Chibi Vampire

Review covers the full series

Vampires seem to be the “in” thing at the moment. Why is that? I don't know. But recently lots of authors are borrowing on the concept for their comics, and it's quite common to have a vampire of some sorts in the cast of a Manga.

But so many comics nowadays just use vampires as just another monster-like character because they are popular. However the manga I'm reviewing now is slightly different. The standard vampire attributes are mostly all there (they drink blood rather than eat food, and die if exposed to sunlight), but rather than just copy ideas where needed, here they are fleshed out and expanded on.

An example of what I mean by fleshing out the vampire strengths and weaknesses is that vampires in Chibi Vampire pretend to be normal humans until they reach a certain age. (After which they suddenly develop the standard allergy to sunlight and the usual craving for human blood.)

An example of what I mean by expanding on ideas is that each vampire craves blood from people with a specific negative emotion, such as loneliness, stress or sorrow – and a key point in the plot is that their victims temporarily lose that emotion after their blood is taken. Or that as adult vampires cannot go out during the day they must find other means to protect their children during that time – which again is worked in to the story and becomes a key part of the plot.

Anyway, that's the background against which the manga is set. It's so well set up and it adds so much to the story I felt I ought to spend time mentioning it. However now I should probably start talking about the events that happen in the story itself, and mention that despite featuring vampires Chibi Vampire is a romantic comedy.

The main plot involves the deepening emotions between a vampire named Karin (who is the titular character in the original Japanese version which was named after her) and Kenta, a normal human. Both are very timid in the relationship and it takes them the best part of the series' 14 volume run to make a move on each other. But this is supposed to be a comedy too and the author makes it fun to watch them embarrass themselves.

14 volumes is a little longer than most manga series and you might question if two people falling in love could really hold the reader's attention for so long. Thankfully Chibi Vampire is the master of background stories. There are several sub-plots that start and finish throughout, each of which explores a specific aspect of the world that has been created for us by the author.

I really enjoyed reading Chibi Vampire, and the reason why was that there is more than one element that makes the Manga interesting. Part of the appeal comes from the comedy, part comes from reading the side-stories and watching the characters resolve their problems in life, part comes from slowly finding out about the vampire's way of life, and part of the appeal comes from just watching the interesting characters – all of whom are very well written.

My only complaint against the series is that the ending feels a little rushed compared to the steady pace of the build up to it. After creating such an interesting world with interesting characters, it seems a little sharp and sudden when the reader is pulled out of it.

Also, while the ending is actually very clever, it just so happens to be very similar to the ending of a certain other vampire romantic comedy that came out a few years back. (Which I haven't actually reviewed yet, meaning that if you're reading my reviews by date you may have no idea what I'm talking about. Now in hindsight it would have been a smart idea for me to have started first with the one that was published first, so that you'd know what I was talking about, but oh no...)

Anyway, if you're into Manga then I could recommend making this the next on your reading list. I think it will probably pull you in, no matter what your usual taste in genres is.