By Nanae Chrono
Released in the US by TokyoPop
Slugline: What is it about cyborg vampires that the Vatican has to keep on hiring them?
Charley is a priest wannabe who is also a cyborg vampire that hunts down vampires without drinking of humans. He keeps his vampire creator, JohnnyRayflo, around in order to drink his blood instead of humans, and also keep the yaoi tension ratcheted up. It is set in the present day or the near present day, so the world seems the same as ours, so that vampires are a secret and the fact that Charley is one is kept from his employers in the Vatican even as he strives to be worthy of becoming a priest.
I was prepared to be really annoyed at Vassalord. After all, you would think that creators would be bored with cyborg vampire assassins that work for the Vatican. Apparently, one more because Vassalord was pleasant surprise. Yes, it can't help but be somewhat derivative of other titles that use similar characters (reviews of Trinity Blood and Hellsing) but it does manage to carve out a separate identity for itself. Even the yaoi aspects are not too overwhelming of the rest of the story. It's not coyly implied by any means but neither is it dominating (but is probably the reason why the title is rated 16+.) There are some cliche story aspect I am not wild about (twins? why?) but there are no more jarring that most odd story elements you find in manga. I am not saying that this is the best thing since a staked vampire but it is an acceptable combination of characters and action.
Though if you are a Unitarian Universalist, you may learn a couple things that you didn't know about your church.
Vasssalord, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.