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Worlds Without End Blog

Vampire Manga 101: Chibi Vampire and Tsukuyomo Moon Phase Posted at 7:25 PM by Glenn Hough


Karin2Attack of the Mega Cute Vampires – Double Feature. Start!

Our first feature is Chibi Vampire and here’s what Tokyopop said about it.

Karin is a cute little girl who also happens to be a vampire…with a twist. Once a month, she experiences intense bleeding from her nose–we’re talking gushers! In other words, she’s a vamp with blood to spare, so rather than stealing blood from humans she actually gives her blood to them. If done right, this can be an extremely positive experience that benefits the “victim” as much as the vampire. The problem is that Karin never seems to do things right!

Karin’s family, of course, are “normal” vampires. Karin is their precious little ugly duckling of a vampire. Crosses and mirrors don’t phase her. [Groan.] She works at a Chinese restaurant that uses lots of garlic. [Moan.] Karin gives people her blood when she bits, instead of taking theirs. [Doh!] And she can even go out in the daylight. [Shudder.] Karin is just trying to enjoy a peaceful high school life, with a part time job. Karin needs that job since who else is going to pay the electric bill? Her family sees in the dark far better than she does. But the blood, her blood, gets in the way. Not only does that time of the month (yeah, I know, only a female mangaka can get away with that) intrudes on her life but her blood seems to act up when she’s around the new transfer student, handsome but poor Kenta Usui. What is going on? Gusher!


I should note right now that it’s a common comedic effect in Japan, for boys in manga and anime to experience nosebleeds when sexually aroused as inexperienced virgins. Yune Kagesaki, the mangaka, is using a variation on this trope as a central pillar of the manga: a joke upon a joke. Yune takes it a step further by using the idea that to the Vampire, blood is like fine wine. The blood of a person who is stressed, happy, or a liar, all taste differently to the vampire. And a certain type of blood, makes each individual vampire very happy. Kenta’s blood makes Karin very happy indeed, even thought she doesn’t drink it. This is our romantic comedy high schooler age vampire manga, with lots of nosebleeds and prat falls.

And once Kenta finds out Karin’s little secret, she bit his mom, his mom! Her family decides to act. They threaten Kenta with total memory wipe (learning to talk again wouldn’t be fun) and designate Kenta as some one to help the klutz (Karin) out, in the daylight hours where normal vampires rarely tread.

Karin10Ah, youth. (Sigh.)

If we wanted to get serious for a moment, I could talk about the often used motif of the unchanging ordinariness of Japanese society played against any number of increasingly non-native individuals. Aliens of all stripes, goddesses, angels, demons, vampires, and on and on have all been paired with this motif, making it one of the standards of Japanese manga in general. The use of this motif seems to indicate a blah blah blah, carry on, carry on, blah, blah… but we’re not going to get serious about this at all. That’s not the point: hesitant virgin love, with prat falls, and nose bleeds is.

If say, Dance in the Vampire Bund could be called meat and potatoes vampire manga, with it’s blood lust, heavy action and international politics, then Chibi Vampire is desert; A desert fortified with nose gushers. Manga, after all, fills every imaginable niche.

Chibi Vampire was originally brought to the states by our dear departed friends over at Tokyopop. Since they went under, it’s the secondary markets that will have paper copies of this one. Just recently our friends over at Viz have come out with digital copies of this series. Or you can check out if you need a free copy. This title is cross-platform with the manga, a book series (also translated by Tokyopop) and an anime.


Moon3Our second feature is Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase and here’s what Tokyopop says about it:

Cameraman Morioka Kouhei is researching Schwarz Quelle Castle. When he steps inside the castle’s great walls, he discovers a mysterious little girl, Hazuki, who’s been trapped there for years. Utilizing her controlling charm, Hazuki tries to get Kouhei to set her free. But this sweet little girl isn’t everything she appears to be…Filled with cute cat girls, vampires and psychic mediums, Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase is the manga that launched the popular anime!

Release the cuteness.

Kouhei has a real problem. He comes from a long linage of exorcists and mediums and yet he himself is so insensitive to such things, it’s like he’s immune. Since the family business is not an option, he does photography. And he seems to be able to get the most amazing ghost photographs. Going to Schwarzquella castle was just another assignment before bumping into Hazuki.

Lady Luna as her keepers call her, promptly bites him, expecting him to become her slave, so he can break the object holding the barrier spell in place, which keeps her imprisoned. Not going to happen; not with Kouhei. No vampire mumbo-jumbo can effect him. A “please” works better, or a “do it, before my keepers kill you” also works. One smashed crystal ball coming up.

Moon4When everyone gets back to Japan after that misadventure, Hazuki is already there, waiting. A few lies, and a few tears later, she has connived a place to stay during her search for her mother. It’s with Kouhei’s grandfather, who is also immune to the willies of the Vampire. His immunity comes from knowledge and training, not from being an insensitive blockhead. A few insensitive words later, then a promise to make things right, and poor Kouhei is certainly acting the role of slave.

Moon Phase is Eastern mysticism meets Western vampire lore. Domestic sit-com which slowly morphed into romantic comedy. The political maneuvers of Vampires within their own clans, wrapped up with two mysteries, like bows on a package. What happened to both Hazuki’s and Kouhei’s mothers? And don’t forget the cat ear headgear.

What I said earlier about the role of Japanese society as the standard backdrop, playing against the nonaverage individual, holds true for this work as well. The cast of characters runs from Vampires, to goblins, to exorcists, retired spiritualists, and back again to simple office workers and cameramen. All of them strutting their moments on the page before the backdrop of the settled now of Japanese society of the early 21st century. Or at least the settled now of Japanese society as conceived by the author’s imagination.


One of the things about this manga which really catches my attention is how Keitarou Arima uses the tension between assumptions about Vampires and Hazuki’s actions. Arima commented on the subject like this: “Just because Hazuki is a vampire, it doesn’t mean she’s a hundred years old or anything. Just as she looks, she’s about 12 or 13; she gives the impression of a slightly short middle school student.” Say the word vampire and most people’s initial reaction is something along the lines of an ageless horror, terrible with power, blood lust, with knowledge and experience spanning centuries. That would be Count Kinkel in this manga. Hazuki is a brat (at times). She’s easily deceived, unprepared magically, and trying to find mommy. Hazuki orders her slave, Kouhei, around – which he ignores. But she can be bright, cheery, helpful, and enraged if anyone tries to hurt or come between her and her first slave. She’s such a princess and a very young one, too. A vampire princess – where have we seen that before? It’s just all part of the fun that is Moon Phase.

Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase was brought to us by our dear departed friends over at Tokyopop. Since Tokyopop is but a memory, killed by many factors that culminated in the last years, of the first decade, of the 21st century, the secondary markets is where you’ll find this title. If you need a free copy, can accommodate you.

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