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Manga / From Eroica with Love

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"I'm always searching all over the world for works of beauty to make them mine. And whatever I want, I get. It's my personal policy."

From Eroica With Love is, as the title implies, a James Bond spoof. It's one of the longest running manga in Japanese history, running from 1976 to 2012 (though it changed magazines a few times and went on hiatus from 1989 to 1995). It stands out for never having been animated, despite being quite popular (the creator dislikes animation), and for using Comic-Book Time, despite being largely realistic.

The series begins in the Cold War Era, with the introduction of the flamboyantly gay art thief (and Robert Plant lookalike) Earl Dorian Red Gloria, also known as Eroica. Together with his hapless assistants (James, Bonham, and several others), he aspires to steal gorgeous art, wear gorgeous clothes and spout gorgeous poetry. Soon, however, he meets his match in the German Major "Iron" Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach of NATO Intelligence, who swears to catch Eroica with the help of his terrified subordinates.

The chemistry between these two characters has kept the series going for over 30 years. Neither Klaus nor Dorian will let go of their target: Klaus, being practically asexual, stubbornly refuses to acknowledge Dorian's obsession with him, and Dorian, who sees Klaus as a "work of beauty" truly worth stealing, refuses to believe that Klaus doesn't want him.

Basically, it's Road Runner vs. Coyote set in Europe. And the roadrunner wants to screw the coyote.

This work provides examples of:

  • Agent Peacock: Dorian, being at once a campy fop and an accomplished art thief, is very much an example. In fact, he provides the current page image.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Caesar Gabriel (superhuman intelligence), Leopard Solid (superhuman strength and stamina), and Sugar Plum (enhanced senses and future sight).
  • Berserk Button: Klaus' dad was a German tank commander in WWII. Do not mention the Nazis. In this instance, however, it might be Dorian you've got to worry about (see Hallelujah Express).
    Klaus: "The fate of the world hangs on the underwear he's wearing!"
  • Blue Blood: Both Klaus and Dorian, although if you go back far enough you hit PIRATES.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Half the cast, but especially Dorian. He poses as an Upper-Class Twit at parties, then steals the host's art collection.
  • Butt-Monkey: No, not like that. Poor, earnest Agent A tries his best, but his overbearing boss and incompetent colleagues generally ensure that everything goes wrong and he gets the blame.
  • Camp Gay: Dorian is a very flamboyant art thief with a penchant for handsome men like Klaus.
  • Catchphrase: Dorian: "From Eroica With Love"
  • Chase Scene: The first Chase Scene is a classic moment: Klaus chases Dorian down the Autobahn in a tank. It should be noted that Dorian's driving a Lamborghini, and the tank has no trouble keeping up.
  • Class Reunion: The Chief forces Klaus to go to his class reunion as part of a plan to marry him off. There we learn that Klaus has actually mellowed out since those days.
  • Celibate Hero: Klaus. Certainly not Dorian (well, we assume so, anyway).
  • Clingy Jealous Guy: James, for Dorian, and to a lesser extent, Agent G, for Klaus.
  • Closet Key: Dorian Red, for Gabriel.
  • Cold War: The series begins in this era.
  • Contrived Coincidence: How Dorian and Klaus keep meeting up.
  • Da Chief: The Chief, Klaus's boss.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Dorian tried a version of this, but kept missing.
  • Dirty Old Man: The Chief, who shows a personal interest in Wholesome Crossdresser G.
  • Firing One-Handed: Klaus can fire a Magnum single-handedly. It's a trait that people use to identify him and a bit of a party trick (if you don't mind your venue being blasted).
  • Flanderization: James the accountant starts off merely fiscally responsible, but quickly becomes such a penny-pinching tightwad that he gets a refurbished butterfly for his cast page. Fandom holds that this actually happens to Dorian himself in post-hiatus stories; he goes from being a capable foil for Klaus to the comic relief that the Major constantly has to bail out of trouble.
  • Gentleman Snarker: some of Dorian's victims don't even realise he's insulted them, which just makes him decide they're even stupider than he thought.
  • Gentleman Thief: Dorian — the title of the series is what he leaves on his Calling Cards.
  • Generation Xerox: Al Halcon
  • Germanic Depressives: Klaus. Interestingly, the other Germans do not conform to the stereotype.
  • The Hedonist: Dorian comes across as one initially, and Klaus certainly thinks "the fop" meets the requirements, but the thief's a bit too soft-hearted to fully embrace this trope.
  • Hidden Depths: Klaus can sing! Also, he does appreciate beauty; it's just that he prefers tanks to works of art.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Dorian views his crew as more family than anything else. They even have team t-shirts. The collection of rogues who attend his convention are also pretty civil and protective of each other.
  • Identical Grandson: Klaus and his ancestor Tyrian (The Man in Purple) look almost exactly alike. Same with Dorian and his ancestor Bendict. Tyrian and Bendict are from Al Halcon.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Dorian's naturally sneaky, but on several occasions he is genuinely trying to help the Major out, or at least, stick to his end of a bargain. Interestingly, his double-crosses generally work while his acts of kindness and/or love backfire.
  • Love Hurts: Dorian would fall for the guy who not only refuses to fall for his charms, but violently rebuffs them.
  • Long Runner: From 1976 onwards, until stopping for a hiatus in 1995, then returning and ending in 2012.
  • MacGuffin: "The Man In Purple," a painting owned by Klaus' family that Dorian has been chasing since he first set eyes on it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dorian's a semi-benign version of this. Klaus isn't afraid to pull a few emotional strings either.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Klaus' tank, which Dorian acquires and retains — presumably as a memento of their first meeting.
  • Miser Advisor: James the accountant, although his primary motivation for hanging out with Dorian is unrequited love.
    • Which, by the way, doesn't mean he doesn't get any action from Dorian. In fact, Dorian's quite happy to share a snog or two with James, or possibly more than that, if he feels like it or if it advances the plot.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Eventually, Eroica and Klaus end up working together so much they're considered a team by the espionage community. The CIA puts their constant fighting down to lover's quarrels. Doesn't Dorian wish that were the case.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: the KGB agents (even the women), and especially Mischa.
  • National Stereotypes: Klaus is a Germanic Depressive. Dorian is far from the picture of British Stuffiness, but he is an Oscar Wilde-type Englishman. The KGB live and breathe their national stereotype.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Z, the youngest of the Alphabets.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dorian, as you can read here, is based on Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant. His gang is the rest of the band, with James most obviously being Jimmy Page.
  • No Fourth Wall: Dorian complains about his diminished role in some stories, James is seen commenting sarcastically on conversations happening miles away just by looking over the panel, and Klaus is reprimanded for using large text when he's angry.
  • No Name Given: The Alphabets. They are called that because the 26 agents correspond to the 26 letters in the Alphabet.
  • Only One Name: An interrogation with the FBI reveals that James only has a first name.
  • Opposites Attract: Klaus and Dorian.
  • Parental Favoritism: Dorian was his father's favourite, his "ally in a house full of women." Klaus shows a professional variant, favouring competent rookie Agent Z over the other alphabet agents, even Agent A, who's technically second-in-command and fairly reliable, if extremely unlucky.
  • Pet the Dog: Usually for Klaus. There's a brief scene that shows him sharing his lunch with a horse that he's commandeered, and on occasion he'll show a certain level of affection/respect for Dorian (usually after insulting him for the best part of four chapters). Mischa, a KGB agent with no qualms about murder, is a doting daddy and loving husband whose main concern when exiled to Siberia is how his family is doing.
    • Klaus is always polite and friendly to nuns. And he dislikes disturbing civilians.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Alaska (the frontline of the Cold War) is a constant threat for the Alphabet, even if, when they finally do get sent there, they end up much healthier and more relaxed than they were in Germany.
  • The '70s: The hair! The clothes! The decor! The hair!
  • Shoe Phone: Mocked thoroughly.
  • Shower of Angst: In 'Seven Days In September, Part 2', Klaus has one after having a drunken fight with Mischa the Cub, because he thinks he's done something that a man of his rank and reputation should never have done.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Both Klaus and Dorian's lungs must be in tatters by now.
  • Spy Catsuit: Klaus only appears in one of these once, since it's normally Dorian's thing.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Subverted
  • Subordinate Excuse: James, Dorian's accountant, is blatantly infatuated with him.
  • Suck My Rose: Roses are associated with Dorian, and it's not unusual to see him holding one.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: There was a Zenigata expy in the first two chapters. Not Klaus because it's not his job to catch Eroica, he's much more interested in foiling the plans of the KGB.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: The plot usues this to keep the reader's relationship to the main characters roughly equal; it alternates between Klaus and Dorian's points of view, preventing Klaus from coming across as a violent maniac and Dorian being viewed as an incompetent nuisance (for example, Klaus may not see the method in Dorian's madness, but the reader will).
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Dorian ends up wearing a pair of underpants that has a top-secret microfilm hidden in the trim (he doesn't know about this). Klaus hunts him down and demands he strip and hand over the undies, leading to a "why Klaus, I didn't know you cared" scene before Klaus puts him straight.
  • Technical Pacifist: Dorian; it's not that he hasn't tried to use a gun, it's just that he's horrible at it.
  • True Love is Exceptional: Dorian is shown to prefer effeminate men. Klaus is anything but.