Manga-ka: Yuna Kagesaki
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2006
Synopsis: “Kenta sees Karin at work and school, each day serving as a reminder that something about the girl with the oft-bloody nose just isn’t right! He’s suspicious… and he’s not exactly subtle about it. Fearing that he might discover her secret, Karin decides to kill this potential problem–with kindness! She goes out of her way to do all kinds of nice things for him. But when Kenta catches her “feeding” yet again, the gig may be up. So what’s a vampire girl to do? Why, take the boy home to meet her parents, of course!”
Chibi Vampire is a series about a vampire teenager with a unique condition. Unlike everyone else in her family who sucks blood, Karin’s body produces too much of the red stuff. When her body makes too much, she has to either bite someone and inject the blood in them or suffer a geyser of a nosebleed. When she gives blood, her ‘victims’ become energetic and happy for a few days afterwards.
Karin is also different from the rest of her family in that she can go out during the day and doesn’t have cool vampire powers like the rest of them. Even if she’s a strange vampire, she still has to keep her condition a secret. Unfortunately, the new student in her class, Kenta Usui has seen her bite two people (one of them was his own mother). Will Karin have to come clean about her strange family to Kenta?
There are a lot of manga that revolve around the main character having a secret (think of any series where the lead cross-dresses, like Hana-Kimi or Girl Got Game). Usually there’s only two ways to deal with it: either the main character keeps the facade up until the last volume, or get it out in the open early on and the characters deal with the fall-out. Personally, I think the second route is the more interesting way to go, and thankfully that’s the path Chibi Vampire takes in this volume.
The series is labelled ‘Comedy/Horror’, though I think it probably only got the horror label because it features a family of vampires rather than because it’s scary (it’s not). It does deserve the comedy designation though as it is a funny series.
I was kind of surprised that it wasn’t labelled a Romantic/Comedy, but after thinking about it, Kenta and Karin don’t really have that kind of relationship. Karin’s blood reacts when she’s close to Kenta, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s in love with him. Kenta meanwhile is drawn to Karin because he wants answers about her and what happened to his mother, who’s suddenly become very chipper and happy. He’s also concerned about his classmate/co-worker (they both work at the same restaurant) having major nosebleeds all the time and just wants to make sure Karin is okay. It’s very likely that their relationship will become romantic in the future, but it’s nice to see it happen gradually.
Karin’s family plays a big part in this volume. While Karin is pretty much an average high-schooler, the other members of her family are your average gothic-style vampires. They are a great supporting cast, but I’m glad most of the manga is devoted to Karin and Kenta as Karin’s family would probably get old after a while. Near the end of the volume Karin’s family hints there may be more to Karin’s condition then she’s aware of. It’s a vague cliffhanger, but enough to make me want more. Well, that and to see where the relationship between Karin and Kenta goes.
The art in Chibi Vampire is cute, but not nauseatingly so. Everyone has very unique character designs, maybe a little too much as it bugs me when family members in fiction don’t look like each other (but I’m also glad Kenta points this out when he sees Karin and her sister).
Tokyopop has this book rated for older teens (16+), though I’m not sure why. There’s one panel of Karin undressing, but that’s it. Personally I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good comedy with vampires on the side.
Review written July 7, 2009 by Shannon Fay