This one is Gray's book. Ehh, it's not bad. The artwork is simply awful, all the characters look like strangely proportioned cherubs, but their personalities are still great. Nightmare is adorable, and Gray's weird cluelessness and mothering instincts are hilarious and rather sweet. On the other hand, I do not agree with Alice's repetitive statements about his maturity - there's nothing particularly mature about his personality except for the way he looks after Nightmare, and since he looks like (optimistically) a twelve-year-old boy, I wouldn't call his appearance mature, either. And she said it fifty times. As if whacking me over the head with it every second page would make me start to believe it, or something.
Alice was even more annoying than usual in this one - she literally didn't stop thinking about Gray for three entire seconds. And she made a big deal out of missing Julius since the clocktower's gone, but within two pages she's head over heels obsessed with Gray? I have no respect for this girl. I have very little respect for her in most of her incarnations, but in Kuroi Togage to Nigai Aji I have absolutely none. She's pathetic.
But Nightmare is so precious. He's like a stupid, whiny little puppy with an overdose of ego and a terror of hospitals and medicine, but he manages to be creepy and lofty and all-knowing at the same time. There are just no other characters like Nightmare. I love the fact that he's actually hanging around in these spinoffs, because he's sadly underrepresented in the series as a whole.
I actually like Gray better in Ace's volume, though - maybe it's just because Alice wasn't obsessed with him, or maybe it was his rivalry with Ace, I'm not sure. I loved their banter in Ace's volume, but in here they were a little . . . bland.
Anyway. It's not bad, and I'll read the next one. I hope they don't let the silly romance ruin Gray's character . . .
(Actually, while I'm on the subject, why can't they just write these spinoff volumes and not add the romance angle? Why can't I have a handful of Blood or Julius volumes where Alice isn't involved with anyone, or where she's at least involved with someone besides the title character? Because the romance always messes up the characters in at least a couple of scenes. Always. It drives me insane.)