The Lapis Lazuli Crown 2 by Natsuna Kawase: B+

lapislazuli2After receiving encouragement from a boy called Radi, really Prince Radian in disguise, Miel Violette has been devoting herself to her magical studies in order to earn a place as a palace magician and be of use to Radi. The events of volume two span at least eighteen months, as Miel first enrolls in a kind of prep course, then takes the entrance exam for the palace training school, earns a place in the Barrier Bureau (responsible for keeping out magical burglars, essentially), and finally clears her family name by exhibiting her profound physical strength and magical power in a ceremony to reinforce the barrier protecting the entire country of Savarin (a barrier manufactured by the lapis lazuli crown, which finally makes an appearance in the series bearing its name).

Through the author’s comments, it seems clear that a more leisurely progression through these events was originally planned but had to be accelerated to comply with “page constraints.” Despite sacrificing some elements, the story still hangs together well and offers a satisfying conclusion, one that manages to work in a little palace intrigue to boot. I like that Miel is encouraged to demonstrate both her prodigious strength and magical ability, and that the emphasis is on achieving her place through her own merits rather than by any patronage of Radi’s. The romance between them takes a backseat to the rest of the story, which is fine by me since it really is comparatively less interesting.

Kawase’s art continues to be remind me of Nari Kusakawa, which is definitely a compliment, and CMX’s packaging is lovely. The most glaring flaw in this edition, however, is how the name of Miel’s friend, Seigle, is often spelled as Seagle. It’s as if they changed it midway and forgot to make sure it was consistent throughout.

On the whole, The Lapis Lazuli Crown is a cute and enjoyable series, and because of its rating would definitely be a good choice for kids and libraries.

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

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  1. Danielle Leigh says

    You review makes me want to give this title a another chance (I had a hard time finishing volume one). But I think I’m encouraged to try again! 🙂

    • Volume one is pretty fluffy and episodic, but volume two develops into more of a continuous story, despite the swift passage of time.

      • Danielle Leigh says

        I think I was just in the wrong mood to read it — CMX shojo is very different from Viz shojo and I often get trained to read Viz shojo, which to be honest often takes less investment to get through a single volume. (Or maybe I’m just crazy but I somehow I really think this).

        • There is a difference, but I’m not sure I could quantify what it is. I wonder if it’s because so much of the VIZ stuff is set in the modern day, whereas the CMX titles are often elsewhere and must include worldbuilding tidbits and all of that.

  2. Nice review, Michelle — I’m glad to see other folks enjoyed Lapis Lazuli as well. There just isn’t enough good, tween-friendly shojo out there, and CMX deserves props for licensing such titles.

    • Thank you! And I concur; I was telling Eva Volin that it’s ideal for tweens because its emphasis on a career and personal merit is more sophisticated than many of the All Ages titles that are available.

  3. That’s why I try to give CMX some love in my Good Manga for Kids column; their All-Ages titles aren’t insipid or directly linked to popular game-TV-toy franchises, making them a real rarity in the tween manga market.

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