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V.B. Rose, Volume 1

Review

V.B. Rose, Volume 1

Scores of little girls dream of weddings as soon as they realize that there is a far-off future day when they will be dressed as beautifully as a princess and will get their true love's kiss at the finale. Visions of silk, satin, beadwork, jewels and sweeping veils become an integral part of playing at being a bride. Ageha has always been one of those girls. But when reality shatters her dreams of how a bride should be, she starts to figure out just how much she's been seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.

Ageha has kept her older sister Hibari on a pedastal the same way that she has idealized weddings. But when Hibari announces she's pregnant by her (in Ageha's eyes) blah boyfriend, Ageha cannot believe how much her perfect older sister has screwed up her life. After a blowup about just how out of order Hibari is doing things, Ageha storms out, refusing to acknowledge the whole scenario. But then Hibari is searching through bridal magazines and asking for her favorite younger sister's help, and Ageha can't resist the siren call of lace and finery. Still, she can't quite get rid of the feelings prompted by Hibari’s surprise, even if she realizes they're childish. Betrayal, loneliness and love pull Ageha in too many directions, and she finds that she can't contain hurtful outbursts.

When she discovers that Hibari is getting a dress custom made by two hot, young gown designers working out of a shop called Velvet Blue Rose, she vows to make up for her mean-spiritedness by helping to embroider the dress's bodice. Her skills at making homemade bags become a talent she never quite realized could lead to a career, but little does she realize that working for Velvet Blue Rose will leave her wide open to Mitsuya's flirtations and Yukari's slave-driving.

This first volume, while chock full of moments of silly humor and extreme reactions, really manages to get across the confusion of emotions surrounding close siblings. Anyone who has looked up to an older sibling or indulged a younger sibling knows how your brother or sister is both the person you would defend with your last breath and the person you can hurt the most with a cruel word. Banri Hidaka's art is streamlined, moving fluidly back and forth from the intricacy of embroidery to the exaggeration of gob-smacked expressions. Mitsuya and Yukari are the traditional pair of potential beaus, handsome and handsomer, but underneath the cliches they are already showing signs of being compelling foils for our heroine.

V.B. ROSE is off to a good start. This reader is curious to see where the next volume takes us, to the wedding and beyond.

Reviewed by Robin Brenner on January 8, 2008

V.B. Rose, Volume 1
by Banri Hidaka

  • Publication Date: January 8, 2008
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1427803307
  • ISBN-13: 9781427803306