Crimson Shell by Jun Mochizuki
Published By: Yen Press
Publication Date: November 17th 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Manga, Fantasy
Date Read: January 2018
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon
If you like Pandora Hearts, then you’ll love Crimson-Shell, Jun Mochizuki-sensei’s debut! Rescued from the darkness by Xeno, a mysterious swordsman, Claudia the Rose Witch is the foundation of the Crimson-Shell, a special division of the Red Rose-an organization aiming to capture the results of one mad scientist’s experiments, the deadly Black Roses. But when Xeno’s loyalties are called into question, will Claudia be strong enough to believe in her dearest friend? And what is the colour of the rose blooming in Xeno’s heart-a deep, passionate crimson…or a traitorous jet-black?
Crimson Shell is a one volume manga by Pandora Hearts creator, Jun Mochizuki. Because Pandora Hearts is one of my favourite manga series, I was curious to read Mochizuki’s earlier work in Crimson Shell.
Crimson Shell centres around Claudia the Rose Witch and the mysterious and deadly Black Roses who wage war on her Red Rose organization searching for something they possess. Red Rose could be in trouble, because there seems to be a traitor about…
There are a lot of similarities between the two stories. The first similarity is the design of the characters – that girl could easily be Alice on the cover. Not surprisingly, the art style is the same. What is surprising is that for a first manga publication, Crimson Shell is very solid, with nice background art, good flow between panels, and a strong emotional connection with the characters.
Where Crimson Shell struggles is with pacing. The story concept is interesting (and I can definitely see elements that were pulled for use in Pandora Hearts), but it isn’t given enough time to fully develop. The result is a story that feels rushed and incomplete. I can’t complain, though, if this is the sounding board for Mochizuki to experiment with character development and story ideas that enable her to create Pandora Hearts.
This was pretty good. I wish it were a series, because I think there’s a lot to expand upon. I would’ve liked to see more, since there’s a lot of promise for this. This is a pleasantly ambitious story for a single volume, with a good number of characters, mystery elements, several twists and a plot important magic system. Overall it all works but it certainly could’ve benefitted from being somewhat longer, particularly in giving more details about the magic system and Red Rose organization and letting the tension build more. That said the intrigue and main plot are really well done.
Recommended for Pandora Hearts fans. If you want a taste of what Mochizuki can deliver in her beautiful stories, I recommend you check this out. Really, Crimson Shell is pretty good for a one shot manga. I wasn’t disappointed, and I enjoyed most of what Mochizuki had to offer.
That’s it for this review! Have you read this? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.