He’s My Only Vampire, Vol. 1

By Aya Shouoto. Released in Japan as “Junketsu + Kareshi” by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Aria. Released in North America by Yen Press.

In general, when I’m reading a manga I am looking for an entertaining story that draws me in and makes me want to read more. The originality of that story, however, is way down on my list of necessities. I don’t need a title to be different from all those other titles, I just want it to be well-told. So don’t take it the wrong way when I say that there really isn’t much that is original in this series at all. The author is quite familiar to these shores, as Kiss of the Rose Princess, which runs in Asuka, came out a month or so ago. This is a more serious story so far, though there are light-hearted moments. But for the most part, as I went through I was quite happy with what I was reading, even if I kept thinking “This reminds me of Vampire Knight” or “This is just like Millennium Snow”.

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Kana is a tomboy-ish heroine, popular at school, who seems to be good at everything, to the point where she joins three clubs a day to help out, then just as swiftly leaves. Of course, this is actually the result of not one but TWO tragic pasts – as a child, she was in a fire that took the life of two twins she was best friends with, and later, while running track, a delinquent’s misfired prank (also involving fire) results in a broken leg AND ligament tear, ending her career. So she’s at a loss in regards to life. The delinquent is still around, trying to make amends as he clearly is starting to fall for her, but that doesn’t seem to be where this story is going. No, instead she runs into one of the twins, now alive – and a vampire!

I frequently joke about titles being licensed only because there are vampires in it, but they’re a popular fictional genre, allowing readers to indulge in forbidden sexuality and darkness. The scenes of Aki (said vampire) biting Kana are drawn sensuously, and you can tell that there’s more pleasure than pain at work here. There’s a certain amount of subservience here – Aki declares Kana is his thrall, and describes her as his “food”. But the narrative starts pushing back against that fairly quickly – he’s clearly acting distant to cover up his feelings, and when he gets into a fight with Jin (the delinquent I mentioned earlier), Kana shows that she will not be content to simply stand there. Actually, the way she stops the fight is really clever, and my favorite part of the book.

There’s a lot of plot hints dropped here that I’m sure will play out in future volumes. Jin transformed into a wolf-man hybrid towards the end (see why I mentioned Millennium Snow?), Aki’s twin Eriya seems to be alive but in some sort of stasis (or perhaps evil?), and we see someone who seems to be either Aki’s boss or enemy clearly dislike what he’s doing (because of course vampires have rules that cannot be broken.) That said, the series (just ended in Japan) is 10 volumes long, so I imagine we’ll get our answers soon. There’s a lot of stuff you’ve seen before in this series, but it’s told well, and for me that’s what matters. Recommended, particularly if you like supernatural romance.

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Comments

  1. fran housten says

    Hi – can you tell me for what age group this is appropriate? I am a teen librarian and purchase for grades 7-12 but am unsure is this would work.

    Thank you!~!

    • Sean Gaffney says

      There’s some mild nudity and violence, as well as threats of sexual assault. Yen Press rates it for ‘older teens’, which sounds about right. Grades 10-12, maybe?


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