At a certain point in Iris and Finé’s life, a traumatic moment occurred where the following happened:Finé, Red Riding Hood look and all, is actually a werewolf, and Iris sees her devouring her prey.A group out to kill wolves almost ends Finé’s life, but Iris, who desperately wants to save her, grabs a mysterious drug and consumes it. This transforms her into a bloodsucker and she proceeds to eat everyone in the room……But comes to her senses after drinking Finé’s blood. From there, she wants her to do what she intended and devour her (being a monster doesn’t suit Iris), but Finé wanted to eat her when she was a human.
So their current solution is to see if a cure exists for the drug, which sets the stage for what happens now. As it stands, these two appear to be lovers on the outside, but instead they are bound by a contract they each set personally — Iris can drink Finé’s blood in order to stay sane, and when they find that cure, Finé can devour her. And in joining the organization L.E.A, a group looking to stop the production of these drugs, they hope they’ll find it soon enough.
Scarlet is the manga that of course would have such a killer cliffhanger that I can’t help but know what happens next, but like 2/3 of the read is just not well paced. It’s going for a unique combination — yuri + horror — but for the most part they clash with each other. Like we can see these ladies and other characters appear and act all cute or flustered or pout like normal manga style, and then it awkwardly flips to bringing murder and necks getting ripped apart.
That’s why I couldn’t help but chuckle when the creator said in the afterword about this type of manga not being what Comic Yuri Hime normally publishes. That came across in this first volume! This type of premise can work, but the art just makes most of what happens — action scenes or character interactions — feel awkward.
However, finding out what these characters actually do and how volume 1 ends is a motivating factor in continuing it. Yes, they’re all archetypes, and some annoyed me more than others, and there is the age-gap element because fantasy creatures live a long time (it’s noted that Finé is around 100 years old, Iris is 19), but the story is set up where they have to overcome a bad ending. After all, Finé was supposed to eat Iris. But despite that, their past connection and their current situation is intriguing. So what happens if they find a cure after all? And of course, the yuri is noticeable either when they’re at a bar or just at weird moments. That of course includes when a couple of ladies in lingerie transform into werewolves and start eating humans at a party.
But for the most part, and aside from the one really cool moment where Finé made one poor guy serve copious amounts of drinks due to him cheating in a game, Scarlet was just baffling to read until the end, when a new threat emerges. As it is only 2 volumes, it’ll be at least worth checking out to see how this will all go, but I can only hope this ends tidily enough.