Tuesday, November 2, 2010

V.B. Rose Volume 10

By Banri Hidaka. Released in Japan by Hakusensha, serialized in the magazine Hana to Yume. Released in North America by Tokyopop.

One of my favorite shoujo series hits double digits, and to celebrate we finally get another plot point wrapped up, as Yukari's backstory is revealed. Ran, Yukari's mother, showed up in the last volume, and is revealed here to be a full-bore ditz, something that Hidaka-san seems to specialize in for some reason. She's a lot of fun to read about, but probably not someone fun to be raised by, as we discover here when she tells Ageha her backstory.

Ran's story bugged me a little, but it's not specific to this title, but to anime in general. Certainly it's clear that some people are not cut out to be mothers (we learned that in Bunny Drop earlier as well), but I do wonder at the easy tendency to forgive that many anime characters have. Yukari does not seem to have been particularly bothered by his past with his mother beyond the fact that her never appearing before him again left him with a feeling of unfinished business. We, however, are left with a certain feeling of 'that's it?'. Now, Ran is a minor character, and so this is not as much of an issue as it is in some other series, where characters being easily forgiven has led to a certain amount of hate in fandom. But it is interesting - part of what makes your hero and heroine so nice is that they have such a large heart, I guess.

About 3/4 of this volume is taken up with that storyline (and I'd like to note that Hidaka-san has done a great job since the Akiyoshi days of spreading out her story and giving the art more space to breathe. Hana to Yume series in general tend towards the cluttered, but I Hate You More Than Anyone! could get excessively so. V.B. Rose feels just right), with the rest given to a fluffy fanservice chapter where Ageha gets her hair done by Kazuha, who has shown up at the store with Maki and their child in tow. I suspect those who never read her earlier series will be a bit startled by Kazuha decking Maki with a heavy floor lamp - V.B. Rose has never quite had the violent content of its predecessor - but trust me, this is typical.

Essentially, this new volume of V.B. Rose provides what we want from the series - lots of pretty people, an excessive amount of fashion, a lot of over-the-top humor, and some occasional sweet romance. It looks like next volume will be another big flashback, judging by the preview, where we'll see how Yukari met Mitsuya in high school, and why these two are friends despite their polar opposite personalities. Can't wait.

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