Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shojo A Go-Go: Black Rose Alice

If you want to know what's going on here,then go here and read that. If you're too lazy to do that then stay confused because I'm not going to explain.

Black Rose Alice is a vampire manga sitting squarely in that stale genre of supernatural romance. I was not going to pick this up because the only genuinely good thing to come out of this craze is Diabolik Lovers. Then I read a short review in a certain magazine that praised this and bashed Diabolik Lovers. In my incredibly petty mind that sounded like a challenge and I was all for accepting it. So I picked this up and was going to give it a fair a chance as I could,. Too bad it's an awful introduction to a series.

The story concerns a very unattractive man,Dmitri, becoming a vampire and him accidentally killing his lover because they need something tragic for him to dwell on for hundreds of years. Then we fast forward to 2008 and get involved in a tragic and dull student/teacher romantic relationship that gets to tie into Dmitri's sure to be convoluted plans.

Dmitri is your brooding anti-hero, that looks conventionally like the teacher's,Azusa, student lover. No doubt this will make events more complicated down the road,if I cared to travel that road. We do learn a bit about the bigger players but nothing suggesting more depth or personalty outside of what we see. I'll give it credit in that it actually starts with Dmitri pre-vampire and explains how we arrived there. However it takes too much time to explain how we got there that Dmitri loses an air of mystery about him that could have kept interest in him. We're left wondering nothing about how Dmitiri become who he is or what makes him tick. We're left with characters that aren't fun to follow and offer nothing to suggest that this will change.

The story as mentioned sucks out what little mystery there is to go on with a dry set-up that just flat out explains everything. From the author's set of vampire rules to Azusa's long drawn out motivations for dating a high school boy. Yeah the whole mess ends on a crazy Faustian bargain that could add something interesting but since everything is laid out clearly it leaves no suspense. You know how this is going to play out,so why read?

Nothing much else to say about this one,it has nothing that hints something interesting is ever going to happen nor does anything interesting happen in it. Diabolk Lovers actually used a vampire plot to showcase the inner workings of abusive relationships. Black Rose Alice does nothing with what could be an okay idea. Go ahead and skip this one.

Shojo a Go-Go Baby!

Frequent readers will know that I am not one for finishing what I start. Maybe this is to do with some deep seated issue or maybe I'm just lazy. Either way I'm starting this new series that takes advantage of said laziness. This also takes advantage of the fact that I frequently buy the first volumes of manga and never buy the remaining volumes.So for this series I get to use my false sense of superiority and cold-heated snark to look at the first volumes of various shojo manga.

Why Shojo manga specifically,because it's how I first got into manga as a whole. I was enthralled with the covers of the very few manga magazines,Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump, that were available to me. While the magazines themselves have disappeared due to a number of reasons Wikipedia can tell you,they still live on as manga publishers. Maybe it's blind nostalgia but that iconic pink “SB” is just that,iconic. It litters the shelves of my local bookstore's manga section and is probably what will be noticed first by most.

With this series,Shojo a Go-Go, I'm taking the first volumes of manga published under the Shojo Beat label and give my thoughts on whether they are worth following up on. Is this a tad bit unfair,probably. I mean some series that turn out great may have a weak start. However,the first volume should get you interested enough to continue reading. The opposite could also be true and a story with a stellar premise could turn into a train wreak. However what happens after the first volume isn't really the point here, that will be covered else where if the need arises.

The few arbitrary rules for what appears here are as follows:

  • The manga must be published under the Shojo Beat label
  • There is no cut-off date
  • No ones shots,I have another series for that.

In short,this is me making educated guesses based on gut feelings and taking pot shots at a major publishing label whilst still avoiding talking about anything of real meaning. Feed back,suggestions and angry rants can be left in the comments below. The first posting should follow shortly after this,but as usual no promises