License request day: Hime-Chan’s Ribbon

October 30, 2009

I don’t necessarily apply this rule in my own life, but it’s often said that accessories make the outfit. And this credo is rarely as true elsewhere as it is in shôjo manga. Those little touches that can add polish and sparkle to an otherwise drab ensemble also sometimes contain tremendous (and potentially disastrous) power. So as many of us contemplate how we’ll dress up for Halloween, I’ll devote today’s license request to that versatile wardrobe enhancer, the ribbon.

hcrcover1I’m speaking specifically of Hime-chan’s Ribbon, a ten-volume series written and illustrated by Megumi Mizusawa for Shueisha’s Ribon magazine (appropriately enough). It stars teen-aged tomboy Himeko Nonohara, who aspires to be more ladylike. She accesses a shortcut to achieving this goal when she meets her counterpart from a parallel Magical Kingdom, Princess Erika.

hcrcoverold1The princess must prove her royal worth by creating a magical object, giving it to a human, and proving that the object is useful. Erika’s creation is a ribbon that allows Hime to transform into anyone she likes for an hour. There are rules and pitfalls to the transformation, as there must be if you’re heading down the path of wacky, supernatural comedy. There’s also a talking stuffed animal that’s got Hime’s back, and may I just say that talking stuffed animals almost always make things better.

hcrcover2This all sounds like fairly standard magic-girl fare, but all indications that it’s really well-executed standard magic-girl fare. This likelihood is boosted by the company Mizusawa keeps: she’s apparently close friends with the gifted Ai (Paradise Kiss, Nana) Yazawa and Wataru (the desperately-in-need-of-license-rescue Marmalade Boy, Ultra Maniac) Yoshizumi. If you can at least superficially judge people by the company they keep, Mizusawa is at least superficially awesome.

hcrcoverold2Supplementing the evidence in the title’s favor is the fact that it’s been adapted into a stage musical. I think that there should be some kind of gentleperson’s agreement that every comic book that gets adapted in this fashion must be licensed and translated for English-language release just because. The Hime-chan musical apparently featured pop-idol group SMAP. I admit that I find Japan’s idol-manufacture industry positively terrifying, even scarier than Disney’s, and SMAP does nothing to reassure me, but I’m asking for the comic, not the original cast album.

So in the spirit of lighthearted disguise that Halloween engenders, I submit Hime-chan’s Ribbon for publisher consideration. If someone starts now, we could have a couple of volumes in print by next Halloween. Shueisha has a sample chapter posted here, and it looks really, really cute.