Title: Bloody Mary Vol 2 Author: Akaza Samamiya Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 160 Genre: Fantasy, Yaoi Publication Date: March 1, 2016
In Bloody Mary Volume 2, Maria digs deep into his past to discover secrets that have been hidden from him. With the help of Mary, Maria’s suppressed memories come to light while Mary begins to recover his own forgotten past. Will their intersecting pasts come back to haunt them both?
The story picks up where volume one left off with Takumi encountering someone who looked just like Maria. The story raises some more questions about Mary and we are beginning to see a possibility of his memories being restored. This volume felt more like an information dump more than anything that was extremely light on the action. The bulk of the chapters were spent building up the backstories of both Mary and Maria while diving just a little bit deeper into the Sakuraba family. I also found the pacing to be a bit weird as they switched between present and flashbacks quite often with no real clear cut transition. The little action we did get was also a bit confusing. Even though I went back and re-read the fight scene in the bar, I still don’t know who got killed because the characters that were drawn there looked a bit alike.
Despite these shortcomings, I still enjoyed the second volume as it gave us a lot of good insight into Maria, Mary, the Sakuraba family, and their past. I wish I could go in a bit further than this, but the story only had one really big plot point which was the revealing of the true head of the Sakuraba family who wants Mary brought before him at any cost. It sets up the mild cliffhanger that will bring us into volume three, but the rest of this volume is just dedicated to Maria learning more and more about the past, his father, exorcism, and a little something about Mary. It isn’t until the true head of the family is unveiled that we get to dive into Mary’s past as well. That’s what you typically get with info dump volumes though… a lot of information and one really big plot point.
With the second volume in the series, Samamiya is really sharpening the pencil and drawing the details. If the first volume seemed a bit lackluster and missing something, this one definitely fills in the gaps. It’s going to be hard to talk about all of the different points without spoiling the plot, so I’m going to have to tread carefully here and omit some information. We meet a Maria clone, or someone who looks like Maria, which serves as a huge plot mover, especially when we learn exactly who this person is. The Sakuraba family is a lot more complex than we were led on to believe. While Mary and Maria are separated, Maria begins to gather information – starting with a den full of vampires. Unfortunately, Mary can’t stay out of trouble for very long and gets taken hostage by Maria’s ‘best friend,’ Takumi, who hopes to appease the Maria lookalike. This is when things really begin to get interesting, but you’ll just have to read it on your own to see why.
I really enjoyed the fact that Samamiya toned down Mary’s death wishes in this volume. In volume one, it felt like he was saying it every other page, but here in volume two, he curbed that quite a bit. He still wants to die and does reference that, but I believe he only did so two or three times and not in an annoying way, either. Mary did get the typical “ugh my memories!” treatment which is so overdone in anime and manga. I don’t understand why authors always have to go the amnesia route to make things interesting. In fact, aside from the intertwining backstory between Maria, Mary, and Maria’s father, there really wasn’t much in the way of character development. We did get a nice little hint as to why he hates blood so much though, but it’s kind of going hand-in-hand with the amnesia thing.
Maria was touched upon nicely. We finally got to see his past, what happened to his father and why the Sakuraba family was so adamant about keeping him in the dark. Maria received the most character development out of anyone in this volume and now that you know a massive chunk of his past, you can begin to sympathize with the character and even begin to feel his angst. I would go further and talk more about it, but to do so would mean unveiling the true head of the Sakuraba family, how it ties into Mary and the family itself… and since that is a HUGE plot point, I don’t want to spoil the manga for anyone who wishes to read it. All I will say is that it ties a LOT of things together and everything is now beginning to make sense, which is a good thing.
I agree that there was a ton of character development for Maria and not so much for Mary. I think volume 2 was meant to be a platform for Maria and really show him off to the readers. He wasn’t very likable in volume 1 but this installment gave us all of the reasons why Maria is who he is. We learned about his father, his past, and why a lot of valuable information has been hidden from him.
Mary is still more interesting to me, although one of the big info dumps worries me – I don’t want any reason to dislike Mary because it’s impossible to hate a baggy-eyed vampire wearing a hood with cat ears. On a more serious note, as Josh observed, Mary is much more toned down in this volume. He isn’t shouting for Maria all of the time (ok, he still shouts for him quite a bit) and he isn’t asking for death on every page. We also get to see a little bit into his past, but not on the same detailed level as Maria. I still feel like we’re missing information. If this volume is supposed to be Maria’s platform, I hope the next volume is all about Mary. Although there was a huge info dump, Mary still needs more background to be even with Maria.
Takumi, who betrays Maria just seems like another filler character at the moment. He learns a secret of the Sakuraba family and realizes he isn’t as important as he believed. It’s really difficult to describe Takumi’s role and development in this volume with spoiling a major part of the plot.
All around, I enjoyed this volume more than the first. While info dumps are kind of boring, this one was interesting enough to hold my attention. There were teases of yaoi everwhere, but if you can move past that and focus on the actual story, then this became a pretty enjoyable read. Now that we have our characters fleshed out and their backstories set up, there’s no doubt that things will heat up in volume three!
One thing I’d like to note is that the author put a note in the postscript of the book apologizing for volume one. Apparently Samamiya-san confused a lot of people with all of the Maria and Mary references and that she received some criticism for volume one, but thanked her fans for getting her to volume two. I understand it’s a yaoi romance manga and that in and of itself can be met with criticism, but the way the postscript was worded, it just came off like this manga was a complete mistake. It was actually kind of sad. While it is showing her being humble, I don’t know if I would put something like that in a manga, but that’s just me. Still… the manga got better in volume two and it’s really becoming enjoyable. You should give it a try!
While there is very little action in this volume, there is a ton of information. I can understand how people might feel a bit overwhelmed reading this installment, but overall I think this was more enjoyable and better than the first. I’m really feeling a bit of Vampire Academy influence here. I’m not sure if the author has read the series by Richelle Mead, but the similarities are incredible. Even the relationship between Mary and Maria are on key with the two main characters of Vampire Academy. I wonder if my knowledge of that series makes this more enjoyable. I’m looking forward to volume 3.
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