Black Rose Alice Manga to Resume After Eight Years

The March 2020 issue of Shogakukan’s Monthly Flowers magazine has announced that Setona Mizushiro will resume her Black Rose Alice manga in the magazine’s June 2020 issue on April 28, 2020, after being on hiatus for eight years.

Mizushiro launched Black Rose Alice in Akita Shoten’s Monthly Princess magazine in 2008, but then put the manga on indefinite hiatus in 2012. VIZ Media licensed the manga, and released the sixth volume in 2015.

Source: ANN

12 Days of Anime: Day 11

For today, I’m going to be focusing on manga instead of anime. In 2018, I managed to finish six manga series, and this post is going to share with you what I finished over this past year.

Black Rose Alice

In May 2018, I finally finished the Black Rose Alice manga series. At the end of it all, it was a decent enough manga series, but I wouldn’t rank it among my favorite manga. To be honest, I would only recommend this series to readers who enjoy shojo manga that features vampires, and don’t mind the fact that the series doesn’t truly have an end.

Assassination Classroom

In May 2018, I also finished the Assassination Classroom manga. This is a fantastic manga series, and I would highly recommend it to manga readers who appreciate stories with humor that evolve into something more serious as the series progresses.

Kiss of the Rose Princess

I must have been busy reading manga during May 2018, because that was also the month that I finished the Kiss of the Rose Princess series. While this isn’t a manga title that I will personally be in a hurry to read again, I think it could appeal to shojo manga readers who enjoy magical or supernatural elements in the manga stories that they read.

Say I Love You.

In July 2018, I read the final volume of Say I Love You. Overall, I enjoyed reading the series. Admittedly, it can get a little more on the saccharine side the closer it reaches its conclusion, but I found I could overlook that since I had been following these characters and had been invested in them for so long before the series took that turn. If you enjoy shojo romance manga, you might find that you enjoy Say I Love You.

xxxHoLic

In September 2018, I finished reading the final volume of xxxHoLic. Overall, this is a pretty solid series, except for the last three or four volumes. By that point, there’s time skipping going on. I understand why the time skipping is going on, but to me, it felt like the strength of the story started diminishing when the time skips began. And I admit that I’m not entirely sure if I liked the ending of the series or not. While it makes sense from what CLAMP established, I ended up feeling a little gypped.

Voice Over! Seiyu Academy

In November 2018, I read the final volume of Voice Over! Seiyu Academy. For me, personally, the concept of the main character taking on a secret identity and not revealing this to the person they’re interested in kind of reminds me of the 1980’s cartoon, Jem (except for the fact that these characters are in high school, and that there’s no holographic technology used to disguise the main character). But the relationship that develops between Senri and Hime (as Shiro) doesn’t feel forced and comes across as convincing to the reader. In some respects, the ending is a predictable and maybe a little on the cliché side, but it works for the story that Minami developed over the course of the 12 volumes. But I think that adding the element of voice acting does help makes this series feel a little less like a typical high school shojo manga story.

Manga Spotlight: Black Rose Alice

Black Rose Alice is currently a six volume manga written by Setona Mizushiro. The series was put on hold in Japan in 2011, and as of this writing, has not continued. The six volumes that were released in Japan were published in North America by VIZ Media.

Black Rose Alice
Written by: Setona Mizushiro
Publisher: Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Dates: August 5, 2014-November 3, 2015

The series begins in Vienna in 1908 and introduces Dimitri Lewandoski, who turns out to be the main character of the series. We learn that he was sold into a family when he was younger, but that the family treated him well and helped him to improve on his musical talents. Early on in Volume 1, we see the dynamic between him and his adopted brother, Theodor, and how the two of them treat Theodor’s fiancée, Agnieszka.

But it’s ultimately the complicated dynamics between these characters that sets the main story in motion. When Dimitri becomes upset over something that Theodor says about his fiancée, he’s kicked by a horse and knocked down. When he comes to, everyone keeps commenting that they had been told that Dimitri had died. Dimitri later notices a black rose mark on the back of his neck, and he learns that people who had just been around him earlier have suddenly perished. At this point, the reader can tell that something unusual has happened to Dimitri, but it’s not entirely clear what it is at that point.

Dimitri encounters a man named Maximilian, who gives some much needed exposition to the reader: Dimitri had died, but was brought back to life and is now a vampire. Dimitri doesn’t believe Maximilian’s explanations at first, but as more unexpected deaths occur, he commits some very drastic actions that bring about the death of his adopted brother and a near death for Agnieszka. Maximilian is able to preserve Agnieszka’s body, but her soul has already fled. The storyline in 1908 ends with Dimitri teaming up with Maximilian and leaving the area, taking Agnieszka’s body with them.

The story suddenly jumps ahead 100 years and is now taking place in Japan. The focus shifts to two new characters: a high school student named Koya and his female teacher, Azusa. The two are in a relationship, but Azusa tries to call it off. They end up being involved in a car accident, and it appears that Koya won’t make it. Dimitri arrives and says that he can save Koya, for a price: Azusa’s soul. She agrees, and it’s shown near the end of the volume that Dimitri intends to use Azusa’s soul to revive Agnieszka.

When Azusa’s soul enters into Agnieszka’s body, she sleeps. When she wakes up, she finds she has been taken to a house where Dimitri and three other vampires live: Leo, Kai, and Reiji. The four vampires want her to choose the best vampire of the four of them for propagation. She takes on the name of Alice, and she begins observing the vampires.

Over the course of the remaining volumes, Alice interacts with the vampires and has various experiences. During the story that’s been told so far, Alice has to deal with death, secrets, and betrayal. Since this is a shojo manga, it becomes clear that by the end of the series, Alice has made up her mind which vampire she wants to be with, but there are complications that keep this expected couple from becoming a reality for most of the series.

Unfortunately, with the situation of the manga having been put on hold, it’s obvious at the end of Volume 6 that the story isn’t over yet. It doesn’t help that there’s an “afterword” panel that has the characters saying that this is the end of “Part One.” As a reader, I found it frustrating that I got to the final volume that’s been released for the series right now, but that there really is no ending to the story. While VIZ Media had no control over this situation, I still found it rather frustrating that I invested the time I did into reading the series, and ultimately have no resolution to show for it. If, for some reason, the manga were to ever resume in Japan and VIZ Media were to license the new material, I might be tempted to read it just to find out where the story goes next.

At the end of it all, Black Rose Alice was a decent enough manga series, but I wouldn’t rank it among my favorite manga. To be honest, I would only recommend this series to readers who enjoy shojo manga that features vampires, and don’t mind the fact that the series doesn’t truly have an end. If you prefer to read manga that have a definite conclusion to them, then I wouldn’t recommend Black Rose Alice.

Manga Review: “Black Rose Alice” Volume Five

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

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
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

Manga Review: “Black Rose Alice” Volume One

Black Rose Alice Volume 1 tells the story of what happens to a celebrated tenor named Dimitri Lewandoski during the early 1900s in Vienna.

Black Rose Alice Volume 1
Written by: Setona Mizushiro
Publisher: Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Volume 1 starts out in Vienna in 1908 and introduces Dimitri Lewandoski, who turns out to be the main character of the series. We learn that he was sold into a family when he was younger, but that the family treated him well and helped him to improve on his musical talents. Early on in the volume, we see the dynamic between him and his adopted brother, Theodor, and how the two of them treat Theodor’s fiancée, Agnieszka.

But it’s ultimately the complicated dynamics between these characters that sets the main story in motion. When Dimitri becomes upset over something that Theodor says about his fiancée, he’s kicked by a horse and knocked down. When he comes to, everyone keeps commenting that they had been told that Dimitri had died. Dimitri later notices a black rose mark on the back of his neck, and he learns that people who had just been around him earlier have suddenly perished. At this point, the reader can tell that something unusual has happened to Dimitri, but it’s not entirely clear what it is at that point.

Dimitri encounters a man named Maximilian, who gives some much needed exposition to the reader: Dimitri had died, but was brought back to life and is now a vampire. Dimitri doesn’t believe Maximilian’s explanations at first, but as more unexpected deaths occur, he commits some very drastic actions that bring about the death of his adopted brother and a near death for Agnieszka. Maximilian is able to preserve Agnieszka’s body, but her soul has already fled. The storyline in 1908 ends with Dimitri teaming up with Maximilian and leaving the area, taking Agnieszka’s body with them.

The story suddenly jumps ahead 100 years and is now taking place in Japan. The focus shifts to two new characters: a high school student named Koya and his female teacher, Azusa. The two are in a relationship, but Azusa tries to call it off. They end up being involved in a car accident, and it appears that Koya won’t make it. Dimitri arrives and says that he can save Koya, for a price: Azusa’s soul. She agrees, and it’s shown near the end of the volume that Dimitri intends to use Azusa’s soul to revive Agnieszka.

Black Rose Alice Volume 1 does what any good first volume of a manga should do: establish the premise and concepts of the series, as well as introduce the important characters to the reader. But I have to admit to being a little confused at first when the story jumped ahead 100 years. I had initially thought that maybe Koya might have been Dimitri looking more modern at first, until I saw Dimitri show up after the accident. As soon as I saw Dimitri asking Azusa for her soul, I knew exactly why he would need it. Agnieszka doesn’t regain consciousness by the end of Volume 1, but I suspect she will return to the story sooner rather than later.

When it comes to the art, I thought that Mizushiro did a great job depicting Europe in the early 1900s. In a lot of ways, I thought more detail went into those drawings compared to most of the art depicting Japan in 2008. The main exception in the modern era storyline would be the drawings for Dimitri and Agnieszka, because the art style for their characters remained the same between the two eras. Hopefully the art style for the scenes that take place in modern day will improve in future volumes of the series.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of vampire stories, but I thought that Black Rose Alice presented an interesting enough story to help keep my interest in what I was reading. Black Rose Alice Volume 1 should appeal to shojo manga readers who enjoy stories featuring vampires that also include a setup that begins in a different time period. Fans of the Vampire Knight series, another shojo manga that features vampires and romance, might also find Black Rose Alice of interest.

The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System

Viz Media Releases Black Rose Alice Manga Series

Viz Media has just released Setona Mizushiro’s Black Rose Alice shojo manga series, and Volume 1 is now available in print from the Shojo Beat imprint. The series is rated ‘T+’ for older teens. Volumes carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. Future volumes will be released in English on a bi-monthly basis.

A digital version of Black Rose Alice Volume 1 is also available for $6.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the NOOK, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play stores.

In Black Rose Alice, Dimitri Lewandowski is a celebrated tenor in early 1900s Vienna. When he is killed in an accident, his corpse is colonized by the seeds of a vampire master. At first, Dimitri denies that anything has changed, but as the people around him start dying, he is forced to accept the ghastly truth.

“BLACK ROSE ALICE is a dark supernatural romance with a suspenseful storyline that puts its own unique twist on the vampire genre,” says Pancha Diaz, Editor. “After a prologue set in a beautifully rendered 1900s Vienna, the series flashes forward to modern Japan where Dimitri, who has become a fully developed vampire, appears in the dreams of a heartbroken woman to present a sinister proposal – he will save her fatally injured love, for a terrible price!”

BLACK ROSE ALICE ©2008 SETONA MIZUSHIRO / AKITASHOTEN

Viz Media Announces New Manga Licenses

Viz Media announced during the company’s New York Comic Con panel that it has acquired the license for the following manga:

  • Yu Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana’s Terra Formars
  • Kazune Kawahara and Aruko’s My Love Story!!
  • Setona Mizushiro’s Black Rose Alice
  • Koushun Takami, Mioko Ohnishi, and Youhei Oguma’s Battle Royale: Angels’ Border
  • Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection

In addition, Viz also revealed that it will publish Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, and Daisuke Furuya’s Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign in print.