Synopsis: A, A Prime is a trilogy of romantic stories that are contrastingly sci-fi in nature. 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...
Review: 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. 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. A good grasp of scientific principles is evident in the way the stories are written. At the same time, A, A Prime manages to be emotionally charged. Ms. Hagio pulls off quite a feat, and she pushes it to the limit. The art is good, albeit quite different from what most of us are used to. As I've mentioned earlier, A, A Prime contains some homosexual themes. Not to worry though, it's all tackled in a very tasteful manner, which is another positive point.
A, A Prime is a must-read, more so if you love sci-fi.
Miscellanies: Ms. Moto Hagio is considered as one of the founding mothers of shoujo manga.