A, A Prime is a trilogy of short stories that are sci-fi and yet shoujo in nature. This is not kiddie fare though as mature themes like homosexuality come into play. In the first story, "A, A Prime", a young woman named Addy is killed on duty as a researcher in outer space. A clone of herself is sent to take her place. Generated from Addy's own cells and implanted with her memories, is this Addy truly Addy? Addy's lover Regg wonders. The second story, "4/4 [Quatre-Quarts]", is about a teenage boy named Mori. Mori can't seem to control his psychic abilities. That is, until he meets a beautiful girl named Trill. With Trill, Mori's powers are not only controllable, but amplified beyond comprehension. But Trill is not even human. The third story, "X+Y", features a young man named Tacto. Tacto has always been a guy, until a medical examination reveals that he has pre-developed female reproductive organs inside his body. But that can't be, can it? After all, medical records from his childhood all say that he's male. Besides, he's already got a girl he's interested in... Although the three stories are separate, the premises in which they take place are the same. It is the future, and traversing from one planet to another is as simple as going abroad. Ms. Moto Hagio places another common denominator -- the Unicorn race. Unicorns look like humans, but they have a distinctive strip of red hair (their mane) in the middle of their heads. Unicorns were originally developed to handle computers, thus they were created without emotions to prevent errors. But as you'll see in the trilogy, Unicorns aren't as unfeeling as they are widely perceived to be. A, A Prime is a unique manga experience -- a truly seamless union of sci-fi and shoujo elements.Read more ›
Moto Hagio is one of the "HANA NO NI JUUYO-NEN GUMI", literally, the "Magnificent Twenty-Four-Year Group". "Twenty-Four Year" refers to Showa 24--1949. These women revolutionized shoujo manga in Japan and raised it to the level of a literary genre. As such, it certainly is fair to call Moto Hagio one of the greatest shoujo manga artists of Japan ever to live.A, A' is the sole work by one of the HANA NO NI JUUYO-NEN GUMI to still be commerically available in English translation. It is a mature, insightful collection of 4 tales all unified by the presence of a member of a genetically-engineered race of variant human beings called "Unicorns", who all possess a sheaf of red hair and an inability to express the emotions that they feel. Even Unicorns can experience the love of another...but can they learn to love themselves...?Hagio's storytelling is brilliant and beautiful, a masterpiece of rare intensity worthy of any reader's bookshelf. However, the reader should have an open mind. The HANA NO NI JUUYO-NEN GUMI are also renowned for their treatment of sexual ambiguity and male-male romance. This proclivity is clear in A, A'; still, I firmly believe that it is in good taste and treated with appropriate delicacy and understanding. There is nothing graphic in A, A'...only four emotionally powerful and majestic stories that will surely enrich the hearts and minds of any who take the time to partake of them. A, A' will move it's readers to laughter and tears.I cannot recommend Moto Hagio's work highly enough. Please, if you are a person who likes great literature or good manga, give A, A' a try.
I really enjoyed these stories because the first time I read them, I was struck at once by the beautiful art of Hagio Moto and of course, the story. One of the strongest messages in the stories is that it doesn't matter whether love is male or female, human or created, it is still love. I would recommend this book not only to lovers of manga and anime, but also for those who like a good story with a bit of philosophy.
If you're looking for a good romance, tired of bodice rippers and enjoy storytelling done with well-drawn artwork and just enough narration -- this one's for you.Done in three pieces, the common thread running through all three stories is the "artificial mutation" called the unicorn -- human beings whose outward appearance include a mane of red hair much like an inline mowhawk. Unicorns have a difficult time with emotions - and each of the three unicorn characters in this novel would have a difficult time even if they had normal emotional responses like the rest of us. Used, abused and misunderstood, they struggle and manage to find love wherever they go. In the process, we get a different view on life, love and priorities.The artwork is simple, stylish and often funny without being cartoonish. You often smile just before a frame grabs you by the throat with it's intensity. Complex emotions are played out with only a portion of a face visible - little or no background art needed - but what is there is, is done well with no explanations needed.Keep in mind this is an adult, PG-13 novel that involves sexuality and questions regarding gender identity. However, it is done in a fashion that could only annoy someone unwilling to deal with the topics in the first place. I'd give it to a high schooler with no reservations. But it is meaty, satisfying stuff for any age. Don't miss it.