Black Rose Alice 1
February 13, 2015
Setona Mizushiro – Viz – 2014 – 6 volumes
I love Setona Mizushiro pretty much unconditionally. I would read anything she wrote, and she rarely disappoints me. Little of her work makes it into English, though. I’ve been expecting this one for years, as it goes with the vampire shoujo vibe that tends to be pretty popular, and it’s AWESOME. I think its late arrival may have something to do with the fact it’s published by Akita. Very little of their series make it into English anymore, and what little has made it out here is mostly incomplete. I think Battle Royale is probably one of the bigger exceptions, but even that’s way out of print.
Black Rose Alice offers a slight twist to the vampire story. Dimitri “dies” in Vienna in 1900, but his life is saved by the parasitic insect companion of a local vampire (this is difficult to explain well, it’s much smoother than that). Dimitri basically wakes back up from the dead, but isn’t himself. Turns out his profession kills people, and his personality is reverting to that of the master vampire that saved him. He winds up turning against his friends/family, and seeking solace as the strongest vampire in the neighborhood.
Flash-forward to the present. Azusa is a teacher in an ill-advised relationship with one of her students. While trying to break it off, they are both killed. Dimitri saves the soul of her young love in exchange for hers, who he puts into the body of his old lover.
This is some gothic, soapy stuff. First rate. But as I said, it also offers an alternate take on normal vampire powers. These vampires use their powers through insect familiars. The soul is saved, or stolen, using bugs. Life energy tends to be what they feed on, and their methods for obtaining it are sometimes novel. Also, they “propagate” using the insects, and once they do so, they will die.
Dimitri is a rather distant, hard character right now, and I’m curious to see how he’ll interact with the new woman in his former lover’s body. He hasn’t shown much personality post-change. I’m actually curious how everyone will react to this situation, because it’s a really weird one.
I’m definitely on board for this whole ride.