V.B. Rose Volume 3 - Banri Hidaka I'm always amazed at how peacefully captivated I am while reading V.B. Rose. I know most shoujos are all about the drama, but I think it's nice to have a realistic level of drama as well. It's not because this manga is drama-less. Trust me, this volume is beginning the slow and steady haul into the various shenanigans that are going to have you--well, for the most part, pulling on your hair and going, "GRAAAHHHWRFGWLFFEGF WHY DON'T YOU JUST DO IT ALREADY!?!?!?!" The reason a lot of the things that go on in this series can be handled so well is because half the time you're just enjoying the people, and then in the middle of what feels like actual life, something happens or someone says something. Then! Suddenly an entire new situation we haven't gotten to yet is brought up. Except it's got enough crack to keep you going happily! XD No matter its resemblance to realistic situations, it has its moments of joyousness and cuteness, total fanservice (tooootally epic moments in the coming volumes. XD) and crack-tastic violence.

And it has its pain.... That is what began in this volume as well. You get your first real sign of it, in that moment when Yukari is honest enough with himself to admit something, and then you sense... how much of him is still cast in shackles, burdening him... ripping his happiness from him, until all that's left is... this broken kid. *Gazes at her lap quietly* But there's more to it than is even hinted at in this volume. Still... the reason he began feeling that way is mentioned. *Lifts her head, eyes glazed with quiet judgment* ..."that woman." *Purses her lips and shakes her head, then continues anyway* If she sounds bad, and if Yukari takes it so lightly, it's only because you haven't seen the half of it. Heck, you haven't seen the first of it! *Glowers* Ooohh! SHE TICKS ME OFF! I want to strangle that woman!!! DX< And I haven't even gotten that far! GAH. Talk about a bad impression!! But no, it gets WORSE. RAWRRWRRRWR!!! *Has a moment; calms down*

A lot of the characters that we know are about to get a lot more complex. Each of them has a few sides that we've seen in these past couple of volumes, but this one begins to introduce even more of who they are and what they have to deal with. We even get to see Hidaka-sensei expand on Hibari's and Makoto's personalities! =D How cool is that! With this mangaka, no one is a side character. Heck, we still get snippets of Ageha's mom and dad from time to time and their charming, hilarious selves! XD If there's one thing I respect about any storyteller, it is the talent to make every character count, so that they are integral factors to the story. True, the concentration is very clearly on Ageha, Yukari and even Mitsu, but the others are not forgotten. They each have a sense of self, and they're just as deep and passionate as the rest of our cast.

Not to mention! We had a group of new characters introduced in this one! 8D Okay okay, so~ Without spoilers, here's my (hopefully) minimal commentary. Nagare-kun: EPIC! This boy SCREAMS bad-ass and epic-sexy! 8DDDD So he's young, SO WHAT?! So Ririko's old! *Stabbed to death* WHAT! DX< I WAS JOKING! Yeesh! XP Give me a break! He's absolutely adorable but with a mature twist that makes him faaaar more cunning than the gentle eye can tell. Hello! Come on! He's Mamoru's younger brother! Of COURSE he's going to be dangerously sexy!! Which makes him CUTE. Completely FAN-TAAAASSSSSTIC character! JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE WHAT HE PULLS IN THE LATER VOLUMES! You will DIE. <333333333333 THAT'S how EPIC he is! Whoo! Go Nagare-kun! *Cheers him on!!* Now THAT'S what a man's supposed to be like! XD Sakura-chan: WILL NOT TELL YOU ANYTHING. I don't want to spoil who he is. All I'm going to say is--DEATH BY CUTENESS! *FLAILS!* SERIOUSLY! MOST. ADORABLE. LITTLE. MUNCHKIN. EVER!!!!!!!! Ran-san: Technically this is not the first time she's introduced in this series. She's just finally given a face and a bit of a background story as to who she is. And I won't say much about her either. You can come to your own opinions about her, since almost everything concerning her is spoiler-rific.

And this isn't the full cast yet either. Oh no! We have a few good more people to go! Some that will give you mixed feelings, some that you can't possibly imagining taking seriously, and others that you have no clue AT ALL how to think of. *Laughs* But what else is new?! I really hope you'll stick around to see these characters. I know I'm not giving you much of a run-down of what happened, but it's just one of those "You've gotta see it for yourself" things~ I will tell you this: If you're not one for laid-back paces, good characters with lots of depth, and realistic emotional drama with a cracky twist, then you're probably not going to enjoy this manga. *Chuckles* Don't see why anyone wouldn't like it, but some people need more action in their stories. Not that with all the "battles" between mannequins and sticks and date planners and so on you don't have ACTION... >___> ...trust me, there's ACTION. Just maybe not the kind you're expecting! XD

As a last note, I just want to say that Banri Hidaka-sensei has some of the most perfect timing ever. There's one scene in this volume where everything is kinda stressed out and tense, and then out of the blue, she has her characters decide they need a break from that. And so they go for a quick trip somewhere--it lasts only a handful of pages. But those few pages were placed so perfectly in the midst of the story. It was such a relief! To not have all that heaviness weighing down on you and to just be able to have fun and be silly and relax! Completely relax!! You could feel all the tension easing away and the smile coming back, and the laughter too. And you just sit back and are amazed all over again at how pretty Yukari-kun is... Wait. >_> Uhh... MY THOUGHTS ARE ESCAPING! XD *Steals a line from the series* No, but really. As well-balanced this manga is, and as much as I babble on about how "perfect" it is, I know it's probably not going to be for everyone. But it's so well worth a look. When you read this manga, you can feel the heart that was put into it, and the more you read it, the more you realize that your heart goes into it too. Because this is a story that you can fall in love with and enjoy any time. *Smiles* So give it a shot, you people! Let it delight you! You might find it surprises you too! ^__^