R.I.P or Requiem in Phony Brian is a one volume shojo manga by "Goth queen" Mitsuzaku Mihara. This is what happens when you let a goth kid try to write Hell Girl and this is their very first writing assignment after suffering a concussion at Hot Topic. It's not very good is what I'm trying to get at. I picked this up a used bookstore based on it's ridiculous sounding back blurb. It sounded so terrible that I just had to read it and now you get to suffer with me.
The plot follows an angel named Transylvania Rose,yes really, who I'll call TR for short taking a suicidal undertaker as a pet after he makes good on the suicidal part. What follows is an angst ridden journey about why the undertaker is the way he is. Every other chapter is about getting TR to go back to Heaven or what appears to be heaven. It seems to be only populated by four people total so I can understand why they'd be lonely without her. The undertaker can purify suicides for no apparent reasons. However up till about chapter seven or eight it all basically works as a poor man's Hell Girl without the revenge. However once it goes full into the Undertaker's, Phony Brian, back story do things just get silly. His parents named him that because he was born out of wedlock and his dead girlfriend killed herself by drinking her own I.V fluid. I'd actually like this if it didn't take itself so seriously because this would be a decent black comedy. The book likes to think that it's smarter than it is dropping lines like: Who takes care of the undertaker when he's dead? All in all the plot is a sham that thinks otherwise.
The characters are not much better,all of the angel chracters are flatter than my chest and are all unlikable and selfish. Phony Brian and his girlfriend have the chemistry of dead fish and are in an eternal angst off. I will admit that Brian does have at least reasonable reactions about being forced into being TR's pet,though he may be using that as an excuse to just mope some more. TR is again wholly unlikable and never seems to learn anything. I do understand her though when heaven is populated by a clingy valley girl and Mr. tall ,dark and brooding,I'd get out of there as often as possible. So,yeah the characters are a sham too.
Then there is the art which succeeds by being average. It's all very elaborate and flowing without being overwhelming. The character models are distinct enough that I can tell everyone apart and their outfits do look nice. For some reason TR's hair changes for no reason in the finale and it took me a minute to realize it was her. It's all just your bog standard Gothic art work,not great but not horrid either. It's a manga so I can't talk out the soundtrack but I'd imagine it being done by a garage band who goes on about how life is pain because the singer's boy/girlfriend of two days didn't text them good morning.
In the end we have poor characters in a poor plot that is at least drawn well. It barely edges into so bad it's good territory but it still falls short of that. Avoid this little train wreak and go watch Hell Girl since I can't stop bringing it up. Alternatively check out Mihara's other one shots,Slice of Black Chocolate is pretty good. Till next time: Stay Positive