Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: Black Rose Alice Volume 5

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Black Rose Alice Volume 5 focuses on Dimitri, a celebrated tenor from early 1900s Vienna who becomes a vampire after he’s killed in an accident. He is forced to flee after causing countless deaths, which includes killing his adopted brother. His brother’s fiancée, Agnieszka, tries to take her own life, but her body is kept alive even though her soul has already fled. Dimitri takes Agnieszka’s body with him. The story jumps ahead in time 100 years and the setting moves to Japan, where 16-year-old Koya and his teacher, Azusa, are in a relationship. The two end up in an accident, and Azusa gives up her soul to Dimitri in order to save Koya’s life. Azusa’s soul revives Agnieszka, who now goes by the name of Alice. She must now consider which vampire in Dimitri’s nest she wants to propagate with.

Black Rose Alice Volume 5

Black Rose Alice Volume 5

Written by: Setona Mizushiro
Publisher: Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Volume 5 opens with Alice encountering Koya at the café run by two of the vampires in the nest, and she recognizes him from Azusa’s memories. It’s been two years, and Koya has changed considerably in that time. Alice finds herself wanting to see Koya again, but when she does, it becomes awkward when it seems Koya has guessed that she has some kind of connection to Azusa.

Much of Black Rose Alice Volume 5 focuses on the tension that develops for Alice. For much of the volume, this tension is connected to Koya as she’s confused about Azusa’s feelings for Koya and her own feelings for the vampires that she lives with. But even after this particular part of the storyline is resolved, the tension doesn’t ease at all. In fact, it increases as the vampires learn what happened between Alice and Koya. This tension escalates to one of the vampires leaving, and the set of twins not entirely trusting one another.

Near the end of the volume, one of the twins seems to be starting to regain his memory about his and his brother’s life from before they became vampires. This revelation only adds to the tension and jealousy this particular twin has already been feeling toward his brother’s closeness with Alice.

Black Rose Alice Volume 5 is a very intense read. However, I was so interested in what was happening with the story and the characters that the tension that built throughout it didn’t make me want to put the volume down. The developments in this volume create significant changes for the characters and the story, but I think long time readers of the series will read this part of the story and have a lot of anticipation as the tension builds.

When it comes to the art, much of it doesn’t look quite as detailed as the drawings in the first volume where the scenes took place in the 1900s. However, I have to give Mizushiro credit for the drawings of Dimitri, because his distinct look has stayed consistent since Volume 1. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about most of the other characters that appear in Black Rose Alice Volume 5. But even with some of the character design weaknesses that appear in this series, Mizushiro does a great job at capturing intense emotions in the characters’ facial expressions. It’s especially impressive when you realize just how many intense emotions had to be drawn in this volume due to all of the tension in the story.

Long time readers of the series should find a lot to interest them in Black Rose Alice Volume 5. The intensity of the story, as well as the major changes that result from all of the tension in this volume, help to take the series to a new level.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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