By Flowerchild. Released in Japan by Shonen Gahosha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Young Comic. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Christine Dashiell. Adapted by Casey Lucas.
Mever let it be said that the author isn’t putting all her cards on the table here. The cover, which features our titular heroine carrying a blood bag stand, boxes of tomatoes, drinking tomato juice, with with garlic streaming behind her… yeah, this is a vampire manga. And a very silly vampire manga – indeed, the selling point is the humor, rather than the vampirism, though there is the occasional semi-serious element. Mostly what we see here is Endo Yasuko (the vampire) becoming friends with (somewhat by force) Mikaoka Shizue, her self-proclaimed emergency rations. (Given this is a Shonen Gahosha title, I have to wonder if the Excel Saga allusion is deliberate or not.) There has been a string of murders of young women at their school… but is Yasuko really responsible? And perhaps most importantly: is this series actually yuri, or just suggestive and fanservicey?
There’s actually more going on here than I expected with a premise like “comedic vampire girl’. It’s not as slice-of-life as you’d think. As the book goes on, Shizue tries to subtly figure out what really happened with the murders of the three girls, and also see how Yasuko actually deals with her victims. She herself is a victim (mostly willingly) a few times, but it’s clear Yasuko is holding herself back. There’s also a few new characters introduced to help expand things – the overly bitter student who has an ax to grind uses her daddy’s money to hire a vampire hunter from Texas of all places. Vampire hunter is also a teen girl, and in perhaps the most surprising move of the volume starts off as being completely unable to speak Japanese but by the end of the book is almost fluent in it – she is a funny foreigner, but it’s less because of her mangled Japanese and more because of her growing obsession with manzai humor.
This series runs in Young Comic, which is not QUITE as salacious and sex-filled as its sister magazine Young King but comes close. As such, I was rather surprised that there wasn’t more fanservice – this is definitely a Seven Seas title, rather than their Ghost Ship line. There’s the occasional emphasis on Yasuko’s large breasts, and Yasuko and Shizue share a bedroom but nothing really happens. Honestly, this is really somewhat pure. It becomes fairly clear by the end of the book that Yasuko likely ISN’T responsible for the murder of the three girls, though it’s not made clear who is, and Yasuko is going to have a lot of trouble proving her innocence, especially since the police are now sniffing around. There’s also Itami Mitsuri, who seems to be a typical Gal but one or two scenes suggest she may also have supernatural origins. That said, right now she seems to be harassing the heroine more through social media than anything else.
This is a cute, funny title, though I’m not sure where it’s going to be going. If you like vampires and are looking for a less serious take on the genre, you may want to give it a try.