Almost two months ago, I visited the book fair at my middle daughter’s school. With me were Gwen, it was her parent-teacher conference we had just finished, and Maggie. Knowing Maggie’s love for the anime cartoons, and pretty much anything Asian really, I pointed out a few of the Manga books. Of the books available, she picked Vampire Kissesbecause, unlike regular Manga, it opens and reads left to right like any other western-civilized reading material… regular Manga opens and reads right to left, making the average American feel as if the book is backwards or defective; some kind of misprint. So today I am writing my first review for a Manga book :-)
According to the Anime Critic website’s glossary, Manga is:
The Japanese term for comic book. In Japan, manga are targeted at all age groups and cover a wide range of genres. This is in contrast to Western comics which are typically based around superhero themes.
Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives volume 2 is a continuation of the first book (unfortunately, we’ve not found volume one anywhere) in which Raven, the goth heroine, and Alexander, teenage Vampire hero, meet and fall in love. In volume two, they are already in love and kiss a lot in the book (which always brought a loud “EwWwwWWw!!” from Maggie, followed by giggles, then her looking back at the panel again, and giggling some more).
In this book, we meet Claude, Alexander’s half-vampire sexy cousin, and his gang. He has come from Romania to Dullsville, that’s the name of the town Raven and Alexander live in, to steal their grandmother’s vial of whole vampire blood. The construct of Vampire Kisses is that vampire blood will turn a half-vamp into a full vamp and a human, like Raven, into a half-vamp (and make her immortal).
Claude pushes this angle to try to get Raven to betray Alexander’s trust and give him the vial, telling her how, when she’s a half-vampire, she will be able to really share a common bond and a deeper relationship with Alexander. In the meantime, Alexander struggles to work out a plan that will get rid of Claude without giving him the blood.
It was a lot more interesting an pleasurable to read than I had thought it would be. The illustrations are edgy and modern, Raven in her goth gear and Claude with his lip ring, and it has a fun comedic quality to it. We laughed at several silly events… like a lot of Japanese-style animation, Vampire Kisses‘ characters become Chibi-looking caricatures of themselves until they regain their composure. The fact it was about vampires appealed to me, and I think one of my next mangas will be Vampire Knight… and Fruit Basket for Maggie.
Still uncertain of my feelings about manga, and having nothing to compare it to, I’m going to give Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives volume 2 by Ellen Schreiber 3 out of 5 stars.