Comic Books Magazine

Ordinary Girl in a Tiara Review

Posted on the 09 January 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Ordinary Girl in a Tiara Title: Ordinary Girl in a Tiara (Tiara wa Niawanai)
Genre: Romance, Harlequin
Artist: Yuki Shiomiya (artist), Jessica Hart (story)
Publisher: Harlequin, Digital Manga (US)
Original Release Date: December 5, 2013
Free Preview: >>HERE<<

Ordinary Girl In A Tiara is, like the title suggests, an ordinary story dressed up in superficial glitz in order to give the appearance of a decent story. It’s a boring read at best, and aggravating at worst, because the creators expect you to be entertained by a story with absolutely no depth.

Ordinary Girl in a Tiara is a graphic novel based on the Harlequin romance novel of the same name by Jessica Hart. Caro is your typical girl struggling to figure out her life and find her ideal partner. One day she receives an e-mail from an old friend (who conveniently belongs to a royal family) in need of some help. Lotty’s grandmother, in an effort to keep the royal blood line pure, is pressuring Lotty to marry her cousin Phillipe–the problem is, Lotty and Phillipe are just good friends and have no desire for marriage. Luckily, Lotty and Phillipe come up with a plan–have Caro pose as Phillipe’s girlfriend for a few months until Lotty’s grandmother decides to leave them alone. Caro begrudgingly decides to go along with it, if nothing else than to have a vacation and get her mind off her recent break-up with her fiance. Although Caro and Phillipe agree not to develop feelings for each other over the course of their fake relationship, things are easier said than done.

Ordinary Girl in a Tiara

The most important decisions in a monarchy are always made by the family dog.

The overly fantastical plot seems childish at first but quickly spirals into a patronizing and almost insulting gimmick. Ordinary Girl in a Tiara reads like a cheap Cinderella story, void of everything meaningful about princess stories that make them appealing. Cinderella is such a beloved story because there was a sense of deserved justice for a girl with virtue and whole-hearted character. The only moral that can be gleaned from Ordinary Girl in a Tiara is that if you’re looking for your prince, you better have a lot of luck on your side, and if you have a royal friend with a spare hottie for a cousin, that couldn’t hurt either. The key to writing any fantasy is first grounding it in reality so that it seems plausible–the reader has to believe that the story could happen, despite any extravagant circumstances, because momentarily suspending a sense of disbelief doesn’t seem too farfetched. Ordinary Girl in a Tiara fails to do this, instead giving its audience a flat, uninteresting story that’s been beaten and killed so many times that it’s now part of the zombie apocalypse.

Perhaps the figment of a plot wouldn’t be so unbearable if the characters themselves actually seemed like real people. After all, everyone can enjoy a happy ending if the characters seem deserving enough and went through hell to get there. For the characters in Ordinary Girl in a Tiara, though, a perfect life is handed to them on a silver platter. Caro is your standard heroine, selfless and kind-hearted, with a few quirks (she likes vintage clothes), but doesn’t really seem to have her life together. Logically, the presence of a man could improve her situation, and she’s desperately looking for her prince to rescue her from, well, herself. When she agrees to be Phillipe’s fake girlfriend, she finds that–amazingly–he’s not a self-absorbed, materialistic rich guy, but sensitive, down-to-earth, and environmentally-friendly too! Caro is able to charm everyone, despite having no sense of etiquette or high-class behavior, and Phillipe makes all the right moves to assure her that his love is, in fact, real. It’s true that people tend to read to escape their daily lives, but it’s hard to escape into a world where everyone is so perfect and life comes so easily. Real people have flaws and make stupid mistakes all the time.

Ordinary Girl in a Tiara

Shopping for cheese: the most dangerous thing you can do in Montluce.

Ordinary Girl in a Tiara models everything you want to avoid in a shoujo or josei series. It lacks any substance in its story or characters, and on top of that it’s audience is microscopic. Any genre, when done right, can appeal to just about anyone, but this work chooses to appeal to a limited set of women with childish and unrealistic expectations of the world. In fact, it’s a little insulting to anyone with mature, adult tastes, and its traditional view on women and relationships is jaded and over-played. In a world where women have come so far (and still have a long ways to go), it’s difficult to comprehend why anyone would want to go backwards, and that’s what Ordinary Girl in a Tiara represents.


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