Just when it seemed like life was returning to what passes for normal at a high school for demons, a few more vicious things are getting ready to make some serious bumps in the night for Tsukune and pals.
Writer/Artist: Akihisa Ikeda
Translation: Kaori Inoue
Adaptation: Gerard Jones
What They Say
QUIZ 7: EXORCISTAS A HUMAN ATTENDING A SCHOOL FOR MONSTERS, ENCOUNTERING AN EXORCIST MIGHT EXPEL...a. the demon inside youb. you from schoolc. a loud burp
Life’s pretty tough when your best gal has a nasty-looking scalpel aimed at your throat. Of course, if said chick also happens to be a vampire with a split personality—who’s already turned you into something of a blood-thirsty haunt—well, maybe opening a neck geyser is the least of your worries.
Manga-ka Akihisa Ikeda returns in this seventh volume of ghoulish high school tales, picking-up right where the previous book left off, with an entranced Moka taking a vicious swipe at poor, befuddled Tsukune. Our pack of nightmarish do-gooders continues to fend off attacks from the shadowy group of mutant fiends known as monstrels, baddies of mixed monster heritage out to control Yokai Academy. And first on their list of takedowns is Tsukune, thanks his newly exaggerated reputation as the toughest kid in school.
All told, this isn’t one of the more satisfying installments of <i>Rosario+Vampire</i>, as the book’s content is largely a bridge between larger story arcs. Once Moka’s odd predilection for stabbing people is solved, the manga’s middle portion goes into filler mode, although the monstrels’ nefarious designs do remain the primary force driving events. Notable, at least, amongst these less pressing chapters is a feisty dual beat-down featuring our rosary-wearing vampire lass and everyone’s favorite busty succubus, Kurumu. The winged temptress actually gets a few emotional scenes this volume, helping to portray her feelings for Tsukune in a slightly stronger light.
The secondary girls, overall, are still woefully underused, especially the loli witch Yukari and striped knee-socks wearing Mizore. Controlling a large cast is generally tricky, but in this instance, the lack of time devoted towards the other main females makes it difficult to accept any romantic tension surrounds this motley group. Even with Kurumu forcefully throwing herself at Tsukune, Moka dominates the book’s attention, leaving the other three demon darlings feeling like little more than hangers-on.
By volume’s end, we’re segueing into the next prominent storyline. Monstrel activities are on the rise, and the promise of a blood-stained school festival looms over the student body. When Tsukune’s suddenly taken to meet the acadamy’s headmaster, he makes an unexpected discovery and is given an ominous choice by this hellion principal of education: join the school festival committee, or be expelled.
Throughout, Volume 7 stays true to the series’ trademark of violence speaking louder than words, with the problems faced by Tsukune and crew solved using fists rather than brains. For all its spontaneous rumbles, the series never really crosses into full-on action. Ikeda avoids lengthy liquid brawls, keeping his skirmishes short and focused on eye-catching poses and bone-crushing hits. Such treatment is probably for the best. With nary a question as to who will eventually emerge victorious, why not skip the power-leveling and a bit of inane banter, to simply go with sexy shots of Moka’s toned legs kicking villains into the stratosphere.
The book is visually Ikeda’s best yet. His characters have evolved further, sporting stronger features and a greater three-dimensionality. What especially impresses is the attention given to their proportions and attire: the thickness of limbs, the way people stand, the manner clothes drape over bodies—Ikeda’s characters contain a certain realistic quality which readily captivates the reader’s eye. Thankfully, the cast also take-up the majority of each pages’ real estate, as backgrounds are often rather sparse and forgettable.
Compelling as the character artwork might be, this volume isn’t changing anyone’s mind on the manga. Asides from some typical maturation on the part of Tsukune—the insecure boy growing into a resolute man—there hasn’t been much development in the story, just different takes on the same routine: girls fawn over boy, monsters attack, group vanquishes foes, girls go back to fawning over boy. All the same, while <i>Rosario+Vampire</i> Volume 7 brings nothing new to the table, it’s a solid enough entry in the series.