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Black Rose Alice And Spell Of Desire Volume 1 Manga Reviews

Black Rose Alice Volume 1 Manga Spell of Desire Volume 1 Manga

“Black Rose Alice” offers up some interesting plot twists while “Spell of Desire” is a fairly routine manga story.

In the first volume of “Black Rose Alice,” the story begins in Vienna, 1908. During this time period, we learn that a singer (Dimitri) is jealous that the woman that he loves (Celeste Aginieszka) is engaged to another man (Theodore). To add further complications to Dimitri’s life, he becomes involved in a tragic accident. When he awakens, he learns from a mysterious man (Maximilian) that he actually died in the accident and has since become a vessel for a deceased vampire master (Bradley). As you can imagine, Dimitri struggles with his newfound “self” all while people around him begin to die. To make matters more tragic, Dimitri learns that vampires are forbidden to make love or else they will die. After a game changing moment (which I won’t reveal), the story jumps ahead to Tokyo, 2008 where Dimitri appears before a student (Azusa) to save her boyfriend’s life (Koya) in exchange for…something I won’t reveal here.

Despite succumbing to the usual manga pitfalls ala the “life turned upside down” story angle and the love triangle melodrama, author/artist Setona Mizushiro’s “Black Rose Alice” shows promise. While the story could easily become just another vampire tale, Mizushiro’s 4 chapter first volume takes some interesting directions with the time jump, the unique spin on vampire mythos, Dimitri’s character arc, and yes, even the visually interesting inclusion of spiders.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this particular manga series is that it generally feels fresh. Having read (and seen) many shows and films where the plot’s path becomes evident early on, it’s refreshing to see a story like “Black Rose Alice” that doesn’t go where you think it will. On top of that, I admired how the story moves forward at a brisk pace. As I’ve said many times, pacing is everything. There’s nothing worse than a story that fails to progress.

Throughout the first 5 chapters of the first volume of “Spell of Desire,” readers are introduced to Koko, a single, lonely, herbal shop owner who meets a charming Knight/Protector named Kaname. However, Kaname actually serves Koko’s mother Reiko (a great black witch) and has been assigned to protect Koko as she possesses some of her mother’s powers. Naturally, Koko (who hasn’t seen her mother in many years) is shocked to learn about her family’s witch history not to mention the powers that she never knew about. Under the guidance of Kaname, Koko begins to learn about the coven, her witch powers, the rules of magic, as well as how to control her powers. Among the other key plotlines in this volume: Koko predictably falling for Kaname, Koko rescuing a kitten, herbal shop business, Koko’s childhood friend Yu, and Koko becoming ill.

Koko’s quote “My world’s been turned upside down” pretty much sums up the entirety of “Spell of Desire.” Author/artist Tomu Ohmi’s manga series is standard magic girl material that is rife with sexual tension, magic, witches, family secrets, cutesy creatures (namely Kaname’s pets Dragon and Unicorn), LOADS of exposition, and a groan worthy plot device that just so happens to involve kissing.

For manga readers of a younger age, “Spell of Desire” will be positively heavenly as that is clearly the target demographic here. Adult manga readers will find very little of value outside of Tomu Ohmi’s skilled character drawings and unique page layout. Granted, you could make a case that the inevitable interaction between Koko and her mother Reiko could potentially be of interest, but that element alone isn’t enough to keep reading more of this silly series.

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September 14, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , ,

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