By Leroy Douresseaux
Mar 10, 2007 - 15:20
Mr. Charlie #111 does a book review:Chibi Vampire the Novel 1 is a prose adaptation of the Manga, Karin, created by Yuna Kagesaki. TOKYOPOP publishes the English translation of Karin as Chibi Vampire. This prose story apparently takes place between the episodes of Karin that were published in the Manga magazine, Monthly Dragon Edge #6-7.
In the novel, the lead character is Karin Maaka, a teenaged vampire, but whereas most vampires drink blood from their victims, she is compelled to inject it into her victims. Her body produces too much blood, especially when Karin is under stress. Things that stress her out are negative emotions and feelings and also certain teen boys. One of her classmates, Kenta Usui, is a teenaged boy with a chip on his shoulder, and just one look at his intense stare turns Karin's body into a blood producing factory.
Karin's friends and schoolmates at Shiihaba High School love to tease her about Kenta, because they all think that she and the moody boy are dating and trying to keep it secret. Karin isn't dating Kenta, but there's something about him that drives both her body and her mind just crazy. Try as she might (and she tries mightily), Karin can't get Kenta out of her mind, but she has bigger problems.
Recently, she attacked a man in Shiihaba City Park and injected her blood into him. Now, she's discovered that the man was actually another teenager, Youichiro Juumonji, heir to the fortune and a powerful corporation. Although he could attend Japan's finest private schools, Youichiro suddenly enrolls at Shiihaba High. Why? Also, someone is attacking girls in the area and molesting them. Are the rich boy's arrival and the attacks connected? The girls of Shiihaba High have been able to keep the rumors of the attacks to themselves, but Karin is fearful all of this may be connected to her.
It's bad enough with all her problems that Youichiro is very interested in her, and suddenly, Karin, Kenta, and Youichiro form a messy "love" triangle, and with an attacker on the loose, it all becomes hilarious chaos.
Chibi Vampire the Novel 1 is the first entry in TOKYOPOP's "Pop Fiction" line that I've read. It's a supernatural comedy, although the supernatural elements (Karin and her vampire clan) take a back seat to teenage romantic melodrama and mystery. It's surprisingly a fun read, and I credit that to the English language adaptation by Ian McDowell. This book is clearly aimed at teenaged readers, and McDowell's writing style and use of language is similar to that found in juvenile prose.
Chibi Vampire the Novel is part Nancy Drew with a tablespoon of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"-style supernatural drama, and pinch of "Freaks and Geeks." McDowell drives the story with dialogue and internal monologues, all of it snappy and some of it funny without being snarky. My favorite line is "The girls' running commentary began to take on a hissing catlike quality."
Honestly, I'm not sure what novels today's teen readers like, but Chibi Vampire the Novel recalls pleasant memories of the novels I read as a 'tween and teen.
The publisher's product is available for sale at the website, TOKYOPOP.com, or at comic book shops and bookstores.
I write movie reviews at http://www.negromancer.com.