V.B. Rose Volume 1 - Banri Hidaka
Okay, okay, so! This is one of my MANY times reading through this series! And I've got to say, it's fantastic!! It's so readable! You can just fly through these with such ease and eat them all up! I began to notice a pattern when my sister first bought this series with only the first several volumes. I read one...had to go pick up the other instantly. Then I read that one. And then I was after the next one! And before you knew it, I had gotten to the end of all the volumes that had been released in the U.S.! NOOOO! So what ended up happening is that the first time we got a new volume after waiting months for it to be released, I said, "I want to read it from the beginning!" And thus a trend started with this series. Every single time we get a new volume, I end up re-reading the entire series from the beginning! And I never get tired of it! I always have the same thought, and I'm worried when I pick up that first volume again: "Will I be bored of it? I've already read it so many times..." But by the time I muster up to a decision and inevitably open that book and begin reading, I'm swept away ALL OVER AGAIN! *Throws up her arms and laughs!* It is sheerly amazing to me how high a re-read value this series has. Everything is so fresh and enjoyable even on your second, third, fourth--my SIXTH read through!! The characters just don't get old. Somehow, they're timeless for me! But I feel that for such an unknown series, it's a shame, because I know exactly why it's such a fun series to me:

I can relate to it. Completely and perfectly! Sure it has its fairy tale-like resemblance. What girl doesn't dream of herself in that gown, getting married to the perfect man of her dreams? And to be able to work in a place like that--! Wonderful!! But that all aside, this series is charming and beautiful! I remember the first time I picked it up, I kind of blinked at it and turned to my sister and said, "There's not much here. The art style is so simple." I had been used to such overdone mangas, filled with details brimming over in every corner, that V.B. Rose's simplicity caught me off guard, and actually surprised me! *Shakes her head and smiles* But that was completely forgotten by the time I finished the first volume and was thick into the second. The minimality of over-complicating things here only makes everything so much more expressive! The emotions that carry across in the character's faces! The things they say! The way they feel~ Everything comes across so much more intimately because you have them to relate to, instead of being focused on a pretty face.

NOT... to say that Banri Hidaka's art is substandard. I will personally punch the person who says her artwork is anything less than lovely and refined!! And there are so... many...! GORGEOUS scenes in this series! It cannot help but stir your heart or rile the blood! Banri Hidaka in her art is perfectly in harmony as with her storyline. It is so easy to read, so easy to enjoy! And yet the significance and depth of the things she writes about are just as wonderful and flawless, just as elegant and precious as the lighthearted and cracky end of things.

There are a great many number of mangas out there, especially shoujo mangas, but the thing that makes V.B. Rose so memorable to me is that everything, everything is so easy to get into, so beautifully balanced and harmonious with each other. She has a talent for keeping you entertained and keeping you thinking and feeling. And she portrays it absolutely beautifully in this series. I am already looking forward to starting the next volume, and I cannot wait to get to the two volumes I bought last week that are responsible for my sixth read through! *Grins brightly* So come on! Read this one with me! I'm sure you'll love it. <3<br/>
Ah! But let me at least say a little bit about the characters. I think I'm going to have to get used to this~ Ageha Shiroi is the main character, a high school student, nonetheless, and yet! I have only one thing to say about her! ...she's a little dumb at first when it comes to others' feelings~ But she grows. *Smiles warmly* You see so much improvement in ALL of the characters throughout this series. You see their relationships get all tangled up and crazy as they try to better themselves and still continue to coexist with everyone else! And it's fantastic to watch that. I love how this book reads like real life. The things that go on in this are just like anyone's situation, if you just knew the right person. And you can pick out qualities in most of the characters that I'm sure you or someone you know has! It's a series that's so down to earth and engaging that it's exciting to see how everyone changes! And Ageha~ This silly, dorky, dedicated girl~ She really does have a lot to learn. *Smiles warmly* But that's the best part: so does everyone else.

Seeing them grow and watching her change even in this first volume from the beginning to the end! I was shocked! And I was happily surprised. So many of the pains and issues that she goes through and the other characters, Yukari and Mitsu, along with the additional ones that will later be introduced, are so much like what I can understand and have gone through. They're normal things...but they teach me so much about not just the characters in this series, but about myself too. *Smiles* Sometimes I wish I had read this when I was younger. Because I feel that if I had...I could have grown a lot more, and righted a lot of mistakes that I had to learn from and live through the hard, hard way. But these characters have to go through those too. *Laughs* And they do such a fantastic job of pulling through, or falling low and in pain... *Smiles gently* ...just like in real life. And yet, they keep going...somehow, they keep going. *Smiles warmly* The more you read, the more you'll see of it. I highly recommend this series. It may not be well known...but it's worth standing up there with the best of them. <3