowdown

Model Maya has a BIG problem. Every time the camera snaps her pic, she freezes and ends up smiling as if contemplating the photographer's (gruesome) demise. Her only respite from work stress comes during lunch break, when bishie “Pierre,” the Lowes Pierre delivery boy, hands over her bento.

Her ePIC #Fail aside, Maya is entered into the New Model Grand Prix by her boss, along with a Plot Device, I mean, another agency ingénue who (conveniently) no-shows on D-day, having taken a header off some stairs. Who should fill in to save Maya but...Pierre!

Thoughts and impressions
May contain   [SPOILERS!]

A fairly fun premise? Check. A likeable heroine? Check. A bishie worthy of the name and fluttering rose petal background? Check. An overall readable story? Check.

So how come I gave Catwalk Romance a 5.75? Because fluff can only take you so far in capturing emotional investment. What passes for character growth for Maya (learning to be comfortable modeling and realizing that pretty is not enough) is an afterthought and Perfect Pierre's (really, Satou Rui, a half French, half Japanese top runway model who drops out of the fashion fast lane to become a short-order cook and delivery boy in Japan), well nigh absent. And love confessions? Forget it. Maya calls Pierre her boyfriend in Episode 3 without any official proposal taking place in Episode 2. (This is a shoujo romance; you expect that at the very least to legitimize random smooches.) The so-called antagonists, too—models Ryohei and Shizuru—are one-dimensional foils. Now, don't give me that But's it's only one volume/five chapters! excuse; other manga-ka can win love for their characters even in one one-shot. (In comparison, Hiro and Akane and Ichi, protagonists of Shiraishi Yuki-sensei's Rival Next Door, grabbed my ♡ from the get-go and never let go.)

The only thing that gives Pierre any sort of depth—one of two things I love about Catwalk Romance—is the one-panel End of Episode feature "What No One Knows About Pierre": He can tell whether a chick is male or female just by looking (post Episode 1); he's great at catching mackerel (Episode 2); he climbed Mt. Everest at age 16 (Episode 3); and he can drink a one-liter bottle of soda in one gulp (Episode 4). None of which are even pertinent to the story.

Oh, the other thing (actually, things) I like? Maya drawn as a potential photographer serial killer (her captured on camera grimace in Episode 1), Maya “Just As She Is” (drooling in Pierre's arms, again captured on cam; Episode 2), Determined Maya (earnestness fit for a shounen manga; Episode 3) and Maya chasing after a kidnapped Pierre (again, art fit for a shounen manga; Epilogue).

So despite Pierre prolly threatening me: Allez à cette place. Vous ê un cochon laid, like he did those goons hitting on Maya in Episode 1, I have to reiterate:

Rating: 5.75/10
Verdict: Borrow; if you have IDR 16,500 extra, GET!

Iamque opus exegi,
~niki DBA 30uɐlnɯɐnɥ (花木蘭03)
Mistress of Adoxography

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