Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Reads You Review: BLOODY KISS, VOL. 1

Creator: Kazuko Furumiya

Publishing Information: TOKYOPOP, B&W, paperback, 208 pages, $10.99 (US), $13.99 CAN

Ordering Numbers: ISBN: 978-1-4278-1579-8 (ISBN-13)

Bloody Kiss, Vol. 1 takes the reader to a crumbling mansion located deep in a fog-enshrouded forest. This is the new home young Kiyo Katsuragi has just inherited from her late grandmother, Lady Mineko. She wants to sell it so that she can use the money to attend law school. However, the mansion comes with two squatters, Lord Kuroboshi and his attendant, Alshu. And they’re both sexy vampires; well, Kuroboshi is actually a dhampir – half-human/half-vampire.

Of course, Kuroboshi and Alshu discourage Kiyo from selling the mansion, but things take an even weirder turn. Apparently vampires choose to drink blood from only one person, called a “bride.” In order to be a full-fledged vampire, one must have a bride, and Kuroboshi chooses Kiyo.

The beautiful art from Bloody Kiss creator Kazuko Furumiya may remind readers of Matsuri Hino’s art for Vampire Kiss, but without the heavy black of the inking and the severe toning of Hino’s manga. A combination of gothic-lite and airy romance, the illustrations and graphics that compose Bloody Kiss create an atmosphere somewhere between syrupy teen love and slightly creepy. Visually, the murky forest and gloomy mansion interiors create a perfect atmosphere from fantasy romance that involves vampires. When beauty needs to be emphasized, as in the school ball that takes place in the third chapter, Furumiya adds sparkles and flower effects to lighten the mood, and for just a moment, Bloody Kiss seems like a normal love story.

In fact, it is the illustrative and graphical style that makes Bloody Kiss. The story doesn’t drive this narrative; rather the impressions and ambiance created by the art capture the imagination. The reader won’t think her way through this manga. This is about feeling the way Kiyo and the rest of the cast do – the wants, dreams, fears, and hurts. Kiyo’s gloomy mansion may be a place readers want to visit time and again.

This volume also includes a bonus story, “Angel Love Song,” about mending broken hearts and true love that is a straight, non-fantasy romance. It’s OK, and can be missed.


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