Title: Silver Diamond
By: Sugiura Shiho
Serialized in: Ichiraci
Status: Ongoing, 12 volumes+
Warning: mild violence, very light hints of BL
Overall rating: 9/10
Sawa Rakan was an ordinary high school boy who lived alone in a house surrounded by mysteriously overly-healthy trees and plants, and who made a habit of giving people from his school flowers to control the overgrowth from his garden. Life was peaceful for Rakan until one day, after school, he finds a dark-haired man in his backyard... who then proceeds to point a wooden(?!) gun at him!
SENROU CHIGUSA: The manga begins with Chigusa in his attempts to assasinate The Prince. Somehow, after his failed attempt at the assassination, he ends up in Rakan's world and backyard. At first, he is hostile towards Rakan, who bears the face of the Prince, but as he finds out about Rakan's powers, he decides that Rakan is "Sanome"; a person with the innate power to grow any seed into full bloom regardless of terrain. Thereafter, he decides that Rakan is not only precious, but that he needs the boy's powers. He seems to develop a genuine fondness towards Rakan, as a result of the boy's kind-hearted nature. He is also straightforward to a fault, making comments that would be considered wrong normally ("I followed your scent." ch 2, p 31).
SAWA RAKAN: A kind-hearted and gentle young man. Despite their awkward first meeting, Rakan treats Chigusa kindly, and this kindness allows Chigusa to completely diffrentiate him from the Prince of his world, who incidentally bears a very striking resemblance to Rakan! As a Sanome, Rakan had unknowingly possessed the power to make plants and trees grow at an abnormal, magical, rate. This was the reason the trees and flowers in his garden grew too healthily. According to Rakan's now-deceased grandfather, his mother and him were from another world, and that his grandfather had found them in the garden fifteen years ago (much like Rakan finds Chigusa). This was something Rakan had never taken seriously, until Chigusa's introduction into his life. As a result of living alone for sometime following the deaths of his mother and his grandfather, Rakan is very capable of living independently; pays the rent, cooks, and does all the housework himself. He is also extremely oblivious to female advances, much to his female school/classmates' disappointment.
SHIGEKA NARUSHIGE: As a member of the Shigeka family, Narushige should have been born a woman, but, as a man, he is useless to their household. He has a snake named Kou, who can turn into a sword at his request, as his companion and friend. On a summons to the Capital, Narushige finds himself sucked into a swirling portal... and into Rakan's backyard. He calls Chigusa a traitor, and mistakes Rakan for the Prince (as Chigusa did), at their first meeting. Like Chigusa, he stays his sword when he realizes Rakan is Sanome. He is concerned for what he perceives to be Rakan's naivete.
KOU: Narushige's talking, turns-into-a-sword, snake companion. He is protective of Narushige, and according to the Shigeka, possesses a venom that has no antidote. He has a cheerful disposition... for a snake.
KINGEN KINREI: This dark-skinned, blond-haired young man is The Prince's assistant. He seems to be the Prince's mouthpiece as well, relaying the Prince's message to the people of Chigusa's world with his own voice.
THE PRINCE: The mysterious being who is supposedly the ruler, and most powerful being, of Chigusa's world. He bears a striking resemblance to Rakan, but only in outward appearance; as Narushige notes, The Prince is nowhere as animated as Rakan.
Sugiura Shiho is obviously capable of making an interesting story if she were allowed to publish twenty-four volumes of her previous work, Ice Cold Demon's Tale. Having said that, Silver Diamond has an interesting premise; it's almost like the Prince and the Pauper... with a twist, a lot of twists, and then sprinkled with humor, equally interesting characters, and pretty illustrations. I can't say much without giving it all away, but if I could describe Silver Diamond's story in two words, it would be "simple" and "clean". Ignoring the very obvious reference to a certain Hikki song, Sugiura Shiho doesn't make anything too complicated. She has many characters, yes, and does include plenty of background, but it is never convoluted.
Let it be known that Sugiura Shiho must love making characters. She has a lot... a lot more than you find in a shoujo manga. The good thing is that, even if a lot of these characters don't enjoy as much time in the limelight as the others, they all seem to have been thought up well, at least, possessing a background that distinguishes them from the masses, and even adds to what we already know about the other world's background at times. Of course, the main characters are the most interesting lot, and the ones really driving the story. It must be noted that the conversations and interactions between the characters - most certainly Rakan, Narushige, Kou and Chigusa - are always interesting and amusing to watch. Sugiura has a very good grip of her characters, and writes their conversations well, providing a certain voice to them.
This is where Silver Diamond falls a bit. The art itself is beautiful, especially the colored illustrations. The black and white illustrations are consistent to her style. However, the characters resemble each other a little bit too much, at times, in the face. Obviously, Sugiura carefully made sure to differentiate everyone by their hair, and skin color, and though it succeeds for the most part (I can most certainly differentiate from the characters), one cannot help but still notice the resemblances. For example, Narushige, Chigusa and Kinrei seem to share the very same facial structure, and though it's true that there are expressions they certainly don't share, one could probably take one of those three's pictures, edit it to make their hair more like another, and succeed with passing it off as another character. Thankfully, this doesn't detract at all from the experience Silver Diamond delivers.
This manga is a very good read, especially if you're looking for something only slightly BL that focuses more on the plot/story. It rarely - if ever- crosses the lines of comfort; that is, there are no kissing, or anything much explicit, romantically. There is of course some mild violence, but never so much that it could be considered disgusting; Sugiura's style doesn't allow that kind of detail. In fact, I'd say Silver Diamond is mild in many aspects, and though it is run in Ichiraci which focuses on shounen-ai serieses, the BL element of this series could be shrugged off in the meantime.
Volume 1 | sendspace | 28 MB
Volume 2 | sendspace | 28 MB
Volume 3 | sendspace | 34 MB
Volume 4 | sendspace | 28 MB
Volume 5 | sendspace | 23 MB
Volume 6 | sendspace | 23 MB
Volume 7 | sendspace | 28 MB
Chapter 22 | sendspace | 9.5 MB
Currenly, it's licensed by Tokyopop, with release scheduled sometime in late 2008. Please support the manga by buying it when it comes out in English ♥ Btw, Uber thanks to CaruCaru for helping with editing it a bit ♥
*note: BL stands for Boy's Love, and is another term for shounen-ai, in general. Technically, yaoi can be termed as BL as well, but a yaoi serieses very often has explicit sex depicted. Silver Diamond is most definitely not yaoi.