Author: Atsushi Suzumi
Genre: Manga, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery, Crime, YA
Publication Date: August 2 2o11 (North America – Seven Seas/Macmillan)
Summary: Venus Vanguard squares off against Sonoka’s evil minions, Sumire’s berserker powers spiral out of control—and it’s Lucia who is caught in the middle!
Meanwhile, as mistrust and unease form within Sonoka’s ranks, the evil mistress decides to grant her minions Guy and Ruka just what they desire most—the power to obliterate Lucia and Sumire once and for all.
☆: 4.5/5 stars – another great installment in a fantastic gothic lolita demon-hunting adventure!
Review: I wasn’t expecting that ending in the final part of this omnibus (that would be volume 6 on its own), because originally reading it in Japanese, I only stopped at number five. Then again, I probably should have seen it coming – Yoshiki was too nice of a guy in this world filled with viruses and demons. If you enjoyed the first omnibus of this series, this second one will knock you on your ass and leave you begging for more. There are a lot of Big Reveals in this volume, so hold onto your hat as we journey further inside of the VVV world!
Suzumi gives us a lot of great information on how viruses came to be, and what they lack that makes them lose their humanity. We also get great backstories for Sonoka’s minions, Guy, Ruka, and Layla. We find out about Aion, Sonoka’s boss, and the one who looks to remake the “True World” – basically, taking our world now, destroying it, and making it the way he wants to with the Fragments of those with the Sight. We also get backstory into Nahashi, Lilith and Lucif (Lucia’s parents) and how they, Lucia, and Sumire figure into Aion’s plot to destroy the world. Finally, we get a new resident in the Venus Vangard store and a new addition to the monster-hunting team – Lola, Layla’s twin sister. The art is just as (if not more) gorgeous than in the first omnibus, and the bond between Sumire and Lucia gets tighter than ever. If anything, it almost hurt to read the entire first volume in this omnibus (volume four) because of all of the emotions between the two of them.
The translation for this volume took an interesting turn, as well – they left some of the parts raw, and then subtitled them in English. I think this was to keep the translation as close to the original as possible, and because of the kanji used (plus the katakana reading is different than the actual kanji reading), Seven Seas might have wanted to keep all of the possibilities on how to translate those kanji open. I thought this was an excellent move on their part, because I know I was having problems on how to most accurately translate those kanji without taking the completely different katakana reading into account. And for those who can’t read Japanese, the translation is still provided for you in English in a close approximation. Everyone wins.
Lucia and Sumire go through a lot of changes throughout these three volumes in this omnibus, and it’s nice to see them grow as characters. The world expanded as well, with all of the Big Reveals and further understanding as to how Fragments and viruses relate to each other. I won’t spoil you guys, since you really should give this one a read (especially if you’ve read the first one), but the emotional depth is incredible concerning this medium – it almost felt like reading a novel, and not reading manga at all. Suzumi has real talent when it comes to building her characters and killing her darlings, with maximum emotional payoff in the end. I would love to see her write and illustrate a light novel just to see if it would work as well as her writing with this series. What I think I loved the most was that everyone, at the end of the day, no matter whose side they took or how fantastical their powers, was human, and was just as strong or weak as any human would be. Suzumi really knows how to make her characters emotionally accessible, even the villains. Though I would have liked to see a little more on who Sonoka is aside from what little we’re given to go on through Ruka’s backstory, I was still satisfied with how relatable the villains were.
Final verdict? Fans of the first omnibus, you simply MUST continue your VVV journey. For those of you just getting into the series, I suggest you read the first omnibus before this one as you might get lost. Just as the first omnibus made my best of 2012 list, so does this one. Absolutely gorgeous art, and a lovely story to go with it. I really can’t wait until the final omnibus comes out – it’s scheduled to hit stores in October. But for now, the second “Venus Versus Virus” omnibus is available through Seven Seas/Macmillan in North America, so be sure to check it out!