Translated by:Christine Schilling
What They Say
Poor schoolgirl Alice discovers that angels of death are anything but angelic! Alice's trouble seems to know no bounds when she has to deal with a shinigami worse than Lapan and she has a run-in with the king of the shinigami. Some days it just doesn't pay to be a girl trapped in the body of a skeleton!
Alice is still a skeleton. Lapan is still a pervert. Ume is still trying to get into Lapan's pants. Very little has changed from the first volume. Things start off with Ume becoming a maid in Alice's house so that she could be closer to Lapan. Not that this goes anywhere, mind you; after the first couple of pages where it is revealed, it is never mentioned again. It is just a reason to keep Ume next to Lapan and Alice without having to explain why. Everyone forgets about this when they hear of a cat burglar that sneaks into girls' rooms at night and steals the very underwear that they are wearing. The girls capture him, but they let him go. Then Ume tells Alice how she first met Lapan. The volume closes out with the introduction of who will be a recurring nuisance, if not the main “villain” of the series, the Mad Hatter, who claims to be the shibito king. For whatever reason, he likes his women without meat, so he kidnaps and tries to marry Alice the skeleton. This character is somehow actually dangerous since he is said to be responsible for the deaths of forty elite shinigami. To help take him down, You Chun, Lapan's shinigami supervisor, is sent down to Earth in the guise of yet another busty, sexy girl. As a character, You is at least a little fun to read because of her unexpected love of heavy munitions. The group eventually fight off the Mad Hatter, but he promises to come back later.
This manga is terrible: the first volume is terrible, and the second one is surprisingly worse. Even though I've read both of these volumes so far, conceptualizing the assertion that I, myself, just made is both confusing and painful to me. The very idea that the second volume can be worse than the first has to be a crime against nature; some sort of Oedipal hubris that can only be repaid through blood and suffering. Unfortunately, though, it's the truth. The content still does not warrant an 'F,' though, since the story is still executed in a comprehensible way. But it is a sad, sad day when the best thing that you can say about a book is that you can understand what is happening from one page to another; that the only virtue it has is that it understands the basics of putting words and pictures together into a progression that can be followed. But even that comes dangerously close to not being true in a few areas.
The two areas where things have gotten notably worse is in story cohesion and art. The art isn't all that good in the first volume, but there are a couple of areas where things stand out. This time, the art is lazier. Even those few things that Ihara spent the time to make appealing before (the sexy poses) are not done all that well. That 'sexy fanservice' that is the whole point of this book is even more obscured this time, it's not as detailed and is all in strange proportion, and, for whatever reason, there is even less of it than last time. Also, the story is even more random and the events make less sense than before. There are just too many times when you find yourself wondering, “wait, what?” and have to go back and re-read pages only to find there there really isn't anything else to try and pick up on. With more frequency things happen for no reason, and those things that happen which seem like they may be important are forgotten a page later and never mentioned again. For the most part, everything in here ends up being inconsequential. And that's really all that this book is: inconsequential tripe that throws everything at you in hope that you'll like some of it, but it doesn't take the time to make sure that anything that it has to offer is worth it in the first place. There is an unexpected bonus to how worthless and shallow this manga is, though: it's easier to forget that you ever had to read the damn thing in the first place.