Genres

November 2, 2009

Bento Bako Weekly: Anime/Manga Vampires, part 2

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Written by: Kristin
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bbw_KarinnosebleedWelcome to part 2 of my look at vampires in anime and manga. Again, I want to reiterate that I am not covering every single vampire title.  There are multiple others, but if I hunted down every single one of them, we’d be here straight through November.  For example, there are other yaoi titles about vampires besides Vampire Kiss, which I mention below (including the upcoming How to Seduce a Vampire, from Digital Manga).  There’s also an OEL manga called Vampire Kisses, (written) by Ellen Schreiber, which is being published by Tokyopop (and I’d toss this one into the “don’t bother” category).  Also, while these are all categorized as stories you may be better off staying away from, it’s all solely based on my own opinion and experience with the works.  If you have different tastes than I do, you may enjoy some of these, and similarly dislike some of the series I previously reviewed as the best of the genre.

bbw_moonphasebox1Moon Phase/Tsukuyomi Moon Phase: By Keitarō Arima.  Photographer Kouhei has a special talent – he’s a magnet for paranormal activity, but he can’t physically interact with it.  While taking some photos of an old castle, he comes across a girl of about 12 years being held captive in the castle.  Revealing herself to be a vampire, she drinks Kouhei’s blood hoping to make him her slave, but is instead freed from her captivity.  Turns out Kouhei is what is known as the Vampire’s Lover, which means he cannot become a vampire’s slave, and his blood has the power to free other vampires from their masters.  Kouhei takes this young vampire, Hazuki, into his home to live with him and his grandfather, who owns an antique shop, and is in reality a powerful spiritualist and exorcist, like most of the members of their family.  But by inviting Hazuki into their home, they also invite her troubling past, which brings unending problems and tragedy.  It sounds rather dark, but it’s actually a pretty goofy show.  In fact, I would say it’s overly and unnecessarily cute.  Which is why I didn’t like it.  Read the 16 volume manga from Tokyopop, or watch the 26 episode anime from Shaft by FUNimation.  For more information, see my review of the anime on Girl G33k.

bbwlamentoflambLament of the Lamb/Hitsuji no Uta:  By Kei Toume, 7 manga volumes, and 4 OVA episodes.  Kazuna Takashiro was abandoned by his father when he was three years old.  One day after school, he wanders over to the house he lived in with his family, when they were all still together (and alive).  He meets the sister he hasn’t seen since she left with their father, who tells him that their father has died… and that they are descendants of vampires.  They must both struggle together to overcome this disease that makes them long for human blood, which slowly drove their mother mad.  The art isn’t that impressive, and it’s often difficult to tell which character is supposed to be speaking.  It’s a bit twisted too, with hints of incest.  You can find this from Tokyopop, but I wouldn’t bother.  There’s also a live action film and an OVA.

bbwbloodykissBloody Kiss:  By Kazuko Furumiya.  The art is sloppy, and the story is ridiculous.  It’s smutty fluff, so you can’t really expect that much… but it’s not even good smut.  If you want something that’s much better written, and still includes some blood sucking (that is, if you don’t mind blood sucking demons instead of vampires), read Black Bird.  Kiyo moves into her grandmother’s old, dilapidated house.  But the house isn’t empty!  It’s home to two male vampires – Alsh and Kuroboshi.  Kuroboshi decides to make Kiyo his bride, the only person he can drink blood from, and the person whose blood will give him special powers.  Read the two volumes from Tokyopop, or forget about it and read Viz Media’s Black Bird instead.

bbwvampkissVampire Kiss: A shonen-ai one-shot by Shouoto Aya.  Shichiri and Kura were childhood friends, but Shichiri moved away.  Now Shichiri has returned to town to attend high school.  Kura isn’t at school, so Shichiri goes to his house to look for him… and finds him hiding in a coffin in the basement.  Then some gay vampire stuff happens, and instead of drinking Shichiri’s blood, Kura drinks… something else.  This is probably not the sort of thing you guys are looking for; which is just as well, because it was terrible, even for yaoi.  But, vampires are vampires!  The lesson here is that just because it has “vampire” in the title, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be “cool.”  Don’t read this online; stay away from this garbage.

bbwchibivampChibi Vampire/Karin: By Yuna Kagesaki.  Karin Maaka is a unique vampire – instead of sucking people’s blood, her body produces too much blood which overflows from her one day every month (yeah…).  She gives blood to others instead of taking it, which (as seems logical) instead of weakening them, gives them energy.  She’s basically the complete opposite of what is usually considered a vampire.  Kenta Usui is the new boy at school.  When Karin lays eyes on him for the first time, her blood starts pumping and she collapses.  On her way home, Kenta follows her and witnesses her biting a human in the park.   Unfortunately he somehow mistakes this for an act of prostitution.  Lots of misunderstandings follow, culminating in Karin getting so stressed out by hiding her secret, and being in Kenta’s presence, that she has an outrageous nosebleed and stops going to school.  When she tells her vampire parents about her nosebleed, and the way her blood reacts to Kenta’s presence, they insist she continue going to school, believing that Kenta’s blood has the quality that attracts Maaka (vampires in this story are drawn to humans with specific qualities, like Maaka’s brother, who enjoys women who are stressed, and her mother who likes liars).  When she finds out that it’s his unhappiness that she’s attracted to, she vows to make Kenta happy at all costs.  But when Kenta finds out her secret, it’s he who must protect Karin.  I can’t even pretend to be excited about this one.  The premise is certainly unique, but it’s really ridiculous, and designed to be exceedingly cute (though I personally didn’t find much cute about it).  It would probably be more interesting to younger (ie: teens and pre-teens) girls.  Read the (14 volume) manga and (9 volume) light novel from Tokyopop, or watch the 24 episode anime from Geneon and FUNimation (which is titled Karin).

bbwvassalordVassalord: By Nanae Chrono.  More gay vampires; seems an easy enough genre.  Charlie is a cyborg vampire, working for the Church as a vampire hunter.  His master is his only source of blood (Charlie won’t drink from humans), so they’re often together.  He even helps Charlie with his jobs now and then.  The exceptionally religious Charlie and his master have quite a tempestuous relationship.  Lots of weird religious elements, homosexual relationships, erotic blood sucking….  Just… stay away from this book.  Surprisingly, it has beautiful art.  Well, for a vampire, boys-love shojo, I guess pretty art isn’t really that surprising.  The story and characters are pretty over-the-top, and not really believable.  From Tokyopop (currently ongoing in Japan).

bbw_TrinityBlood1_500Trinity Blood: Light novel and manga written by Sunao Yoshida, with illustrations by Thores Shibamoto and Kiyo Kujō, respectively.  Later written by Kentaro Yasui, after Yoshida’s death in 2004.  A 24 episode anime was made by Gonzo.  There’s a lot of back story for the series that I don’t remember; I was pretty mesmerized by the animation, but not at all interested in the story or the characters.  Abel Nightroad is a Crusnik, a manufactured vampire who feeds off other vampires, masquerading as a bumbling Catholic Priest, and working as a hunter as he attempts to atone for his past sins.  Enter Esther Blanchett, a princess who was raised as a nun to protect her from assassins.  The two travel together, uncovering the corruptions in the government and the Church, and trying to make peace between the vampires and the humans.
I have mixed feelings about this one.  I hate the story (it’s kind of all over the place) and the anime itself.  I love the art and the animation.  But without a decent story, the art is worthless, no matter how beautiful.  Read the manga (ongoing) and light novels (12 vols.) from Tokyopop, or watch the 24 episode anime from FUNimation.

bbwrosario-vampireRosario + Vampire:  Manga by Akihisa Ikeda (and the sequel Rosario + Vampire II); both anime seasons by Gonzo.  Having failed his high school entrance exams, Tsukune Aono was accidentally sent to an out of the way, creepy school for supernatural monsters.  At first scared of the school’s appearance and wanting to go back home, he changes his mind when the beautiful Moka Akashiya runs him over with her bicycle on her way to attend the same school.  Too bad this gorgeous girl happens to be a vampire, who finds herself extremely attracted to the taste of Tsukune’s blood.  I guess it’s not really an issue though, because Tsukune is pretty much unfazed by her sudden sucking of his blood.  Apparently a short skirt and a nice rack do wonders to make you ignore important facts; like the fact that you’re attending a school with a bunch of monsters who would love to eat you. Find both the 10 volume manga and ongoing sequel manga from Viz Media.  The anime is currently unlicensed.

There are some others that I didn’t have the time to look into well enough to decide whether I thought they were good titles or not.  So the following group of titles has no classification as far as whether they should have been included in last week’s listing, or this week’s.

Vampire Princess Miyu: Created by Narumi Kakinouchi and Toshiki Hirano.  A young vampire named Miyu has been charged with hunting down dangerous, roaming shinma – demons that respond to the chaos in a human’s soul.  The shinma Larva, sent to destroy Miyu, instead binds himself to her, taken in by her deep sorrow, and becomes her guard and companion.  The panels and the pacing in the manga are kind of a mess, but otherwise, the story is interesting.  There’s also a 4 episode OVA and a 26 episode anime series; along with the manga, these are all available in the US.

Black Blood Brothers: Light novel by Kouhei Azano (with illustrations by Yuuya Kusaka), anime distributed by FUNimation, sequel manga written by Kouhei Azano (illustrated by Fujino Akitsugu, Yonekura Satoru, Nekotama Hasumi).  I’m going to have to direct you to Wikipedia and an ANN review for this one.  I unfortunately don’t have the time to watch the anime right now to tell you what I think of it.  It sounds interesting, and I like the look of the art, so I plan on adding it to my list of things to watch.  It is one of the few shonen (action) vampire titles out there, though.

Vampire Juuji Kai/Record of a Fallen Vampire: Manga written by Kyou Shirodaira, illustrated by Yuri Kimura, licensed by Viz Media.  Another shonen vampire title.  Alright, this time I’m just going to be lazy and direct you to Wikipedia again.  I like the art style of this one (what I flipped through anyway), but it’s clearly an action title.  The plot centers on the vampire king Akabara Strauss, who is searching for his queen to release her from the seal that was placed on her.  The human descendants of vampires are out to stop him at all cost, and send out the Black Swan to crush him and destroy the queen.  The story has some romance and tragedy to balance it out, and plenty of secrets to keep you going.  Plus… aliens.  Reading some fan comments and story synopses leads me to believe that the story really goes all over the place and gets a bit out of hand.

And that’s that.  Again, I want to remind everyone that this is only a sample of the titles out there.  And the division between what are good titles and bad titles is based on my opinion.  I hope everyone had a great Halloween!  And if the world seems a little off today, you may have forgotten to set your clocks back this weekend.  Come back next week for a review of Natsuki Takaya’s Tsubasa: Those With Wings, and check in later this week for a look at November’s Previews.

Happy blood sucking,

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net

Part 1 can be found here.

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8 Comments


  1. Billy

    I like the Vampire anime flicks. Their fast paced and no nonsense.



  2. “Then some gay vampire stuff happens, and instead of drinking Shichiri’s blood, Kura drinks… something else.” Eep!

    Yaoi Vampires, huh? Were they featured in ‘Selfish Mister Mermaid’ or ‘Hot Steamy Glasses’?

    “Karin Maaka is a unique vampire – instead of sucking people’s blood, her body produces too much blood which overflows from her one day every month (yeah…).” Good God!

    “Apparently a short skirt and a nice rack do wonders to make you ignore important facts; like the fact that you’re attending a school with a bunch of monsters who would love to eat you. ” … well, since meat is on the menu, I don’t think he minds!


  3. Kristin

    Lol, yeah…. The stories of both of those yaoi/BL titles are ridiculous, Andy. I don’t know where the comic was featured; it may have been tacked onto a larger work, in some sort of anthology, or in a magazine. It may have been a single chapter doujin. I don’t really know.

    As for Karin, the once a month blood flow comes out of her nose, if that helps. Doesn’t make it any less absurd.



  4. @Kris-chan: Hmm, lol, I thought you said you “made an indirect reference” to me, lol. Me and my silly Moon Phase? I can’t find it, lol.



  5. Jay-san:
    Oh, it was in the one from the previous week. In part 1.



  6. I like your blog post, kudos to you for it and keep up the good work blogging. I really love the way you take time to get it done right. 😛 Anyhow, this is just a kudo from another secret admirer who’s an Otaku. I promise I’ll keep reading. 🙂


  7. Robin

    I completely disagree with your opinion of Vampire Kiss. It was a great story, of course I wish there was more but that can’t always happen, and Shichiri and Kura are an adorable couple. You are obviously not a yaoi fan and think it is all trash, so next time ignore the gay smex and give a more objective review.


  8. Kristin

    I don’t really have a problem with yaoi. In fact, I have very much enjoyed some yaoi titles. How To Seduce a Vampire has some similar elements to Vampire Kiss, but it’s done better. The story, art, and relationship is better. It’s not the genre I have a problem with. So I still stand by my opinion. Which is just that…my opinion, and I warned that the division would be based on that.



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