Jacket

In the first volume of He’s My Only Vampire, we were introduced to Kana, who desperately wants to please everyone, and Aki, the mysterious figure from Kana’s childhood who she discovers to be a vampire. Having been “ruined” by ingesting Aki’s blood and made his thrall, Kana continues her dramatic adventures in the next four volumes. Meanwhile, Aki continues to participate in the game to acquire all seven stigma—marks of demonic power—but there are quite a few secrets yet to be revealed.

The two are joined by delinquent Jin, whose stigma reveals his lycanthropic nature. Jin and Kana discover that Aki has an even darker secret than they knew when they are lured by Aki’s fiancée, the succubus Eve, into a gory soiree of the city’s most dangerous and corrupt underworld. There, Aki is forced to fully awaken Kana to her status as a thrall and she begins to use her newfound powers to protect and assist him in his quest. But it’s not all drama and long, brooding sighs. Their club at school was supposed to be a front to help them find the stigma, but it quickly turned them into odd-job students. Then there’s Kana’s reclusive younger brother Masayuki, who has secrets of his own; the mysterious Isuka and Hitaki, the Student Council’s president and vice president, who aren’t what they seem; and Aki’s tengu sentry and guardian—is he helping or hurting Aki?

The first plot arc comes to completion in volume five when Kana, Aki, and their friends and enemies converge for a restful weekend that turns out to be anything but relaxing. After the obligatory cross-dressing, partial nudity, and breast jokes, the story plunges into the secrets hinted throughout the first four books. We learn the true, horrifying nature of the stigma and some of the dark secrets Aki has been hiding, as well as part of Kana’s forgotten past.

The series’ art continues to be fairly typical of the romantic manga style. Aki’s brooding looks are a sharp contrast to peppy, immature Kana, which could make the romantic scenes a little disturbing for readers who aren’t familiar with manga tropes. There is a lot of blood splashed around—in a brooding, romantic manner, of course—but the impact of the gore is significantly lessened by the black and white art. I did find the typesetting very annoying. The introductory character sketches and plot recap are faded white on a black background, which is almost impossible to read, several fonts are difficult to decipher, and some confusion is created by the placement of some of the speech bubbles.

The series becomes increasingly more mature after volume one. Successive volumes definitely earn the Older Teen rating, with increased sexual tension and innuendo between Aki and Kana (mostly one-sided, since Kana doesn’t really notice anything except criticism of her flat chest), partial nudity, and violence, both in the bloody rituals of the dark underworld and the “lunatics” who are driven mad by Aki’s blood. There are also several uncomfortable scenes, one in which Kana and some fellow female students are threatened with rape, and another when Aki takes the lust stigma from a girl who hints at attempted incest. Although some teen readers may not pick up on the context of the sexual innuendo and other references, this series would be best reserved for a library that is comfortable including mature manga tropes in its collection, such as a public library or high school library that serves only older teens.

The series appears to include only ten volumes, so it’s not a huge investment for a manga collection. While this isn’t a necessary purchase, it’s a fast read and always ends on a cliffhanger with promises of more drama, romance, and dark secrets to come. Fans of paranormal romance and fantasy with a tinge of horror will definitely want to read this series, and they’ll be enthralled as they wait for further developments in each new volume.

He’s My Only Vampire, vols. 2–5
by Aya Shouoto
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9780316382717
Vol. 3 ISBN: 9780316260558
Vol. 4 ISBN: 9780316261685
Vol. 5 ISBN: 9780316302197
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: OT

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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