V. B. Rose 1

Yay, I finally decided to read a Banri Hidaka series!  I think I would have rather tried out “I Hate You More Than Anyone” first, but neither of the CMX series were in stock at the store where I saw this, so I settled.  Not that this sounds at all bad.  It’s got a really unique premise, sort of like Beauty Pop and its hairstylists.  This time, the main character is a fashion designer (a really cool hobby/profession/skill that seems surprisingly underused in manga for how awesome it is), and she is drawn into a boutique that only designs wedding dresses.  It’s a great premise, plus the covers are pretty.  What more could I want?

I was nearly lost in the sort of vague mess that is the main character’s relationship with her sister.  She blows up at her on the first few pages for getting pregnant and marrying her long-time boyfriend, a guy who is apparently very plain and sort of lame.  Prior to this, her and her sister had been very close, but a lot of the volume is the main character alternating between being angry and apologetic towards her sister, and her sister just taking it passively.  It goes to great lengths to explain that both sisters rely on each other, but it’s sort of generic stuff, and a bit hard to sit through when the rest of it is so good.

The main character starts out as a handbag designer, or really, just someone who likes making cool handbags for her friends and sister as presents.  She apparently is somewhat well-known in the area since she always adds her signature butterfly to her creations, and eventually her reputation catches up with her when she is spotted by/runs into two men who run a custom wedding gown shop… the same two men who are making her sister’s dress, of course.  I’m not too fond of either of the men at the moment, but the fact that they make custom wedding gowns goes a long way to endear me to them.

So far, so good.  I’m not sure where things will go after the sister’s wedding dress is finished, and I’m not sure if I want the main character to stay with dresses, start making her own accessories (likely wedding-themed to go with the shop she now works at), or both.  It’s a great plot, and so far I like it a lot.


11 Comments on “V. B. Rose 1”

  1. Anna says:

    I’ll be interested to see if you like the series overall. I didn’t like I Hate You More Than Anyone very much, so I’m curious to see if it is worth giving Hidaka another try.

  2. [...] checks out vol. 16 of The Wallflower at Comics Village. Connie reviews vol. 13 of Iron Wok Jan and vol. 1 of V.B. Rose at Slightly Biased Manga. Tangognat takes a quick look at vol. 4 of High School Debut and vol. 13 [...]

  3. jun says:

    I haven’t started this one, but I have read some of Tears of a Lamb. I really like the building friendship between the two leads and especially how their consideration for each other is shown rather than told. Too often, though, it relies on violence as humor, with one character getting bopped quite frequently. Is that still the case with V. B. Rose?

  4. ame says:

    i’m addicted to i hate you more than anyone. vb rose is my second fave. and tears of a lamb was an absolute bore to get through. i hesitate to read vol.2 of that one.

  5. Connie says:

    Jun – There isn’t too much violence-as-humor right now. Some of the jokes are coming from the fact the lead is rubbed the wrong way a bit by one of the dressmakers, but they don’t bop one another, at least not yet. I’m worried about it now that you mention it, but I think there’s less of a chance since the two dressmakers are older than the main character and they’d have to have a pretty comfortable relationship for the comedic shots to the head to start.

    Anna – Really? I’d heard some good things about IHYMTA, but it didn’t really seem to stand out above others, so I was kind of hoping it was at least well-done shoujo romance. I’ll have to read your review of it.

  6. jun says:

    I think Julie at Manga Maniac Cafe has also done some reviews. Up to volume 5, perhaps. I think her main complaint is that the story seems to be spinning its wheels and going nowhere.

  7. Connie says:

    Ame – What was it that was so boring about Tears of a Lamb compared to the other ones? Was it just the plot that was worse?

    Jun – Ah, thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I’ll probably still wind up getting it, but I think it’s moved down priority a bit.

  8. lys says:

    Ooh, I just wanted to get in on this with my own thoughts. I’ll try to hold back from raving fangirlism, but I’m also a huge fan of IHYMTA (and Hidaka Banri in general). Now, I loved the series from the very first chapter, so I don’t quite know what to say to people who have read the first volume and didn’t care for it… but I do think the story has a lot of depth and interesting relationships the farther you get into it (and between many characters, not just the protagonist and love interest… which can be awesome if you like the characters, or annoying if you just want to see what happens with the main leads) that make it worthwhile.

    Like Ame, I enjoy VBR a lot too (second to IHY). (to Connie, I think I agreed with you about the guys after the first volume, but as of vol3 I like them both a lot more). I was a lot less interested in Tears of a Lamb, but, again, after three volumes it’s winning me over (it might be seeing the characters’ friendship develop and learning more about the oft-hinted-at backstory… the plot actually seems a lot more directed than in her other works, which just seem to roll along here and there (not that that’s bad either), but maybe because of that the “good stuff” comes later on rather than right up front). It’s also fun to be reading three series by the same author at once, because I start to notice common themes between her works (ideas of family, friendship, silly phrases she uses like “my heart’s oasis”…)

    Anyway, I was happy to see your review. It seems like all three series are somewhat neglected but I’m glad to find other readers enjoying the work!

  9. Connie says:

    Thanks for the info, it’s good to get perspective from someone who’s a fan, too. I figured she must be pretty good in order to get three series running in the US at once, so I’m kind of surprised by the general lukewarm reaction. I think I’m probably going to pick up the second volume of V.B. Rose on Monday (together with Pretty Poison, which I was silly to have left in the store without buying, it’s one of the few LuvLuv titles and I’d like to support it), and I’ve got the first two volumes of IHYMTA coming in the mail. I don’t mind slow plot development if the payoff is good… I’m reading Angel Sanctuary right now and that series didn’t start to get really good until around volume 8.

  10. ame says:

    with tears of a lamb i had to really work at concentrating on it. i basically forced myself to read it. and it took a long time. well, a couple of days to work through the whole thing. maybe i’ll try to read it again to see what it was exactly that made it such a chore… But you know how sometimes a manga can work really hard at trying to get u to care about the characters and as hard as You try you just can’t…care? i ran into this problem with lamb. it took too long to get to the point. and then when we got there i was still like…umm okay? i don’t know, maybe it gets better….i think i’ll give it another shot. but it’ll be a make or break situation.

  11. Connie says:

    Wow. Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m not sure why nothing is springing to mind right now, but I’ve read a ton of series where I just couldn’t be bothered to care much about the characters. Can’t Lose You is a great example, but a lot of other people seem to like that one.

    For some reason, Tears of a Lamb never caught my eye. I don’t think I’ll pick it up unless I wind up really getting into both the other series, or if I see it supercheap somewhere. Seven volumes isn’t a bad length, so if I wind up feeling sort of ambivalent about it, at least I won’t be drug along for 23 volumes.


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