by Carl Kimlinger,

Princess Resurrection

GN 2

Princess Resurrection GN 2
The blood feud between the monster royals is heating up, with poor half-immortal loser Hiro caught right in the middle. His master, the often terrifying Princess Hime, is a prime target which means that Hiro has always taken a lot of abuse. Abuse from werewolves, aquatic creatures, invisible men, and most of all from Hime herself. The attacks are now fiercer than ever though. Hime comes under direct attack from her little sister Sherwood, another royal sends a trio of half-immortal werewolves, not one but two vampires make attempts to drink her blood, and a stay at a motel becomes a bloodbath with some serious collateral damage. Hiro is often more of a liability than a help in these types of situations; luckily Hime is quite capable of protecting herself, with a little help from her android and werewolf sidekicks and an arsenal of power tools, of course.

To say that Princess Resurrection has changed would be a bald-faced lie. It's even questionable whether it has improved any. It does, however, offer more of what made the first volume vacuous fun, and in greater quantities than before.

Which naturally means characterization has improved little and that the repetitive nature of the plot remains unchanged. Hiro hasn't developed any at all, despite the efforts of this volume to add some depth to his relationship with Hime. The appeal of Riza and Hime is still primarily visual given that their personalities barely even make it to two dimensions. The supporting cast has even fewer, squeaking in at one dimension if they're lucky. Every chapter follows the same basic pattern with only slight variations: monster comes after Hime, Hime fights monster, Hiro is totally useless, Hime defeats monster and wreaks painful vengeance upon it. Not terribly complicated, and neither are the relationships, characters, and revelations contained within.

There are a few small revelations about Hime's past, and it's definitely nice to finally see another member of the royal family, even if she is something of an annoying brat, but neither is enough to really be considered an improvement. The only real improvement is the refinement of those things that made the first volume enjoyable. The mildly successful horror that surfaced in but one chapter of the previous volume expands in this two. The werewolves' chapter is pretty intense, and the motel chapter—while shamelessly exploiting the kinds of "people trapped in house with monster" tales that have been the staple of horror movies and mystery novels for decades now—is creepy and brutal.

The touches of black humor continue to be fun, even while the more straightforward humor fails miserably to amuse. Hiro is still the world's most useless and put-upon bodyguard, though he does only get impaled once this time. On the other hand, the romantic comedy that revolves around him is refuse—with the exception of a "hey your zipper's down" moment—that belongs in a different manga. Meanwhile Hime's fighting style has grown even more outrageous, her arsenal expanding this volume to include broken pool sticks, candelabras, weed-cutters, a rocket-powered ball-and-chain mace, a jackhammer, and various other archaic and painfully utilized weapons. Hime's most important weapon, however, is her brain. She's not some super-powered heroine, she's simply smarter and more ruthless than her enemies. As a result, the fights have a strategical aspect that distinguishes them somewhat from totally senseless bloodbaths.

Yasunori Mitsunaga's art is probably at its best when evoking classical horror atmosphere; the motel chapter is particularly effective on that front. However, his greatest achievement remains Hime herself, especially during the scenes in which high-contrast shadows are used remind one of her inhuman nature. Overall detail levels remain high, especially in backgrounds, costumes, and power tools. The prominent use of sharp black-and-white contrasts and dark shadows works well with the horror content, as does the fairly straightforward paneling. There's still something too clean and sterile about the art though, and Mitsunaga can't convincingly communicate movement—relying too much on speed lines during the action scenes. Body proportions also get off-model more often than they should.

If you're familiar with Del Rey's production values, there won't be any surprises—unpleasant or otherwise—to be found here. The volume has nice heft and they've done a good job of keeping all of the expanses of solid black clean and distinct. Translation notes are scant, but to make up for it we are given another chapter of the incredibly silly spin-off "Kereberotte-chan" and an amusing four-panel strip of Hime's little robot doing the next-volume preview with her one-word vocabulary.

If you keep your expectations low enough—right around the level of a little black humor and some amusing gore—Princess Resurrection is hardly the most painful way to pass an hour or so of manga reading. Naturally, it's hardly the best way to pass that time either.

Overall : C+
Story : C
Art : B-

+ Cool lead with excellent taste in monster-fighting weaponry.
Very little variety in plot; flat characters; ultimately seems terribly pointless.

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Story & Art: Yasunori Mitsunaga

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