Chibi Vampire and Denmu Jiku manga review
Karin • Yuna Kagesaki • Tokyopop (2006–ongoing) • Kadokawa Shoten (Dragon Age, 2003–ongoing) • 11+ volumes (ongoing) • Shônen, Vampire, Romantic Comedy • 16+ (mild language, blood, seual situations)
Karin Maaka, the daughter of a family of vampires, undergoes a sort of “vampire puberty” and discovers that she has a very unusual condition: instead of sucking blood, she produces it and has to inject it into victims with her fangs. (Everyone feels great afterward.) But her newfound feelings are embarrassing, and when her hot classmate Kenta Usui is around, she can hardly restrain herself from either biting him or gushing blood out of her nose. A fun romantic comedy that plays up all the imaginable “blood = periods, vampirism” comparisons, Chibi Vampire manages to have the good guilty feeling of dirty pleasures without actually showing any nudity (despite Kagesaki’s previous work as an adult manga artist). The anime-style artwork is appealing.
Denmu Jikû, “Electric Dream Space-Time” • Kazumasa Takayama • Dark Horse (1996–1997) • Kodansha (Afternoon, 1995) • 9 issues • Seinen, Science Fiction, Drama • Unrated/16+ (violence, nudity)
Ten months after an asteroid impacts in central Tokyo, one of the three people who’d been listed as missing in the crater turns himself in to the police and spins an outrageous tale of where he’d been, including alien probes that are able to stop time, invasive cyber-circuitry procedures, resurrections, and battles to the death with other altered humans. The characters’ reactions to being covered in metal tubing that wraps around their bodies like a skateboarder’s protective gear and then talks to them telepathically are charmingly naturalistic (“Oh, God … I must be losing my mind!”). The story veers back and forth from soap opera to alien first-contact theorizing like an episode of The X-Files in comic form. Very nicely drawn, with a better-than-usual sense of place and atmospheric renditions of nighttime Tokyo. A sequel volume titled Denmu Jikû 2: Runner was published in Japan in 1999