Black Rose Alice Vol 3

Black Rose Alice Volume 3 by Setona Mizushiro

I’m glad that Viz is bringing out this series now, because I never collected beyond the first couple volumes of After School Nightmare, which I really regret now. So I’m happy to be able to read another Setona Mizushiro series, and so far my expectations for a manga that is both captivating and weird have easily been met.

In the third volume of the series Alice and her vampire suitors have established a daily life revolving around tasty desserts, with occasional vampire feedings and some light jealous bickering here and there. The stakes for who will procreate with Alice are much higher though, as Leo’s afterlife is about to run out. Leo and Alice always have had a bit more of a natural friendship compared to the other vampires in the house, and now Leo’s courtship of Alice is kicked into high gear by the knowledge of his impending death. Alice likes Leo very much, but she isn’t sure if he’s the one vampire she wants to choose.

In the meantime, Leo strikes up an acquaintance with a novelist who has a terminal disease, and offers her some vampire aid in order to help her finish her last novel. There are obvious parallels between their situations, as the novelist wants to finish one last work, and Leo has to procreate with Alice or he’ll disappear forever. Maximilian and the twins are concerned about Leo, but he forbids them to tell Alice of his impending death, because he doesn’t want to influence her decision.

Maximilian is devastated when Leo calmly faces his own death, but Leo says that he wouldn’t do anything differently and forbids Maximilian from telling Alice the truth. The tonal shifts of this series are really interesting. Each volume seems to be expressing a different main emotion, and the third is a shift away from the kooky slice of life vampire reverse harem scenario that was unfolding in the second volume. There’s sadness and regret in this volume, along with an increasing urgency on the part of the vampires to proceed with their campaign to get Alice to choose them. All along, Mizushiro’s clear and delicate artwork mixes with the elements of body horror that unfold in the manga to create a general feeling of unease and surreality as the story continues. This has got to be one of the oddest shoujo series currently coming out, and it is rapidly becoming my favorite!

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