Saturday, October 17, 2015

Manga Review: Black Rose Alice, Volume 5, by Setona Mizushiro

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Volumes: 6 (Hiatus)
Spoilers?: Some.
Volume: 1. 4. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dimitri Lewandowski is a celebrated tenor in early 1900s Vienna. When he is killed in an accident, his corpse is colonized by the seeds of a vampire master. At first, Dimitri denies that anything has changed, but as the people around him start dying, he is forced to accept the ghastly truth.

Flash-forward to 2008. In Tokyo, Alice thinks she has fully adapted to her role in Dimitri’s nest and is carefully considering which vampire to propagate with. But when the man she loved when she was Azusa shows up one day, her carefully constructed acceptance starts to crumble…


I’ve realized what it is about Mizushiro’s artwork that stands out. The general look of it is pretty, but more angular than some, I think. But she portrays so much more in expressions and movements, instead of words. There is much less talk, because every character is so expressive, and it’s clear what they’re feeling. When they're upset, and when they notice something.
In this volume, the boy from Azusa’s previous life shows up, and he immediately feels different about Alice, like he knows her. This is hard on Alice, his persistence that he knows her, his obsession. But mostly I feel bad for him. He’s stuck on Azusa, feeling guilty for surviving the accident. And he feels like Alice is Azusa, but she keeps sending him mixed messages; one moment she denies it, the next she agrees, and back again. In the end, he just needs to get over Azusa.
And while all this is happening, the twins and Dimitri are trying to let her do as she wants. Not wanting her to leave them, and yet trying not to push. It’s clear that Alice has feelings for Dimitri the most, but she’s denying it, and he’s making it hard on her. And then the twins are trying, mostly Kai pushing Reiji on Alice. I like the twins a lot, and I hope we get to know more about them. It seems like something from the past is going to be coming up soon, though.
This series is just so good. It dark and quiet and intense. It’s unafraid of being graphic. I’m looking forward to the next one, even if we’re going to be on hiatus after that.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, and Erik Jansen from MediaLab PR. Thank you so, so much!

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