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Manga/Anime Review: Princess Resurrection
We all know the stories about vampires, werewolves, androids, and the like, heck, they are pretty rampant among pop culture right now. You may also remember old horror movie monsters ranging from mummies, to fish men, and even the Flyman from the movie of said title. All those and more are within the manga and anime of Princess Resurrection. Any horror movie or legend is fair game to come up within this series, even a parody of Texas Chainsaw Massacre happened once (which was hilarious when you put a serial killer up against a vampire and werewolf) as well as a parody of the movie Evolution in a more recent chapter.
Despite the fact that this series essentially draws content from so many different sources it does not detract from the series at all, if anything it enhances it. All the references to horror classics are made original through the use of the main characters. Instead of vulnerable people being pit against supernatural foes, a vampire, half-werewolf, android, as well as a few other characters along the way are the ones to deal with a usually hopeless situation. But despite this being a major draw to the manga and anime for me it is not the true focus of the plot.
The story begins with a fairly young boy named Hiro who has just moved to a new city with his sister. Before even finding his new home he is struck by a car while Hime-sama (which simply means Princess in Japanese) happened to be passing by. Right before he passes out, he looks up to see the beautiful Hime-sama standing over him. The next thing he knows, he awakens in a morgue and then sneaks his way out. He walks to the address of his new home which ends up being a mansion on top of a hill. Once he gets there he sees Hime-sama fighting against a werewolf and right before she would have been killed, his body rushes forward and blocks the strike getting himself impaled by the beast's claws. The princess takes this chance with the distracted werewolf and stabs it through the head. She then explains to Hiro that she had resurrected him earlier that day with her royal blood and that he now needs to receive blood from her periodically to keep on functioning.
Picture of Hime-sama and Hiro:
Although the series starts with a focus on Hiro, and it does focus on him a lot, the true protagonist of the story is Hime-sama. Early on we learn that she and her siblings are meant to take each other's lives in order to “mature” and become a true ruler of the monster world. Even if they do not wish to become a ruler they would still need to die in order for another one of them to gain the title and power that comes along with it. Hime-sama herself has little care for the throne and wants nothing to do with it but time and time again plots are put against her to take her life and this is where the series really focuses.
Two other major characters that certainly need mentioning are Riza and Reiri. Both start out as an enemy for Hime-sama but are both won over by her royal disposition and leadership. Riza is out for revenge for her brother, the werewolf killed at the very beginning. Riza herself is a half-werewolf, which means she can't completely shape shift and is technically weaker than a normal werewolf would be. On the other hand, Reiri is a vampire who was simply intrigued at the thought of drinking royal blood and makes a few attempts to get some. Although she does not end up living with them, like Riza does, she gradually helps them out more and more until she becomes a main character. Riza and Reiri also share a distinct hatred for each other for vampires and werewolves are mortal enemies. This can lead to some pretty funny moments in the story arches where the two must work together to reach a common goal.
Picture of Riza:
Picture of Reiri:
Besides the main storyline related to Hime-sama's siblings, the rest of the series is incredibly episodic, usually involving one horror cliché or another. Although they never quite feel meaningless and are still entertaining, it can be a bit annoying at times to be taken out of the action of the overall plot for a few chapters or episodes of unrelated events. The manga is also incredibly gory while the anime was toned down quite a bit. This series is not afraid to show people being impaled or ripped apart by a chainsaw and there will always be just oodles of blood everywhere. It is not quite as gruesome as say Gantz or Battle Royale, but is still quite a bit up on the scale. The anime is really a ghost of the manga when it comes to this however, where most of the gruesome acts are cut away from before you get to see them happen. This actually came off as a major disappointment for me due to the way it will suddenly cut out of the action, making the whole scene feel a bit awkward.
While the manga is still ongoing in Japan, it was recently announced that the creator intends to end the series by this April. It has been a fairly long run, for it has been going since 2005. Although the manga was licensed in America, the original publisher, Del Ray only released the first 7 volumes before losing the rights to Kodansha USA which still has not released any more volumes. To read past volume 7 I'd recommend looking for fan translations, I personally like reading from manga-reader.net when no plans for publication are obvious (the last volume published was back in 2009). However, the anime was fully released and can be picked up for a fairly low price if you look around a bit.
I prefer the manga for it completes the series while the anime barely scratches the surface, with it only going into the first few volumes manga. It is, ironically, an incredibly unique series in the way it uses the tired horror titles and legends and brings them together into a crazy world. I love this series and I certainly recommend it for your time.