Portrait of M & N

Portrait of M&N Volume 2
Manga Review

Tachibana Higuchi's current and ongoing manga series is Gakuen Alice, so Portrait of M&N is already a concluded work already in Japan with only six volumes. Tokypop has spent more time releasing the latter title, but any reader who enjoys Tachibana's work should read this short series. With the publication, it shows an effort on the part of the publisher to bring out a storyline that can be accepted by readers. For this particular title, it has been released in English with a steady release schedule already. With this review, there have been two more volumes translated and available for purchase. Portrait of M&N is most likely slated to be complete in English by 2011-2012.

Portrait of M & NThough the notes from the author are dated, it is quite interesting to see what concerns and worries the author has with the process creating the story. It brings in a personality of the author, and shows a side of Japanese publishing not as similar in American publishing. Portrait of M&N was not meant to be written with cliff hangers, but have a story format that is complete. That even if the story was to be concluded in a stated amount of chapters, for every chapter release there is an ending that is satisfactorily completed.

In a previous review, there is the mention that Mitsuru and Natsuhiko are people with strange characteristics, and this is to be taken with a grain of salt, since both characters have sufficient reason for being the way they are. Many will call them weird, but with sufficient cause, realization, and insights people will mature. For Mitsuru and Natsuhiko it gets to the point of selflessly protecting others over their obvious alienating personality vices.

In volume two, as the relationship of Mitsuru and Natsuhiko progresses, there are the continuing conflicts such as meeting one side of parents, or realizing feelings over the presence of a third wheel and the continued jealousy of other people. Any of these elements can be a simple matter in reality, but in a shoujo manga, any and everything can happen. 
Portrait of M & N
Manga Review

Mitsuru and Natsuhiko are two teens with secret fetishes. They are also new students at their high school. What happens when one day - these two discovered each other's secrets? From that point on, a comradeship begins, and a teen romance starts.

In the title, there are the M & N, which stands for Masochist and Narcissist. Mitsuru mistakes physical abuse as love, and this is a result of years of abuse and the desire to please her family steamrolls her. As she introduces herself from the beginning, classmates call her a Madonna, and she catches the attention of male classmates, and later upperclassman Hijiri. Individually, she wants to be friends with Natsuhiko, who has his own significant issues to deal with.

Portrait of M & N After being isolated from other people at a young age, Natsuhiko with a mirror develops a tendency to love himself to the point of alienating himself in a negative manner. With a grim resemblance to the Greek mythology of Narcissus, his set off point is gaining a reflection of himself. From the very beginning though, he has taken to wearing thick glasses, and covering his looks. He learns Mitsuru's problems, and what is he suppose to do about it?

As an entertainment quality, the story is light enough for the reader to enjoy without looking on this book with adult eyes. That is a hurdle to step over. There is no extreme graphic violence, but there are domestic psychological issues that should strike a chord with readers.

Fans of Tachibana's other more famous work is Gakuen Alice, should seek this story out to read more types of this mangaka's works. Portrait of M & N should also appeal to gothic lolita fashion fans or die-hard romance fans. For the secretive double persona, readers would have read Kare Kano, or Fruits Basket. Typical shoujo romance fans, shouldn't forget Vampire Knight.