Venus Versus Virus Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-1-933164-48-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Venus Versus Virus

Venus Versus Virus Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     August 10, 2007
Release Date: July 31, 2007

Venus Versus Virus Vol.#01
© Seven Seas Entertainment

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Atsushi Suzumi
Translated by:
Adapted by:

What They Say
Sumire Takahana is a seemingly normal school girl cursed with the ability to see malevolent ghosts known as "Viruses." Her life hits a crossroads after a run-in with a "gothic lolita" clad monster killer for hire, Lucia Nahashia. Not content to stay on the sidelines while these "Viruses" prey on the weak, Sumire decides to join forces with the mysterious eyepatch-wearing Lucia to hunt down these "Viruses" before they can hurt anyone else.

The Review
Two goth-loli's; one a tough eye-patch wearin' girl, the other weak and afraid. But is that really the true role both loli's will continue to play?

This title has an attractive wrap around cover depicting the main tough girl Lucia dressed like a goth-loli princess. A stylized spider web/plant vine borders Lucia in a half-moon shape with a purple fading to white background. The title is a bizarre collection of typesets in various colors. For as strange as it looks it somehow works for this book. The print quality itself is clean throughout the book. No text is ever lost by being too close to the spine nor is there any cut off at the page edges. The much appreciated extras consist of color pages at the beginning, a letter from the author and seven pages of original character sketches. What I found intriguing about this release is the inclusion of the authors one-shot contest entry for what ultimately became this book. Supposedly, the talent search contest he entered was seeking stories about goth-loli's, so he came up with Venus Versus Virus (V.V.V.). The one-shot is about 17 pages long and covers the story of Lucia helping Sumire to rid herself of a demon. It really shows how far some concepts develop from their original conception.

Atsushi mentions his desire to do better with Lucia, the goth-loli monster killer. However, I think the character design is fairly good. Sure she isn't wearing a lot of frilly goth stuff, but Lucia looks goth-loli to me with her young face and body, choker, knuckle bracer, one-piece dress that looks like a variation on a nun's outfit and big boots. I have to say I think her pig tails give the final loli touch. A nice touch to her wardrobe is how other parts of her outfit show the dichotomy between her looks and her job. Lucia wears an eye-patch, carries a revolver in a hip holster, and totes a rather wicked looking knife attached to her garter. Sumire on the other hand, fits the standard school girl look with her skirt and thigh high socks. The other story characters are also attractive, with the exception of Nahashi, Lucia's version of Batman's Alfred. Nahashi looks a little different from chapter to chapter and Atsushi even admits he needs to work harder on Nahashi's character.

The art has clean lines and action scenes tend to rely on speed lines. The couple horror scenes have some dynamic panels that succeed in giving the reader the horror movie sensation. Backgrounds are fairly abundant and well drawn, often times with plenty of detail. Panel layouts are varied and each chapter starts with a nice full-page picture of Lucia and/or Sumire. Overall, the art kind of reminds me of xxxHolic because of the subject matter and the lack of detail in the character's eyes.

Honorifics remain and the SFX are translated alongside in a way that mimics the original SFX. In places where the space is limited, English SFX overlay the original Japanese. The translation/adaptation reads well with good flow and the editing is up to snuff with no grammar or spelling errors.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Sumire attends an all girl school where she lives in the campus dorms. She certainly isn't the average girl considering she sees strange shadows that none of her friends can see. Over time it has become something she has learned to live with, but now those shadows are taking shape and will change Sumire's life forever. After cutting her finger on a strange brooch, Sumire suddenly finds a strange one-eyed octopus creature stalking her. Just before the monster attacks Sumire, a gunshot rings out, killing the monster and sounding the entrance of Lucia of Venus Vanguard (virus killers for hire).

The monster attacking Sumire is known as a 'virus'. Only people with a strong sixth sense can see viruses. The problem with that is viruses seek out and devour people with that power, which in turn changes the victim into another virus. Because the brooch Sumire cut herself on was Lucia's, it somehow amplified Sumire's power. Unfortunately, this means viruses are going to be drawn to Sumire like a moth to an open flame. This concept isn't terribly original, however I like the idea of the monsters being called viruses and only some people having the ability to see them. Along with that, it's I like the idea of viruses spreading their numbers by eating humans and it's blurry place in truth, biologically speaking. Plus it's nice to see the characters portrayed as girls in this horror/adventure story.

Lucia decides to use Sumire as bait for the viruses. Unfortunately, her plan works too well and Lucia finds herself facing a virus holding Sumire and her friends hostage. During the melee, Lucia accidently shoots Sumire with a virus bullet (much like a vaccine the bullet carries some virus inside it). It doesn't kill her, but because Sumire has the 'vision' the bullet changes her into a walking anti-virus. With her life threatened, Sumire turns into a berserker and kills the virus with her bare hands. This is actually a great aspect to the story because it gives a strong contrast between Sumire's two sides, ultimately mimicking the differences between Sumire and Lucia. Sumire's normally a scaredy cat school girl, but when threatened she can become a she-devil of a killer. The problem for Sumire is she remembers everything afterwards and it scares the hell out of her.

After another couple more attacks on her, Sumire decides living with Lucia is the only way for her to stay alive. Lucia agrees, but Sumire is going to have to help with Lucia's virus hunting job. This leads to Sumire's first job involving a little girl and her brother. This part of the story is touching and well done, but I'll leave it out of the review so I don't ruin everything for the reader.

The 'vastly different from each other duo of crime/evil fighters' is certainly nothing new to anyone that has picked up more than a couple adventure comics in their life. On the other hand, a pair of girls fighting the supernatural is not that common. Even less, is a pair of loli's boasting gothic flair. So V.V.V. has a couple of things going for it, especially when subtle shoujo-ai undertones are thrown in for good measure. I also enjoyed the fact that Sumire's parents are still alive, which goes against the more common theme of 'both my parents died when I was young'.

For me, it's nice to read something that if not different in the sense of the theme, at least has characters that are a little different. I think I enjoyed this story because parts of it remind me of xxxHolic with it's simple/uncluttered artwork and occult themed battles against the viruses. I also like the medical terminology for demon-like creatures, and that every person infected/transformed into a virus has cross-shaped pupils to differentiate them from normal humans. Plus, the last chapter with the two children is just plain good. After that, there is still the question of why Lucia wears an eye-patch? And along those lines, I really recommend buyers of this book not read the one-shot at the end because it will ruin the future revealing of Lucia's eye-patch story. I would have liked to see Seven Seas put the one-shot extra in whatever future volume explains Lucia's eye-patch.

This title is kind of being talked up as a yuri title, although it doesn't bear Seven Seas 'Strawberry' title for their yuri line. I think fans of that genre will probably be a little disappointed with the lack of girl on girl action if that is their reason for buying V.V.V. However, I think this story has a fair amount of potential for being good without any yuri implications. Only time and a few volumes will tell.


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