Silver Diamond 1 by Shiho Sugiura: B+

Rakan was only two when he and his late mother inexplicably appeared amongst the flowers in an old Japanese man’s backyard. Lonely and kind, the old man took them in and Rakan’s been doing his best to live a sensible life ever since. Having inherited the old man’s fortune upon his death, Rakan’s goals are simple and steady: graduate from college, find a stable job, marry someone kind and serious, and continue to reside in the house in which he’s lived for the past fifteen years.

His solitary existence is disrupted when a mysterious stranger named Chigusa turns up in the garden just like Rakan did all those years ago. During a scuffle resulting from a case of mistaken identity, Rakan demonstrates an ability he didn’t even know he possessed and causes Chigusa’s wooden gun to sprout into a tree. It turns out he possesses a rare gift that could help Chigusa’s barren world, and the latter vows to protect this “precious creature.”

Because Silver Diamond is billed as boys’ love as well as fantasy, I had some doubts about it at first. I worried the fantasy plot might be treated like an afterthought while the wilting protagonist had to repeatedly fend off the lecherous advances of his Mr. Grabby Hands protector. I’m glad to say these fears were entirely groundless.

The plot might not sound like the most original thing—our unassuming hero could be the savior for another world—but Sugiura adds enough unique world-building and mystery for it not to seem derivative. It’s also unexpectedly funny. I was amused mostly by authorial—how did the old man get Rakan and his mom added to the national registry? In bold letters: CRIME—but also by the cranky talking snake that appears toward the end of the volume, who makes the old cliché “character from another world/time encounters a television for the first time” scene seem shiny and new.

All of the characters introduced so far are likeable and interesting. Rakan is practical and thoughtful, and though he realizes pretty quickly that his houseguests have something to do with his origins, he’s reluctant to ask questions about it, lest the normal life he wants for himself be threatened. Chigusa is enigmatic but smiles often and seems kind. Late arrival Shigeka functions somewhat as a go-between between the other two, answering questions as well as raising them, particularly where Chigusa’s true nature is concerned.

There’s something about the page layout that reminds me of Please Save My Earth, but that might simply be due to the abundant plants and flowers. The art is nice, though occasionally the pointy chins look like they could hurt someone. Some might feel there’s too much screentone, but it doesn’t bug me—I rather like how Shiho Sugiura uses it to create sand dune landscapes on a few occasions.

On the whole, I come away with a very favorable impression of Silver Diamond and am genuinely interested to see where the story goes from here. If the purpose of review copies is to hook people on new series they might not ordinarily have investigated, then mission accomplished.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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  1. Ooh, ooh, snark! Give a hint!

  2. Hmm… It includes a numbered list.

  3. danielle leigh says

    I really enjoyed SD vol 1 as well — the story is fine but I was really pleased by the art, which is quite lovely.

  4. It kept reminding me of something else I’d read (aside from PSME, which I mentioned in the review), but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

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