Manga Review: Rosario + Vampire Vol.1
I've been wanting to get my hands on Rosario + Vampire for quite a while now, ever since I saw the rather attractive artwork when NEO popped their less-than-glowing review online. But with so many other commitments, it's been on the back of the pile for quite some time now.
Having picked up a copy on my latest book hunt, I finally had the chance to put on some green tea, pop the iPod on and take a gander.
Rosario + Vampire is the story of a the luckless Tsukune, a student so average he can't place in any of the high schools in his local area. His parents happen across an academy with an opening, and sign him up before you can say "small print".
Subsequently Tsukune finds himself as the only human attending an all-monster school. Although the student body take on human form to help them to live alongside human society, they are anything but "normal". His first encounter is with a stunning young girl named Moka, who just happens to be a vampire, a creature renowned in the monster world for it's incredible power and rarity. Needless to say the other students can't understand why the cutest girl in the school is interested in a seemingly powerless monster like Tsukune, and various hi-jinx ensue as a result.
What struck me most was the rhythm of the storytelling - once the key players and settings are established (remarkably quickly in fact) then the book launches into 3 main stories, all of which are very similar - student shows interest in Tsukune, student turns into killer-monster, Moka kicks monster's ass.
Whilst this pattern is forgivable in a single volume, it could become tiresome very quickly if the series doesn't alter the pace a little and come up with a more original formula. Until I acquire later volumes I can't say whether or not this will become tiresome, but for the duration of the first book it's an entertaining ride with some nicely recycled ideas.
The main asset that drives Rosario + Vampire is the excellent artwork. It's clean, flows well and contains some lovely larger panels when the story calls for it. There's plenty of variation in the panel layout, which helps to give the pages a fresh feel with every turn, and despite the general overload of werewolves, vampires and the occult in pretty much every media going, it manages to maintain its own identity.
Whilst the book doesn't contain much in the way of originality, it does entertain, and if you like a supernatural edge to your manga without the gore that permeates much of the medium, Rosario + Vampire is a solid choice.
- Ross Liversidge
Witty and well paced. Whilst it's not exactly original, it certainly entertains.