Eroica is in full Eroica Yori Ai O Komete (From Eroica, With Love). It is a Japanese manga (comic book series, series of graphic novels) intended for teenaged girls. It is the work of Yasuko Aoike. In recent years it has become extremely popular with fully grown American women.
Warning: Eroica, like much Japanese manga directed at young girls, has homoerotic content. Except for a disturbing (but not graphic) scene in the first episode, a mistake which the author never repeated, it is mild and sweet, all talk and no action, but if the very idea offends you, please simply investigate no further.
In the first episode the character of Eroica, aristocratic art thief, is introduced. Eroica is the alias of Dorian Red Gloria, the Earl of Gloria. The author wisely discarded the trio of wimpy teens she originally had as heroes, and in the second episode switched Eroica from fascinating villain to co-protagonist with the introduction of his nemesis, Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach, an agent for N.A.T.O.
Eroica is blond; Eberbach is dark. Eroica is frivolous and lighthearted; the Major is all serious military duty. Eroica is gay; Eberbach is straight. For a while, it is coincidence that brings the two men together as, one working on a case, the other on a heist, their paths cross time and again. When Aoike saw that she had a series that was going to last, however, she created a new device to put them frequently together and at one another's throats.
N.A.T.O. has a case requiring the talents of a master thief; Eberbach is forced to work with Eroica. In the course of the adventure, Eberbach gains some grudging respect for Eroica's talents and sense of honor. It doesn't last long: when in Rome, Eroica uses the N.A.T.O. connection to pull off the ultimate heist, with disastrous results. To deepen the tension, at the worst possible moment, in front of the worst possible witnesses, he confesses that he did it to gain Eberbach's attention: he has fallen in love with the Major.
And that unrequited love has been the crux of the relationship and the series ever since. When the cold war ended, Aoike suspended Eroica for a time. However, N.A.T.O.'s work is never done; in 1995 she gave us "Nosferatu," in which neo-Nazi terrorists hide their nefarious doings amidst the vampire tourist industry of Transylvania, and in 1996 she completed a new Eroica story, "Labyrinth of the Bearcat," in which, to the delight of readers, Klaus and Eroica work together again on a case involving the reason for the dropping rate of male fertility all over the world. Obviously, Aoike gets the same news broadcasts we do! Fans are delighted to see her beloved characters finding new plots in today's headlines.
I am happy to announce that there is now a website for Eroica, made by another fan of the manga. To visit that site, click here.
Recently, a very complex Japanese Eroica site has appeared--a site put up by fans, but supervised by Yasuko Aoike herself! Unfortunately for us American fans, it is all in Japanese, but I have been told that the webmaster is working on English versions of some pages. It contains lots of beautiful graphics, so if for nothing else, you will want to spend some time exploring it for that reason. If you can read the Japanese, please let me know what goodies it has to offer in the text, and I will post the information here.
Over the years there have been a number of fanzines devoted to Eroica, but fanzines being ephemeral things, many of them are out of print today. One that is ongoing is Companions in Chaos. The first issue contains "The Eroica Connection" by Kay Reynolds, which shows how four characters in Eroica are based on the classic rock group, Led Zeppelin (squeeze for more information). In issue #2 there is an article by me, Jean Lorrah, carrying this idea even further, and identifying the inspiration for Eroica's nemesis. Warning: some fiction in these fanzines contains graphic homoerotic scenes. If that offends you, do not investigate further. If you are interested, though, get information of availability and price by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope by snailmail to
3719 Granby St., Apt. C4
Norfolk, VA 23504-1332
If you like Led Zeppelin and Eroica, you are likely to enjoy the story "Reflection of a Dream" by Jean Lorrah, soon available in the Crossroads Sampler.
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