Another first today for Okazu! But a rather bizarre one, I admit. Today I am reviewing Sister Red a manga with absolutely *no* yuri at all whatsoever, except in the most peripheral sense.
Once again, I’d like to offer my gratitude to Touko_no_doriru-san, who gave me both volumes of this manga in Tokyo. Subsequently I have learned that Comics One has translated it into English. Sister Red, Volume 1 is available through Amazon.com.
If it ain’t yuri, then why am I reviewing it? Because it’s the second series by manga artist Hayashiya Shizuru, creator of yuri series Strawberry Shake and artist for the mostly-yuri doujinshi circle, Jesus Drug. It is therefore of interest to me, and perhaps to other fans of her art.
To put it simply, Sister Red is a vampire story, although the word “vampire” is never used.
We are introduced to our heroine Mahito, during a typical school day. Mahito lives with her father and her cousin, Erika who is very like a sister to her. Erika is a little spacey, and has a tendency to be weak physically and emotionally. Mahito loves Erika and is always there to protect her, but is also, deep inside, a little resentful that Erika doesn’t fight back more for herself.
One night, on the way home from school, Mahito decides to take a shortcut home and is promtply hit by a car. As she bleeds into the street, the men in the car see her dying and run off without calling for help. Mahito sees a mysterious woman in a black trenchcoat who says inexplicable stuff about her heart. She closes her eyes – only to find herself at home in bed, with a doctor in attendance. Unfortunately it wasn’t a dream, as she learns when the mysterious woman, Alice, appears again and explains that she has given Mahito part of the heart of Scarlet in order to keep Mahito alive. Because, in fact, Mahito did die because of the accident. Now Mahito is one of the walking undead, and is developing mighty weird powers.
The plot of Sister Red is actually rather complicated – Alice is being tracked by her half brother Yuri who wants the heart back so he can become truly immortal. But who Scarlet is and why Alice has her heart is still a mystery to Mahito at present. In the meantime, she is forced to deal with other Night creatures – some of whom masquerade as human and prey upon real humans. Mahito starts to embrace her powers when another night creature seduces and kills her kouhai, an innocent and sweet girl. (This is the only even vaguely yuri-ish bit in the story, btw, since the creature was masquerading as a girl – and implies that she had her way with the kouhai before killing her.)
It’s a dark story, moody, and really, really violent. Lots of blood and beheaded bodies and mangled body parts and the like, once again showing that Hayashiya-sensei is not afraid of a little gore and random acts of extreme violence. Some of the action scenes are exceptionally well executed – especially in the second fight with Yuri’s first lackey, whose name escapes me at the moment. And I’m not just saying that because she’s an eye-patch wearing kick-ass chick. lol
The only downside is that the character development is a bit rushed, because it’s a short series.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 6
Yuri – 0.5
Overall – 7
All in all, a dark, creepy, gory, yet fun to read, vampire story from Hayashiya Shizuru