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April 21, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: How to Seduce a Vampire

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: How to Seduce a Vampire
Author: Nimosaku Shimada
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Juné imprint
Volume: Unfortunately, it’s a one-shot.  I really wish there was more, but I think this is it.  $12.95.
Vintage: 2007 by Oakla Publishing in Japan, January 2010 by DMP
Genre: Yaoi (16+), mild sexual situations, vampires, romance, a touch of comedy, plenty of drama, and even a little historical fiction

Half of this book is broken into two chapters about the main characters, Mizuo and Watanabe.  It’s followed by one related chapter exploring their past (hundreds of years ago), and another that I originally thought had something to do with the back story, but on a more attentive second look appears to be unrelated but set in the same era, and a bonus unrelated story about a pair of cosplayers in present time.  On his way to work, Watanabe spots a seemingly injured man near a bridge, and he stops to help.  The man refuses an ambulance, but goes for a blood transfusion the old fashioned vampiric way.  Hours later, Watanabe wakes up to find himself lying next to a strange man.  Mizuo, genuinely surprised that his prey is still alive and well, wipes Watanabe’s memory and sends him on his way.  Unfortunately, having missed work, Watanabe is now out of a job.  To make matters worse, a stranger appears before him and tries to kill him…but is stopped immediately by the sudden appearance of Mizuo, who rips out the young vampire’s heart.  Feeling bad that he’s gotten Watanabe involved in his troubles, not to mention that the memory wipe didn’t work, and he was also the cause of him getting fired, the vampire offers to let Watanabe work the front desk at his hair salon as a live-in employee (for his protection, of course).

Trouble follows close behind Mizuo, and Watanabe finds himself caught in the middle as Mizuo’s past comes back to haunt him (quite literally).  It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that these two met.  Both men appear to sense an extra something in the eyes of the other, as if they have met before.  Watanabe is a descendant of…what is easily described as a demon slayer or vampire hunter.  In fact, Watanabe’s ancestor(s) has hunted Mizuo in the past, over 1,000 years ago, with an ancient demon slaying sword forged by….  Well, that’s a bit of a spoiler, so I’ll leave that to those who want to read the book and find out on their own.  It makes up the second main story in the book, which traces the forger of Mizuo’s specially made scissors all the way back to the creation of the dangerous steel.

The third story (“Tiger and Dragon”) in the book is about a Shogun, separated from his men, who is saved from a wild beast by a roaming warrior.  There’s a bit of fuss about a sword from the Shogun’s Emperor, so I initially thought it was supposed to be THE sword, but I’m not sure anymore.  The final story (“Strobe Lights”) is a humorous, cute tale of a cosplayer named Hayabusa who is enamored with a legendary (but technically retired) cosplayer and costume/prop maker named Takamiya.

Takamiya agrees to teach Hayabusa his costume making techniques in "Strobe Light," from How to Seduce a Vampire.

If this book has one serious flaw, it’s that it’s incomplete.  There’s more story to tell.  Quite a bit more.  I don’t want to say things are necessarily entirely unanswered, because there are answers provided.  But they’re brief (note: not rushed), and barely touch on what I’m sure could be a very rich history (and future).  I was left with a slightly unfulfilled feeling, very much wanting to read more about these characters and their history.  The story also teases Watanabe’s awareness of his past, that he sort of remembers Mizuo (and Mizuo certainly remembers him), but it’s barely touched upon in the present story line (Watanabe himself barely pursues it), which is disappointing.  If it has a smaller flaw, it’s that there’s some fairly goofy stuff in what is otherwise a moderately serious story.  Mizuo is a hairstylist, with many vampire clients, so he has to use specially made scissors (similar in composition to the demon slaying sword) to cut their hair with.  It sounds like the plot for a cheesy shojo title, but somehow manages to seem fairly normal.

The art is nice, if a little generic.  What I mean is that I like the art, but the character designs and the art itself sort of look like many other books out there.  It’s good, but it doesn’t stand out.  The mangaka is also not the best at drawing action scenes, though she does do a good job with expressions and period clothing.  The main story has a warmth to it, but it’s not as gentle as the feeling of In the Walnut.  Still, there’s more to this book than you would think, and my enjoyment of the title certainly disqualifies a previous statement someone made about my feelings for another yaoi vampire title.  Had this title been out when I did my vampire manga highlights back in October, I could have easily proven them wrong.  I hope Shimada revisits these characters in the future, because it’s such a shame that we’re given so little here.


Review copy provided by Digital Manga.



  1. Billy

    Ya know, I never realized until right this minute but every story is/would be better with vampires. 🙂

  2. Kristin

    Hmm…not always.
    Here I would like to make a crack about how they didn’t help Twilight any, but they actually did, because without the vampires it would just be Bella complaining about how boring life is. Of course, with the vampires, she just talks about how beautiful her boyfriend is for half the book. So it’s a lose-lose really.

    The vampires did make this particular book a rather nice one, though.

  3. […] Book Bin) Connie on vol. 14 of The Gentlemen’s Alliance+ (Slightly Biased Manga) Kristin on How to Seduce a Vampire (Comic Attack) Tangognat on vol. 3 of Karakuri Odette (Tangognat) Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Kingyo […]

  4. […] Book Bin) Connie on vol. 14 of The Gentlemen’s Alliance+ (Slightly Biased Manga) Kristin on How to Seduce a Vampire (Comic Attack) Tangognat on vol. 3 of Karakuri Odette (Tangognat) Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Kingyo […]

  5. […] one continually destroys the other (or both destroy each other). I eat that stuff up. It worked in How to Seduce a Vampire, in Crimson Cross, in AIR, and in Angel Sanctuary. It works here, too…sort of. It would work […]

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