Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shonen Jump Advanced)
Author: Akihisa Ikeda
Genre: Supernatural (Graphic Novel)
MSRP: $7.99 US
Release Date: Now Available
Something wicked this way comes.
Rosario + Vampire is one of those series that is easy to like and hard to put down. It has it’s folkloric monsters and plenty of fights yet it never takes itself too serious to the point that it makes the high school scene refreshingly fun. These students take exams, join club and do all the things high school students do but boy this student body and faculty are way out there. Oh, and that attractive girl you like in your class probably never had fangs and greeted you with a bite to the neck.
The first volume not only introduced readers to the very average human Tsukune who just so happens to be friends with the very lovely vampire named Moka in a school for monsters attempting to adapt to the human world. It also introduced Kurumu, a buxom succubus, who attempted to seduce all the boys in Yokai Academy and ended up dropping her plan to pursue Tsukune as Moka’s rival.
In this second volume, we are introduced to yet another character who will join the three and she just so happens to be an 11-year old genius named Yukari Sendo who also happens to be a young witch. Short in stature and dressed like a typical witch (with the exception of her short skirt), Yukari seems to only infuriates the Class President who only torments her. It isn’t until Moka stands up to defend the young witch that Yukari declares her affection of the lovely vampire and her distaste for Tsukune for being so close to Moka. So starts Yukari’s endless stream of pranks on poor Tsukune until Tsukune and her object of affection save her from the Class President and his clique. Instead of brushing Yukari off, Ikeda adds her to the cast as a friend who now loves Tsukune just as much as Moka and joins them in the newspaper club.
While the addition of Yukari isn’t necessarily bad, she seldom adds anything that makes her really stand out or make us like her the way we do Kurumu. Aside from greeting Moka by grabbing her boobs, she just isn’t as funny as a succubus who panty flashes Tsukune at the drop of a hat and – because she’s a lot younger than her three new friends – Yukari doesn’t get involved during battles. Perhaps in the next volume she’ll show her stuff as the group’s only witch.
In the next chapter, Tsukune’s birthday is coming up and his only wish is to spend it with Moka. Seeing how easily some of the others say “I love you,” Tsukune sets out to tell Moka how he really feels about her. Of course, this isn’t easy seeing as Kurumu often pops up to hug him and both Yukari and the once-bad-guy-turned-friend named Ginei doesn’t stop pursuing Moka. Feeling Moka has forgotten his birthday to focus on modeling for a much-loved art teacher, Tsukune has a bad feeling about the art teacher. On top of that, pretty girls on campus are disappearing. It doesn’t take Tsukune long to connect the dots and come to Moka’s rescue.
After the art teacher scandal, there is enough news fit for printing and the newspaper club is reaching its deadline but a mysterious letter addressed to Kurumu startles her. It seems like a young man has taken photos of the pretty succubus and plans to spread them all over campus if she doesn’t go out on a date with him. Unfortunately, those dates consist of some demeaning photo sessions that have Kurumu away from the club when they need her most. Oh course, Moka and Tsukune come to her rescue and they discover what exactly the young man is and why he knows so much about Kurumu.
In the final chapter, the school newspaper is finally out and the club distributes it with much success. Unfortunately, a group that calls itself the Protection Committee makes sure no more newspapers are distributed and even orders the club to burn the remaining copies. Kurumu isn’t keen on the idea and convinces Tsukune to help her pass out more only to be attacked by a member of the group. A mysterious figure shows up in the end and the Protection Committee comes to an interesting conclusion about one of the members of the newspaper club.
It’s good to see that the series is linking together events from the past volume as well as the chapters in this second volume. Yes, it’s getting a bit repetitive to have the characters face off against a monster with Tsukune ripping out Moka’s Rosario each time … so having a new constant threat like the Protection Committee as well as a past foe return in the same volume is a great new direction we’re hoping Ikeda will continue in the next volume and the next.
Overall, Rosario + Vampire, Volume 2 is a newer and better direction for the series. It’s still just as likeable as the first volume and while it’s a tad bloodier than the first it’s great to see that the series still does not lose its good sense of humor. It’s also good to see returning characters like wolf-boy Ginei but it’s good villains this manga needs and we might just get that with the Protection Committee.
We don’t mind different stories with different monsters appearing as chapter villains but we like a little consistency as well and Volume 2 shows us that the series is going in a more ordered fashion. With the introduction of a new witch character and a past villain as a returning ally (of sorts), this volume is a slight step above the agreeable first volume.
The art is still very fun to look at and Ikeda certainly doesn’t tone down the fan service. Still, this action in this volume looks a lot better than the first volume and noticeably more bloodier as well.
While Volume 1 of Rosario + Vampire was a surprisingly enjoyable beginning to a fun series, Volume 2 delivers more of the same … up until the final chapter where it neatly ties the first three chapter together. In other words, this second volume is different while still retaining the best elements introduced in the first volume. We are definitely the first in line for the Volume 3.