V.B. Rose Volume 9 - Banri Hidaka So much major cuteness in this volume! We finally get a somewhat less dramatic and therefore more relaxing volume this time around, which is a nice thing after the build-up of the last couple of volumes! Of course, "relaxing" doesn't mean boring. Not by a long shot. As you should expect from V.B. Rose by now, there's a ton of chaos, many cute things, and some delicious scenes thrown into the mix too! This entire volume focuses mostly on the Bridal Fair that we've been building up to over a couple of volumes as well. (By the way, anyone else love how Banri Hidaka-sensei is always so good at planning ahead with things and throwing you curve balls and fun surprises?! <3 She's so amazing!) The dress that represents V.B. Rose (the store) is made during this volume, and after some horrendous mishaps, is completed to look a MILLION percent better than you expect it to! Seriously AMAZING twist, Hidaka-sensei! It was FANTASTIC!! <333

We have a lot of new elements that we're getting used to in this volume again. I am in love with how Hidaka-sensei always knows how to space things out in the plot line and when she introduces new stuff. She can make a volume action packed or full of drama! But she always knows how to level us out in the end so that the story is in constant flux, working and succeeding in achieving balance, without ever losing interest. If you read the last volume, you'll know that this next bit isn't too big a spoiler by now. Ageha and Yukari's relationship is finally steadying too, which says a lot considering how up-and-down it's been throughout the entire manga. We've finally got some success there too though! Hooray!! Not to mention, if you didn't notice from all my "KANA!! SQUEEE~~~!" status updates during this volume, we have Kana interacting a lot more with our characters now. And we get to see more and more sides of her. In fact, she's come far enough to no longer just be that person that we knew about in Yukari's past, or even the threat to the future for him or Ageha. She's become a character that has come into our circle and who even Ageha hangs out with to some extent now! It's so cool seeing someone that at first ticked me off so much, and then who seemed so menacing, become such a great... well... FRIEND! =D

I swear, the changes in this manga are ones you would never expect. None of the characters are ever set in stone. Most mangas have set character types or actions or personalities for their people. But maybe it's the fantastic style that Banri Hidaka has that makes hers different. What you see is NOT what you get. And it's not even the matter of not all of a person's past or history being revealed. It's the simple and wonderful matter of seeing characters change as they interact with those around them. Very, very, very few mangas OR animes have that. Usually you see a character and they're basically the same from start to end. Not in V.B. Rose. Uh-uh. The characters, even and ESPECIALLY the main characters, are constantly changing and growing as they meet new people and go through different things with them. Ageha is not the same person she was in Volume 1, and I know she won't be the same at the end of this series as she is now in Volume 9. The same thing goes for every character, and that's what makes this manga so easy to get into and to enjoy.

I would like to go a little off to the side though for a moment here, just to say this: We've heard about our main couple's agonies forever, but I'm still dwelling on the one mystery to top even that. Mitsu... and Tsuyu-chan. I just... don't know what to make of them. Mitsu showed some very interesting qualities in this volume that have me absolutely... baffled! The way he looks at her when she's not aware of it is... so weird! It's like he doesn't have any expression on his face whatsoever, and yet you can just tell he's thinking about something at the same time as he's studying her! But the moment she looks again, it's back to "Mitsuya-sama" and all that thoughtful pondering and quiet, steady gazing goes RIGHT out the window~! *Facepalms and sighs* What do I do?! And Tsuyu has been so good about things. She doesn't try to burden Mitsu with her feelings for him, though the entire world knows she has a thing for him. Him included. Which is why he torments her so. I just... don't... GET it! Does he NOT like her? Is here merely FASCINATED by the fact that she likes him? Plenty of other girls fawn over him! He's a good looking guy, for crying out loud! So what's up with her?! Is it because they were friends once? But I'm sure he had tons of other friends. >_< Arg! It just frustrates me endlessly! I guess this is one of those things that has to be left up to the characters to work out, because I sure as heck can't do anything for them. What use could I be if I can't even make heads or tails out of all of this? ;~;
Getting back on topic, things are going to be a little bit... erm... weird in this next volume. Volume 10 is the last one I've read before, and then start the ones I've never read. Therefore, I know a little of what to expect. The cliffhanger this volume leaves off on does not make me pleased. And I'm pretty sure that's going to carry over into the next volume's review/status updates. But I'm going to put my best face on it and see what I can make of things anyway. *Is a born optimist* I hope you all come and join me for the next volume! Things are going to be... very weird. And maybe a little unsettling. But, we'll make it through together. <3 This is one series that's too good to miss simply because of one character I don't like. ^__^ Till then! <3