This is yet another article looking at From Eroica With Love supplemental material. For the index, go here.

Since I made it through all of the From Eroica With Love spinoffs and the series still hasn’t been license rescued, I’m going to move on to the artbooks and supplementary volumes. I could do this for years. Someone had better step in and stop me.

Plus Ultra is more or less the Yasuko Aoike artbook. As you will find out, there are dozens of others, but this is the coffee table book, the largest one with the most pages, covering the largest number of series and the longest time period. Two editions of this book exist. The earlier one features a cover image of a rainy BMW hood, and comes with a CD-ROM with the images on it. The one here is a later edition issued a little less than 10 years later, and as far as I know the only difference is the cover and CD-ROM.

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The Eroicaverse: Z

April 20, 2012

This is fifth in a series of articles exploring From Eroica With Love and its spinoffs. For the index, go here.

I’ve already talked about The Marksman, which was a hard-boiled spy thriller starring Klaus. I mentioned I thought it came before this work, because The Marksman is basically just like the Z stories here, only moreso. More serious, beautifully drawn, plotted more tightly, and it shows off the professional life of the Major the same way Z does for Agent Z. It was Z that came first, though, and I suppose that makes sense, because everything in these stories went into the Marksman later.

Agent Z is introduced in the From Eroica With Love Story Insha’Allah in volume 3 of the series. Prior to that story, much like Agent G, he was introduced in another series, in this case one named for him. Z is a series of six stories that cover six different missions, each showing a different aspect of what it’s like to train as a rookie agent under Major Eberbach.

The first Z story ran in the August 1979 issue of LaLa Magazine, a Hakusensha magazine. Again, it’s interesting to me that Aoike was allowed to share her characters among different publishers, since Z never pretends to be anything but a From Eroica With Love spinoff, and Eroica was being printed at Akita Shoten at the time. Z appeared in LaLa one month before he made his debut in From Eroica With Love, so all the heavy commentary about him being the new agent makes more sense when you realize another series is being promoted.

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This is the sixth in a series of articles discussing From Eroica With Love and its spinoffs. For the index, go here.

I’m cheating a bit this time around, since I’ve skipped the next sequel chronologically. It reads like a longer, more polished version of this story, so I assumed this came first and the other followed. Not so, but the stories are similar, and I can talk about the other next time.

Der Freischütz (or The Marksman, or Madan no Shashu, or 魔弾の射手) appeared in Princess Magazine in 1982, in the August-September issues. It interrupted the regular serialization of From Eroica With Love, and comes between Seven Days in September and The Laughing Cardinals. The Marksman is a 100-page story about one of Major Eberbach’s missions, completely free of the usual humor found in the main series. It is, quite literally, a hard-boiled spy thriller starring Klaus. I was initially a little confused as to why a non-tankoubon-length story wasn’t simply included in one of the From Eroica With Love volumes as part of the main series, especially since it has everything to do with one of the main characters, but… it really is quite different in tone, and I can see why it’s considered a separate story.

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The Eroicaverse: El Halcon

February 3, 2012

This is the fourth in a series of articles discussing From Eroica With Love and its spinoffs. For the index, go here.

Continuing on with the theme of pirate manga, the next From Eroica With Love spinoff chronologically is El Halcon – The Hawk. It ran in Seventeen magazine from October 1977-February 1978, and once again focuses on Tyrian Persimmon and his naval exploits in the late 16th century. It is a prequel to Seven Seas, Seven Skies, and it attempts to make a more sympathetic character of the cold and calculating character in the earlier work. Flashbacks to an unhappy childhood are interspersed through a story that begins with his first officer assignment and continues as Tyrian gains more power through the English Navy, hoping to one day defect to Spain. Does it succeed in making him a sympathetic character? It’s hard to like Tyrian, but his life story is dramatic, swashbuckling, and lavishly illustrated, so it makes for a great read.

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This is my week for an Eroica post, but unfortunately the further adventures of The Man in Purple will have to wait, as I have no scanner nor access to my volumes of El Halcon. Instead, please enjoy some seasonal scarf yanking. Well, mostly scarves.

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This is the third in a series of articles discussing From Eroica With Love and its spinoffs. For the index, go here.

You know, there aren’t enough pirate manga out there. There’s One Piece, of course, and one might argue that it’s so good that we don’t need other pirate manga. But when you combine pirates with From Eroica With Love, how can the results be anything less than fabulous?

The link to From Eroica With Love is once again very concrete, though I suspect that’s only because Aoike was cross-promoting the series and gave the Eroica characters a reason to discuss Seven Seas, Seven Skies. The main characters are the “ancestors” of Dorian and Klaus, and are drawn to look exactly like them (moreso than usual). “The Man in Purple,” a contentious painting in From Eroica With Love, is a portrait of Tyrian Persimmon, the character in this series. The characters seem to share some traits in common with Dorian and Klaus, too, and the series shares a kind of romantic heroism that From Eroica With Love possesses. But it’s not really a prequel, simply related.

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Eroicaverse 2: Sons of Eve

October 21, 2011

This is the first in a series of articles talking about From Eroica With Love and related series. For the index, go here.

Continuing my look at the work of Yasuko Aoike, specifically the numerous series she’s done related to From Eroica With Love, this series is actually what should be the first stop. Allman Stories is a precursor to this, but Sons of Eve is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of Aoike’s modern body of work. In fact, aside from the recent 5-volume Yasuko Aoike Collection reprints, it seems like her work prior to Sons of Eve doesn’t exist, and is omitted from most bibliographies.

Sons of Eve ran from March 1976-August 1979 in Princess magazine. It ran concurrently with From Eroica With Love until approximately the “Dramatic Spring” storyline of that series, though Eroica was running in the quarterly Viva Princess until Sons of Eve finished. Sons of Eve came first, and was definitely an early precursor to Eroica. The zaniness in the first volume of Eroica is a toned-down version of Sons of Eve, complete with a cameo from the three main characters in the first chapter.

And when I say “toned down zaniness,” I mean… really, really toned down. As silly as that first volume of Eroica is, it’s nothing compared to the insanity in Sons of Eve.

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