This vampire story is pretty, but little else.
Writer/Artist: Kazuko Furumiya
Translation: Monica Seya Chin
Adaptation: Lianne Sentar
What They Say
Kiyo is a struggling student who strives to become a lawyer and clear her father's name. When she inherits a mansion from her late grandmother, Kiyo thinks she's finally hit a streak of good luck. But she soon finds out that the mansion is already inhabited by a couple of vampires, including the handsome Kuroboshi, who seems to have his eyes set on Kiyo for his new vampire bride...
The build on this volume is competent, but nothing too special. The cover is a rather nice image of Kiyo and Kuroboshi, with a multitude of roses surrounding them. The back cover is pretty much just a summary, but it flows well enough into the generic “vampire-y” feel of the book. This volume contains no color pages, but does have a few bonus images and the author’s commentary is occasionally shown in little columns, which is nice.
The translation is readable, but there are a few problems. Some of the sound effects are translated with by placing a smaller text next to, below, or in-between the original, which is a little ugly but it works. Others, however, are simply left there in their original form, no translation whatsoever, which is frustrating to see. There are few instances in the main text as well that are… questionable (the lines “But…he can’t kill me! I have stuff… I have to do today!” come to mind), however, not having the original text on hand I can’t tell how much is the fault of the translator.
The artwork, however, is the definite highlight of this book. The hair and eyes on particular in the characters can go into a great amount of depth, the emotion and action is displayed well throughout, and when needed, the backgrounds are detailed and interesting.
Kiyo Katsuragi, a poor high school girl who happens to be rather violent, has inherited a house from her late grandmother. The house is “haunted” by vampires, who waste no time in attacking Kiyo. Of course, she proceeds to slam him into the floor, and we learn the vampire, Kuroboshi, was only playing a prank. Oh, and it turns out that Kiyo has to be the landlady for Kuroboshi and Alshu, his vampire attendant. Kiyo then proceeds to do the logical thing and… tells the vampires she just wants to sell the house for some quick cash (Yeah, shortly after meeting vampires, she tries to EVICT them). Then Kuroboshi decides he wants Kiyo for his “bride”, which apparently means she is the one and only person you suck blood from for vampires. Very romantic stuff here.
Shortly afterwards we learn Kiyo’s motivations and back-story. Apparently, her father was framed for a crime… so she wants to become a lawyer… so she can help prove his innocence. Certainly there are no flaws in this plot whatsoever. And she has super-potent blood that makes vampires extra powerful. Oh, and did I mention that Kuroboshi is half-vampire (Apparently called a “Dhampir”)? Having learned of Kuroboshi’s sad past, Kiyo decides to call off selling the house, but the corrupt businessman she was going to sell it to decides to tear it down anyway, so Kuroboshi has to suck Kiyo’s blood to become super powerful and blow up the bulldozer, which solves the problem completely somehow. And that’s only the first chapter!
Afterward the book mellows a little and we see Kiyo try to work a job, and Kuroboshi shows up and causes some trouble while helping out a little. Then we see Kiyo at school for the first time as she works to prepare for a dance. Some bullying occurs and ruins her efforts, but Kuroboshi sweeps in and saves the day with his vampire powers. Throughout all of this, the main characters grow closer and move a little bit out of their cliché personalities, but never too much. The book closes on a completely unrelated one chapter story about a girl who teams up with a pretty boy with a country accent in order to win a music contest and get back together with her old boyfriend. Of course it turns out the old boyfriend is a jerk and she realizes she just wants to be with the pretty country boy.
Bloody Kiss starts off terribly and just barely manages to make it up to decent by the end of the book. The first chapter in particular reads like a bad fan fiction, filled with nothing but clichés and terrible logic. Once the book calms down a little and focuses less on bad back-story and plot twists, the character interactions start to pick up and things become readable. It’s really a shame because the creator really can draw, she just cannot write. It just feels like the rather charming art is completely wasted on the story. The story also has the distinct problem of only having 3 characters with any sort of depth. Only one other named character appears in the story and she never extends beyond being “frazzled girl with glasses.” However, the book definitely does have an upswing to the story and you can see the author improving with each chapter, so hopefully this positive trend will continue into the second volume. As things are, though, if you’re looking to get your vampire fix, look elsewhere.