Originally published in 1976, Eroica is a shonen-ai classic. It centers around the adventures of Earl Dorian Red Gloria a.k.a. the Earl of Gloria a.k.a. Eroica, international art thief, and his various conquests and thefts across the globe.
The Earl is a flamboyant and extremely wealthy man. He loves beautiful art, beautiful men, and he’s perfectly willing to steal either to get what he wants. In volume one of Eroica we meet a trio of friends (Cesar, Sugar, and Leopard) about to enter the Earl’s domain. Cesar and co. possess special powers, including ESP, which, we are told, were given to them by a Mysterious Man earlier in their lives. (No, I have no idea how or why that fits into the overall story, but that’s how it’s written.) Mainly, all three are now incredibly, ridiculously gifted; super strength, super brains, super looks, and twenty million languages each. However, the important part comes when Cesar catches the Earl’s eye. Eroica quickly steals several major works of art and Cesar, who goes kicking and screaming. After a series of small escapades, Cesar is freed. Now however, Cesar and the Earl have quite a mutual attraction for each other and he’s more upset about the possibility of never seeing the Earl again than being kidnapped.
This is all just from the first chapter of our little tale. Volume One has three more chapters to go! Next, we meet the other major character in our story, Major Klaus Heinz Von Dem Eberbach aka Klaus, a highly respected agent of NATO–remember, this was written in the late 70’s–apparently NATO was quite the place back then. Klaus encounters the Earl by chance and the two instantly hate each other, deeply. Three guesses where that might wind up going. In the meantime, NATO has its eye on Cesar and his ESP. The Major kidnaps Cesar, Eroica kidnaps some of the Major’s art collection, and further adventures ensue.
So far the characters and the plot lines are all fairly silly and over the top, but it’s in a fairly typical manga and shonen-ai kind of way. It’s fun and I’d be curious to see where it leads, but it’s not an intriguing enough story that I’d ever really want to pay money for it. Having said that however, Klaus and Eroica are developing grudging respect for each other and, with Cesar lurking around in the background, I’m sensing a rather amusing love triangle will be coming not so far down the road. Wherever it leads, I suspect it’ll be amusing.
From Eroica With Love
by Aoike Yasuko
DC Comics/CMX Manga 2004