Monday, June 20, 2011

If you read "Black Bird", then try...

Her Majesty's Dog
A teenage girl is attacked by ghosts in a school after hours. To her surprise the only person who has a clue about why she's been targeted is the most bullied girl in the school. While the bullied girl is not unattractive, her classmates are disgusted by Amane's show of affection for her boyfriend/bodyguard Hyoue. As it turns out, Amane is no ordinary girl and Hyoue is no ordinary boyfriend. Hyoue-Kun is actually a demon bound to Amane by choice to protect her at all costs. When he transforms Hyoue becomes a massive and glowing dog, ready to do Amane's bidding whatever it might be. At this moment, Amane's command involves protected this human girl who, while she never bullied Amane herself, she never did anything to stop the bullying.

Where Black Bird is concerned, Her Majesty's Dog has far less content sexually, but more violence. Also there are moments when gender lines blur, particularly when Hyoue encounters a fellow demon from his past who could be either male or female. Even Hyoue was never sure. From the very first volume I fell madly in love with the characters. Despite Amane's infuriating propensity to ignore Hyoue's obvious love for her and her insistence on thinking of him as merely a pet. Thank goodness for a happy ending!

Alice in the Country of Hearts
In this crazy story Alice is literally kidnapped by Peter White a.k.a. The White Rabbit and taken to Wonderland against her will. Once there, Peter forces her to drink a potion (through a kiss) which will prevent her leaving Wonderland until the vial which contained the potion magically refills as she encounters different people and adventures. Alice finds herself repulsed by Peter White, who rhymes everything he says, strangely drawn to the malevolent Blood Dupre a.k.a. The Mad Hatter who is also a mob boss, and thoroughly confused by every individual she meets. The thing that terrifies her the most? One of the side effects of her living in Wonderland is that every male within those borders falls in love with her, from Peter White to Blood Dupre to Julian the clock maker.

Concerns about the translation from Japanese to English are valid for this series. Sometimes the dialogue is awkward and the story doesn't have a decent sense of continuity. Which you would think would work for an Alice in Wonderland tale, but it just adds to the confusion. However, the characters are engaging. I can see why Alice likes the Hatter against her will. There's something magnetic about him. Again, this story has less sexual content than Black Bird and more violence. However, it does stay in keeping with sexual innuendo because all the men, deadly or harmless, adore Alice. I guess we English-reading fans will never know the outcome except through scanlations unless a new publisher picks it up from Tokyopop.

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