Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Princess Resurrection – Manga Mondays

Posted on: December 7, 2009

The titular princess of Princess Resurrection.On a recent trip down to the Japanese used book store Book Off, I managed to snag a near-full set of the light horror manga Kaibutsu Oujo (AKA Princess Resurrection). I’ve had a mild interest in the series since 2007, when I heard about the anime, but didn’t watch it because I’ve never been a fan of modern horror. I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation of the manga, which presents each chapter as a miniature horror movie, but with a stronger leaning toward the old, classic horror style rather than the gorefests of today.

The core members of Princess Resurrection‘s often-rotating cast are Hiyorimi Hiro, an ordinary boy who is strangely both expendable and immortal, and Hime, a princess of monsters who never loses her cool. Every chapter is basically a miniature horror movie: the two of them, plus any of their friends who happen to be around, are attacked by a host of supernatural menaces who have been sent by Hime’s rivals for the throne. They face a who’s who of classic movie monsters, representing every genre and every era of horror: there are pod people and zombies, ghost ships and vampires, masked murderers, and even a fly in a lab coat.

Almost all of the stories are self-contained, and most follow this formula:

1) Strange events start to occur around Hime and Hiro.
2) Hiro and a few others get caught in the monster of the week’s attack (Hiro gets back up later thanks to Hime’s magical bond with him, but any humans who are nearby aren’t so lucky).
3) Everyone has a tough time holding off the attack, except for Hime, who watches calmly and analyzes what has to be done.
4) Full-page or two-page spread of Hime brandishing a makeshift weapon, ready to take care of business.
5) Everyone comes out okay (except the ones who are dead), while Hime explains how she figured everything out.

The formula gets a bit tiresome around volume 6 or 7 even with the many variations on the formula offered by Mitsunaga, but it’s quite enjoyable for what it is. The presentation is excellent – Mitsunaga’s simple, clean art, plus his artistic, old-school sense of black and white, make each chapter a love song to the Nosferatu era of horror. The manga is great at imbuing the shadows and backgrounds with personality and life, and even in the “boring” parts of the manga, there is a lot to appreciate in the layout and use of darkness. Heck, the black and white pages even make the buckets of blood seem more artistic than excessive.

What makes Princess Resurrection repetitive after a while is Hiro’s ability to stand up after taking damage that would kill anyone else. While there is some minor, artificial danger when Hiro is separated from Hime and she’s unable to resurrect him, you always know that he’s going to be just fine in the end. Sure, there are casualties, but often you don’t get to know the character very well at all before they get offed in some kind of noble fashion, making them the equivalent of Star Trek redshirts.

Still, if you have an interest in horror or supernatural action, Princess Resurrection is worth a read. If you don’t like the formula, you can always put it down, and if you can appreciate it for what it is, you’ll enjoy every panel of it.

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