My Pathetic Vampire Life, Vol. 1

By Ishikawa Rose. Released in Japan as “You no Ataranai Koide-kun” by Futabasha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Monthly Action. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Amber Tamosaitis. Adapted by Carol Fox.

This is, of course, one of the most inevitable titles ever. Japan loves vampire manga. Japan also loves its laid-back school comedies where nothing happens over the course of several volumes. Why not combine the two? But this particular title I think leans a bit too hard against the latter rather than the former. A complete lack of conflict, despite creating many obvious points where conflict could be achieved, makes this manga seem very underwhelming, as if it’s content to simply ride along on its premise: what if a couple of vampire bros had to live the same year in school, over and over again?


Koide is the main character here, a vampire who is governmentally mandated to stay in high school, since he’s still 16 years old. It’s just that this is the 150th year in a row he’s been 16. And of course, being a vampire, just being near the sun is enough to make him collapse. Luckily, he has a few things going for him. His friend Miura is three times his age, so you’d think would be suffering even more, but seems to have come to terms with it. (He’s a bishonen, which helps – Koide has more of a “I just got out of bed” look.) This could be Koide’s year, though – his classmates seem less concerned than usual about his being a vampire (put politely – put impolitely, they’re a bunch of clueless idiots), he has a couple of girls who seem to like him (though he’s mostly completely indifferent to them), and his teachers are there to help him out (even if the school nurse is a bit creepy). What’s not to love?

You know a slice-of-life title is having trouble when I keep wishing that it would turn darker and more serious. There’s lots of ways this series could have done that. The mere fact that there’s a government crackdown on vampires is a fascinating backstory that’s mostly just used as an expositional gag for why they can’t turn the nurse (who desperately wants to become a vampire, as he’s part of “the Haruhi generation” and would like more excitement). You’d think a lot of the plot would revolve around keeping their true nature hidden from the class, but no, the entire class knows they’re vampires, and are totally cool with it. Even Miura’s somewhat serious backstory of being beaten by farmers in the middle ages is used for humor value.

There are certainly amusing moments throughout – I like Koike’s accidentally antagonistic relationship with the girl who sits next to him, as keep depressing each other without meaning to. The class rep’s attempts to have the class get to know Koike are both well-meaning and awful in the best way, and the ‘i have never seen a photograph of myself for obvious reasons’ chapter has a terrific punchline. But I cannot help wanting to shake the author and say “you could have done so much more with this!” It’s a perfectly acceptable slice-of-life comedy that is content to coast.

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  1. Everyone could use a dose of a bishonen on a rainy days. Although the main character on the cover is not really my type, but since you said bishonen, I’m in!

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