Review – Dance in the Vampire Bund: Volume 01

Publisher: Media Factory (Japan)

English Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment

Genre: Supernatural, romance, seinen

Chapters: 01 – 06 + appendix

Author: Nozomu Tamaki

Artist: Nozomu Tamaki

Dance in the Vampire Bund is a supernatural romance manga that, unlike the shit-fest that is Twilight (books & films alike), is actually good.  Now I’m not really one for romance (though I did enjoy Love Hina) but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first volume of this series (currently ongoing) but maybe that’s just because I’m a loli/vampire fan.

The story revolves around Akira Kaburagi, a member of the Earth Clan, who as a child agreed to serve Mina Tepes, the child-like ruler of all vampires.  Akira, from the information we’re given in the first volume, is a werewolf-like creature tasked with protecting Mina Tepes.  After Mina pays Japan’s budget deficit of 1,000 trillion yen, the government establishes a special district – a vampire settlement called the bund on an artificial island in the middle of Tokyo harbor known as Tokyo Landfill #0.

To make it clear, Dance in the Vampire Bund is not a hentai manga, though there is plenty of ecchi moments, Nozomo Tamaki has chosen to focus more on the storyline and plot as opposed to having the characters just debase themselves at every opportunity.  I’m a big vampire fan and so when I read the synopsis of this manga – vampire loli building vampire nation in modern-day Japan, I found the concept to be quite refreshing.  Sure vampire and werewolf stories have been done to death (I won’t even bother trying to recall all the iterations) but Tamaki’s take on vampire/werewolf politics is quite interesting with a certain vampire family not approving of using Akira to guard Mina Tepes and not forgetting the blossoming romantic angle, though somewhat uncouth, between Tepes and Akira, given that Akira appears as a 17-year-old boy whereas Tepes has the body of a child.

What you can expect in this manga is a lot of action, with vampire and human warriors alike trying to assassinate Mina Tepes, romantic awkwardness between the protagonists, consumption of blood (naturally) and though Dance in the Vampire Bund isn’t a comedy, the antics of Mina Tepes are often quite humorous.  On another note it must be said that I really liked Tamaki’s artwork, unlike so many manga out there, the art style is clean and well-defined, never becoming too busy or containing obtrusive speech bubbles that impact on the quality of the art. Too many times in manga have I seen speech bubbles engulfing too much of the artwork thus ruining the end product.

Though there are plenty of ecchi scenes, the manga doesn't rely on them to carry the story.

Though seven volumes have been confirmed, judging by this site, there will be at least ten volumes to look forward to.  Apart from the manga, a 12 episode anime series, of the same title is currently playing on TV, though I opted to read the manga first.  Lately I’ve found a lot of anime series to be generic and tedious, so seeking out the original source material has proven to be a wise course of action.  Going back to the aforementioned Twilight, it’s nice to see proper vampires once again, though nowhere near Alucard’s level, the vampires in this manga are able to soak up vast amounts of gunfire, drink blood, display super speed and actually combust in sunlight unlike the sparkly bullshit of Twilight’s ‘vampires’.  At the same time Tamaki manages to integrate romance into the story without destroying the integrity of the vampires, I mean seriously – vampires are the original romantic monster so you have to wonder why Stephenie Meyer felt so compelled to rape and sodomize the poor creatures to such an extent that they resemble closet homosexuals as opposed to fearsome killing machines.  Dance in the Vampire Bund is proving to be quite enjoyable so if you like supernatural loli tales, give this a read.

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