Story by Kyo Shirodaira with art by Yuri Kimura
Released in the US by Viz
Slugline:A vampire story that isn't about a doomed love with a human (yet)
Akabara is the vampire king of a long vanished kingdom. He has been searching for his queen for a thousand years, with her being magically sealed away because her magic almost destroyed the world. Akabara still loves his queen and has searched for her amongst all the fake magical seals that have been strewn amongst the world, trying to avoid the dhampires (half human/half vampires) that are hunting him down to prevent the release of his queen. His worst pursuer is the Black Swan, a woman with the ability to negate his magical abilities. But the Black Swan is more than just one woman but a curse that is passed from pursuer to pursuer, each time one Black Swan being killed another taking her place with all of the previous ones knowledge and abilities. Despite gaining assistance from a dhampire, in a modern looking city Akabara meets the 50th Black Swan who manages defeats him. But despite being cursed to destroy him, this Black Swan decides to bargain with him.
I was actually pleasantly surprised here, in that while the vampire has a doomed love, it is not a doomed love that normally hunts and kills vampires. Or even human. Another character who I didn't expect to get killed was killed pretty quickly. This is not a radical reinvention of the vampire story, but it has enough of a twist on it that I am not really sure what is going to happen next, which is pleasant. While I am not sure exactly what Akabara's rationale and self-guilt over his queen's abilities is coming from, I can get it exists and is what drives him. His dhampire's companion motivation is a little more ambiguous and the Black Swan's is completely unknown, but the volume ends at a good point, drawing you in to check out the next volume. So while I am not dancing in the street, I am actually somewhat interested in seeing what comes next and what is driving the characters.
The Record of a Fallen Vampire, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga