Sugar Princess: Skating to Win Volume 1 by Hisaya Nakajo (amazon)
Hana Kimi remains my favorite series about a girl dressing up as a boy to get closer to her object of affection even though the ending in the final volume was a little rushed. So I was curious when I saw that another Nakajo series was being published under the Shojo Beat imprint.
Maya takes her little brother to an ice skating rink. While she’s there she tries out a jump that she saw on TV the night before. She awkwardly lands a double axel! A scruffy man is watching her and notices something interesting despite her lack of technique. He walks up to her, grabs her shoulders, and asks “Would you like to be a princess?”
At school the next day Maya talks about the strange incident with her friends. She decides to visit the skating rink again to find out more. She spots Shun Kano landing a jump and is dazzled by his talent. The scruffy coach Todo shows up again and makes a point of introducing Maya to Shun. Shun asks if she’s a new student in the novice group for elementary students. Maya is outraged! It turns out Shun goes to the high school that’s attached to her middle school. Toda says he’d like them to do pair skating together. Shun refuses, saying that he only does singles and stalks off.
Maya is still intrigued by the idea of figure skating and starts practicing in earnest. She has natural talent that she’s willing to work hard to refine. While Shun is standoffish, it turns out that he has a tragic past and is much nicer than he seems. The reader will not be surprised when Maya and Shun start getting to know each other better, will they team up despite the difference in their skating talent and win a competition?
It is obvious that Nakajo is a big fan of figure skating. There are drawing of famous figure skaters scattered throughout the book. Even though the plot elements in the book are entirely predictable, I found myself enjoying Sugar Princess. If you like manga and have ever enjoyed cheesy skating movies like The Cutting Edge, Sugar Princess: Skating to Win is worth checking out. This is a cute all-ages title that would be appropriate for school library collections. I’m disappointed that it is only a two volume series.