What happens when a gay art thief and a conservative NATO officer cross paths? Disaster, of course. Dorian is an aristocrat, a thief, and a hedonist; Klaus is a duty-driven espionage agent with no patience for fools. Follow them as they chase each other across the globe—from Britain to Baghdad, from Alaska to Alexandria, from Moscow to Madrid. Spectacular locations and non-stop adventures await!
It starts off... strangely. Do NOT judge this manga by its first volume, however. The first story arc is very deceiving in that it's almost like a pilot episode--like a test run. Caesar Gabriel and his friends never make another appearance again (something most fans, myself included, are forever thankful for), and in fact, Dorian takes a role as neither the antagonist or the sole main character. I would say Klaus takes over both Caesar's role as Dorian's love interest, and perhaps even main character. You begin to see a lot more story arcs start off with Klaus by the fifth or sixth volume, although
to be fair, Dorian and he really switch places.
So, like I said, read at least up to volume 3 before making any immediate judgments. If you really liked the first story, too bad, it's pretty much thrown out by volume two, and Klaus comes bustling in and asserts himself as one of the main protagonists. If you really disliked it or thought it was mediocre at best, then you'll probably enjoy the rest a lot more.
If you prefer story arcs and episodes in your manga, I can almost guarantee that you will love this manga. Each story is pretty stand-alone, but overall the plots are just plain entertaining.
Eroica and Klaus go all around the world, which proves to be bedazzling or hilarious--usually the latter because of how they both disrupt whatever land they set foot in. Yes, most of Eroica's plots involve much chaos, with twists and turns as Klaus and Dorian attempt to ruin each other's plans. Once in a while there will be a story that concentrates most on Dorian or Klaus, and sometimes they're forced to work together (though that's in earlier volumes), but a lot of it is them working against each other.
Special to note is how Klaus' work for NATO works its way into the plots. Klaus is a fierce Cold Warrior, and he has to go against the KGB in many story arcs. For those of you interested in history or spy stories, I can promise the elements prove to be very amusing. The Soviets are essentially caricatures (wearing trench coats and dark glasses as "disguises"), and there's a lot of cross-cultural prodding between Klaus and... well, the world. The espionage elements prove either to be mysterious or exciting, so you see Klaus really taking center stage a lot more than Eroica does in later volumes. That's okay, though, because more than you'll want to see Klaus defeating Mischa the Bear Cub, you'll want to see Eroica come in and get Klaus nice and riled up.
Overall, Eroica's plots are amusing and fun, and while maybe they're not exactly complex, they're definitely entertaining, and a big reason why I love this series so much.
Again, I'll say the early volumes are not defining for the entire series. While I don't exactly mind the art style from volumes 1-3, Aoike's style really doesn't develop to its full potential until around volume 4 or 5. Dorian and Klaus are both initially very skinny and tall, with very pretty faces and girly features--practically the poster boys for shoujo manga back in the 70's. Everyone's noses are a little odd, too, which makes their side profiles very odd since they all have such big chins. It's the style, though, and Aoike did it well. In fact, you really get used to it.
But believe me, the art does evolve, and in my opinion for the better. By the Alaskan story arc (I would estimate), Aoike's true potential begins to shine. The backgrounds become far more detailed as she draws the barren Alaskan landscape, and Klaus and Dorian become much more masculine. Klaus buffs up, his eyes get smaller, and his nose (and everyone's nose! yay!) gets much stronger and more masculine. Dorian's eyes are still a bit wide, since he's obviously the happier of the two, but he develops much like Klaus, only with slightly less girth. This is a great improvement that you will appreciate.
True, much of Aoike's characters' faces do look the same. She has a standard beautiful man face, a pretty boy face, a pretty woman face (much less seen!)--in fact, I'd say the "uglier" characters have the most variation, such as the Chief compared to Mischa (though maybe the most difference with them would be facial hair and dark glasses?). However, one must realize that that's just existent in many manga, and it's really to her credit how much she makes those characters personality stick out.
Probably what I like best in Eroica! The characters are absolutely lovable. Everyone's favorite is Klaus, who's sexy, masculine and strong--but also so incredibly straitlaced and temperamental that he's hilarious. Everyone in Eroica seems to have their faults, which I think is another thing that's so great about it. While Eroica and Klaus' strengths are hyperbole at best--Klaus being able to fire a magnum with one hand, for example, or Dorian's incredible stealth skills or his ability to spot a forged art piece in an instant--they really do have short comings. Klaus is so temperamental that he can barely get along with anyone, and it's hinted that his impulsiveness and excessive use of force during missions is what's keeping him from moving passed the title of "Major." And Dorian... he can't fire a gun. That's pretty inconvenient when he's always running into gun-crazy Klaus and the KGB. He's also very impulsive, so it's easy for him to run into mistakes, especially when the Major is involved. Overall, though, Dorian and Klaus really keep each other in check, usually by making fun of one another's quirks or annoying habits, or making the other mess up royally by attacking their weaknesses.
In fact, it's Dorian and Klaus' chemistry that really is the center stage to From Eroica with Love. Shounen-ai fans, pay attention to this part! Dorian's openly gay! Klaus' sexuality remains completely ambiguous! For many fans, it seems as though Dorian is in pursuit of Klaus, and Klaus is obstinately trapped in the closet. Of course, there seems to be no outcome to this--for 30 long volumes, there's been no sign of Klaus ever exiting this closet, or if it even exists, frankly. However, it's very easy to see the romantic elements if you're looking for it. Dorian seems to genuinely care for Klaus, and he's obviously attracted to him, making all sorts of lascivious comments. It seems this only grows as the volumes themselves increase--you see him going after pretty men less and getting more jealous when anyone takes interest in Klaus (or vice versa). And Klaus... well, Klaus hates Dorian with all of his being, but there is a begrudged camaraderie between them that even he can't deny. Klaus' sexuality really is an enigma that's up for interpretation, though, to be sure.
Besides the two main characters, the whole cast is rather hilarious. My personal favorites are Lawrence and Klaus' butler--the incompetent, birdbrained SIS agent, and Klaus' overly sentimental old butler, who's prone to crying when it comes to Klaus and the Eberbach estate. There's also Agent G, the cross-dressing Alphabet who has crushes on Klaus and Dorian both, and Mischa the Bear Cub, the former champion boxer and Klaus' KGB rival. The cast is colorful and hilarious, and as lovable in their own right as the main characters themselves.
If you love hilarity, vintage manga, Cold War plots, gay overtones and fun, you will enjoy this series.
I love it! Highly recommended. Please go out and buy the first few volumes. Try it out. It will more than likely be worth it.
Why not add another review on this manga?A more recent one!
You are about to read my personal review,hoping to help you appreciate more this manga and generally to share my opinion on this.
First of all,I have a weird habit of starting some mangas or animes,watching 2-3 episodes/reading 4-5 chapters and then putting them on hold thinking that "someother time I'll be more in the mood for it",which is pretty true.Not all animes are for any time.The same goes for Eroica.I started reading it about a year or so ago and then after chapter 4 I put it on hold.It wasn't that I didn't like it,not
that,it's just that it wasn't for that occassion.
Now,after a year or so,I decided to read something light-hearted and funny and thought that maybe I should continue on Eroica,for some weird reason.
Now that I have finally gotten back here I am writing this(and thinking that the introduction is a little bit too big,but who cares,for such a manga once must make a grand entrance and I know the Earl gets me,hehe).
Now getting down to the juicy part of the review ...
Starting with the Story...
I've decided to give it an 8 out of 10.
It's a little bit slow to start,talking about volume 1,where you have a group of youngsters that they never appear again after thheir first meeting,which is also their last one.I don't really wanna go how volume 1 starts,all I am gonna say is that the Earl,Dorian is an art thief and obviously gay,and nothing stops him from getting what he wants.
On the other side we have Major Eberbach,aka Iron Klaus,a military man who can't even appreciate art or anything else in life except for the succession of his mission under any circumstances.
So what happens when these two totally opposite people meet and clash?Find out in the story!All I can say is that there are many enjoyable adventures.It's mostly a comedic manga,although it has a few dramatic scenes here and there but don't worry you want get too depressed,since the comic relief is always there and fitted well.I keep mentioning "comedy",but that's cause it has a heavy dose of it,but don't be mistaken,it's not pointless and boring.It has some of the most unpredictable funny scenes,at least they crack ME up so I don't know about you,you just might not have a sense of humor after all...Aside from joking I think that's its biggest potential.Also regarding the story always expect a somewhat "bold" scene between the Earl and the Major,it's totally worth it even if you are not handed any raw scenes like in other Yaoi/shounen ai manga.
Now it's the ... Art!!!I give it a 10 out of 10
I shall explain why down below,I am imagining you don't understand why at first but hey,don't judge a book by its cover or age.
Eroica has a 70s art style.It may not be your cup of tea with all those different styles today and I am not blaiming you.I too at first found a bit...old-fashioned and lacking in proportions,but actually that does not matter at all.It's art style makes it stand out from the rest and the faces are very interesting,plus if you see some colored covers/pages/whatever you find,you'll be amazed.The colors are amazing,so the details,they're like modern pieces of art.Just do a search in google to see what I mean.Very very impressive,even if it lacks realism and is better off without it.
Moving on to the Characters,it is awarded with 10 out 10
The story centers around Earl and Major(as if you didn't already know that).
So it's to be expected that the get most of the screen time.Supporting characters are there to support and offer help,but who cares.I enjoy watching Major on action and the Earl chasing his butt around(although he claims not too).
You may not notice much of a character development,but her who cares when you are having fun,haha.Nah,actually I think that isn't the case.I pretty much believe that it does have character development,although it progresses pretty slowly,but you know,you get to know a few more new things about each character in every volume.
As I have mentioned before,this story relies a lot of comedy,and the characters too are comic,although the Major not so much,but the lines are,so don't expect a lot of dwelling in the past,traumas,psychological problems,abused during childhood etc etc.None of this makes an appearance.It centers more around the relationship of Major and Earl and their interraction.
The Enjoynment Section.
I don't think that there is much to say here,I've already made it obvious that I enjoy this throught my whole review,so if you're smart enough(or even if you are not) you can tell by now.I am a big fan of comedy and paired up with some shounen ai is superb.Now the final touch is that it's an old manga that has been running for long.I find old mangas very appealing for some reason maybe because of the differences between todays mangas.
What I enjoy most about this though is the Earl's and Major's metting,that happen by chance.I really enjoy those boy x boy times even if they don't show much,but that's the best part,giving you little to taste so you want more.
It gets a happy 9!
I have a lot of reading to do,so maybe it is too early to write this,but I'll fix it if I have to.I hope it doesn't let me down in the long run.
The only minus I could give to this manga is the absence of the chapters in the right order.Some chapters/volumes are missing,like you are at volume 10 and then you jump directly to 15 or something like that,which is discouraging to keep you going.Add the fact that you can only find online up to volume 20 while currently it has reached 36-37 volumes.
I hope you find this helpful considering my enthusiasm on this review that may be a bit too objective.I might edit it sometime in the future ,feel free to add comments to my profile concerning this,I'd appreciate some feedback to help me improve on my review.