Kouhei Midou wants to be a mainstream photojournalist, but no matter how much he tries, he can’t help taking pictures of ghosts. When he’s hired to take pictures of a haunted castle in Germany, part of an effort to eradicate the ghosts so the castle can be turned into a hotel, he meets a mysterious young girl who says she wants to kiss him. The only problem is that her version of kissing means biting him on the neck! What does this strange vampire girl want with Kouhei and why is he resistant to her attempts to make him her servant?
I’m a sucker (pun intended) for a good vampire story, so I had high hopes for the first volume of this series. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. While the artwork has an interesting comic strip quality which I enjoyed a lot, the story itself was choppy and awkward. The flow across the panels wasn’t consistent and was often overwhelmed by untranslated sound effects, forcing me to keep going back over sections in an attempt to figure out what was going on. Hazuki the vampire girl is not only annoying with no redeeming qualities, but she’s portrayed as extremely young, around 10 years old, so the inevitable romance between her and teenage/young adult Kouhei, which begins to be set up in this volume, takes on a shota-like creepiness, especially when she’s shown bathing. The humor has a forced slapstick quality which never quite develops fully. Overall I found this volume a poor start to a series. Libraries should note that the reviewed volume was marked “T” for teen (13+), but Tokyopop’s website lists the series as “OT” for older teen (16+).
Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, vol. 1
By Keitaro Arima