Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rosario + Vampire, vol. 1

Story and Art by Akihisa Ikeda
Published in the US by Viz

Slugline: Not another doomed vampire romance. Just a harem.

Tsukune is an average student that has the worst luck in applying to high schools being rejected to all that he applied to. At the last moment his parents manage to get him admitted to a boarding school, but after he arrives Tsukune discovers that it is a school for monsters. It teaches them how to stay hidden among humanity. To do so the students have to remain disguised as humans allowing Tsukune to remain unnoticed amongst them. But the first student he meets, Moka, is a female vampire that was attracted to his... blood. Moka is such a powerful vampire that her power is restrained by a magical Rosario she wears on her neck. Because Moka is such a powerful presence in the school and Tsukune is always around her (because of her attraction to his blood) they often get into trouble, with Tsukune having to pull off her Rosario, releasing Moka's alternate personality that controls most of her vampiric powers.

This is a harem story, though rather than being a comedy/drama, it is more action oriented. It is the nice to see the sweet and 'innocent' girl also getting to be the ass-kicker, though who knows how long that will last. The other thing about harem stories is that they have a lot of fan service, and Moka when her vampire powers are unleashed seems to enjoy kicking the snot out of her opponents. Of course the school has a short skirt as part of their uniform so you can easily figure out where they sneak in the gratuitous panty shots. The episodes in this volume are fairly repetitive, which is wait until things get hairy and Tsukune gets beaten up a bit, then Tsukune manages to pull off Moka's Rosario. She then beats up the antagonist of the episode rather easily. With all that said, the fight scenes are staged entertainingly and there is some silliness in the character motivations (which is inevitable in harem stories, because how many girls can really maintain interest in a guy without giving up or otherwise changing their mind?) But as these things go, it is okay. Maybe because I have seen so much fan service that I don't even really see it anymore, though for other people that are not as desensitized as I am, it may be too much.

And no doomed romances here, at least not yet.

Rosario + Vampire, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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