Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Manga Review: V.B.Rose Volume 7

Banri Hidaka's V.B. Rose began running in 2004, and in Japan the series has made it to 14 volumes. Here in the States, however, Tokyopop is still working their way through the romance series and today we're looking at the seventh installment. In case you're unfamiliar with this series all you really need to know is that it's a romance about a girl named Ageha and a bridal shop owner named Arisaka. This has been a slow burn from the beginning and it's one of those romances that is taking its sweet time coming about. You get a snippet here and there, but major developments are often few and far between. This installment pushes things forward somewhat, but in a direction that's a little different than readers may expect.

Volume seven opens with Arisaka and Ageha celebrating their birthday together. It's a cute enough scene as the two get to know each other better and watch fireworks, but nothing big comes about. It's evident that they care for each other though neither takes the next step and spills their guts about their feelings. As a reader this is kind of frustrating, but I'm sure Hidaka intended for it to be that way for the characters as well. It leaves Ageha questioning their relationship and she even has to go to her schoolmates for advice in how to approach things or handle situations. Meanwhile Arisaka gets grief from his friends and business partner as well.

Complicating matters this time around Kana Hirose shows up to the show. She's introduced as a corsage maker, but she's actually more than that to Arisaka. Let's just say that her appearance is enough to make Ageha uncomfortable. More than Kana's past with Arisaka leaves her character standing out because she has quite the attitude and contrasts the characters we've come to know. How the two could have had a relationship is beyond me, but it's enough to make Ageha's head spin and thoughts drift, so it's entertaining enough.

The questioning about their relationship goes on for a while as both Ageha and Arisaka lose themselves in their own thoughts. Just as the volume begins to wind down and come to a close, however, something happens that turns the story on its head. I don't want to give it away since it's such a big turnabout, but let's just say that someone steps forward and expresses feelings. Maybe it's who you think, and maybe it's not. All I know is I wasn't expecting it and the next installment should be very interesting because of it.

As always Hidaka's artwork is top notch. Each panel is full of detail with nice backgrounds when necessary and solid character designs. I must say that Arisaka's appearance still confounds me though. He's almost too girlish for his own good, though I suppose the manager of a bridal boutique should be somewhat.

All around the seventh installment of V.B. Rose will keep fans happy. There are enough developments between Ageha and Arisaka here to string you along, the appearance of Kana is welcome, and the surprise at the end brings about an interesting climax. We'll see how things resolve themselves in the eighth volume, but for now consider this one easily recommended if you enjoyed any of the previous releases.

Maki Rating:

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