My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I discovered this last year while writing a paper on the transgressive sexuality of vampires in manga, reading the first four volumes then sort of forgot about it. I bought the rest during the saddening Borders closure and I’m glad I did. Don’t get me wrong, this is not for everyone. It has a ton of fan service (either the women wear their clothing tight enough to see ass cheek if they even keep clothing on and the men don’t fare much better). There is misogyny, such as in volume four with a pretty horrific gynecological table scene, but it was meant to be horrific and humiliating, which I find slightly more palatable than the casual misogynism seen too often in certain types of manga. And lastly, this whole series is not meant for kids (as a warning to the parents out there). This is meant for adults and there is a whole lot of nudity, violence and sexual situations. It’s seinan, which is marketed to the older reader, just keep that in mind.
This volume picks up where four left off with Akira, Mina’s champion, is on the run from assassins from the three full-blooded vampire princes. If he loses Mina Tepes, the vampire princess, will have to marry one of the princes. She has no plans of losing her power that way, but by vampire law, she’s bound to honor this battle.
Akira is a werewolf (traditional guardians of vampire in folklore) and he does love the princess. He wants to win, but he has been badly injured. He’s saved first by Hamaseiji and given time to rest. Hamaseiji is a cop assigned to the vampire bund. But the assassins are quick to find the wounded werewolf teen again and Akira is on the run through the bowels of the city. He is also assisted by several vampire children who are among the ranks of the fangless, vampires who pull their fangs and retain much of their human nature. However, not everyone is who they seem to be and it isn’t likely Akira will live to see the dawn.
If you look past all the fan service (and yes, it does annoy me to have to do that, and yes I realize as a seinan manga it’s targeting males which I am not), this is actually a very complicated and interesting storyline. Akira and Mina are likeable characters. Points to that transgressive sexuality I mentioned above, I should point out Mina, in spite of her age, looks like a prepubescent girl and is often shown naked or dressed inappropriate for her physical age. That is sure to not sit well with many, but in content this is one of the best vampire manga out there.
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