Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Akihisa Ikeda
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Advanced)
MSRP: $7.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Now available
We wish we had stalkers this cute.
Anyone who has been following Rosario + Vampire closely will know that the series has taken a large leap into a slightly darker territory without skimping on the fan service or monsters getting a thrashing by one of the cutest vampire vixens in manga today. It seems that lately, those monsters that got trashed are now making a return and thus adding on to a line of monsters that want nothing more than to dish out some payback. Rosario + Vampire, Volume 5, feels like familiar territory yet still headed in a most appealing direction.
Unlike past volumes in the series, Volume 5 picks up directly after the events of Volume 4 when Tsukune and his friends finally face off against the “Witch of the Knoll” that their new friend, a young witch named Ruby, has followed since she was a child. The Lady finds it disheartening that her young protégé has turned against her to side with the humans. Her plans to kill all the humans goes well beyond the need to protect the knoll as we found out in the previous volume but in this one we get a better understanding of the relationship between Ruby and the witch that took her under her wing.
Displaying her true power, the Lady manages to scare the humans in the city not far from the knoll with her impressive show of power. It’s clear that only Moka in her vampire form can defeat the witch and as the battle gets ugly it is Moka that finds a way to stop her. In the end the battle not only turns out to be one of the bloodiest fights but the outcome is actually tragic. As I mentioned earlier, Rosario + Vampire is definitely a tad more darker than usual and this volume certainly proves it. I won’t go into details of what happened but the story arc does have a positive outcome.
Moving on, though, it’s a new semester in Yokai Academy and even with all that has happened to him, it is starting to seem that Tsukune has grown accustomed to being in a school filled with monsters. For one thing, he’s a big part of the Newspaper Club that turns out some popular editions. As they pass out their latest edition, a cute girl walks up to Tsukune to check him out. Later, in class, Ms. Nekonome announces that it’s time to elect a new Class President. The same girl that came up to Tsukune raises her hand and nominates Tsukune as his classmates cheer on the very reluctant Tsukune. A position like that will get him noticed and that is something Tsukune doesn’t want.
Unfortunately, Moka doesn’t see it that way and it makes Tsukune upset enough that he decides to take a walk with the new girl who introduces herself as Mizore Shirayuki … Tsukune’s biggest fan. Hanging on to his arm, she shows him a scrapbook of all his articles with her own commentary that makes it obvious that she in crazy in love with him. She is so sure that he’s her soul mate that Mizore plans to eliminate the only obstacle in her path … Moka. As it turns out, Mizore just so happens to be an Abominable Snowgirl but what she doesn’t count on is Moka’s true vampire nature.
In the following chapter of the volume, we learn a little more about Mizore. Having been defeated by Moka, Mizore is discovered crying by a group of boys. The following morning, the same boys are discovered by the gym teacher encased in ice and in critical condition. All fingers point at Mizore being the culprit and Tuskune and Moka find out that Mizore has had a history of not only stalking objects of her affection but encasing them in ice when they wouldn’t reciprocate.
Not wanting to see her get expelled, Tsukune and Moka attempt to try to talk to her when Tsukune finds himself confronting her on his own. I’d be ruining the surprise that unravels during this confrontation but I’ll say that not everything is what it seems.
In the final chapter, it’s great to see that Mizore isn’t quickly brushed aside but rather remains a constant presence as Tsukune’s stalker. Saizo Komiya, the werewolf that showed up in Volume 1, makes a return and is still holding a grudge against Tsukune and Moka. He not only plans to kill Tsukune but this time he plans to do it with the aid of a gang of monstrels (half-breed monsters). In a bloody battle in the school grounds, Tsukune – suffering from his last vampire transformation earlier – unleashes the power of the vampire again. Moka senses that this time the transformation feels differently. What exactly is happening to Tsukune?
Oh, things are definitely going to get even more interesting in the next volumes of the series if things remain to go on this course. Rosario + Vampire, Volume 5, reaches a somewhat familiar feel to the early volumes yet it’s still surprisingly dark despite the fun moments and fan service. This is definitely turning out to be one of those Must-Read manga series.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With the intense battle in the witch’s knoll coming to a surprisingly tragic conclusion, the new semester brings new problems for Tsukune. Aside from having to deal with a cute stalker who adores his journalism, Tsukune encounters familiar foes as well as new ones that want him dead.
Ikeda’s art is really starting to shine in these recent volumes of the series and you’ll find more blood mixed in with a healthy dose of fan service. All the girls in the office think that Tsukune makes one seriously sexy vampire. The two boys in this office wish our stalkers looked like Mizore.
It looks like Tsukune’s harem is growing in this volume and that’s not a bad thing but the real highlight of Volume 5 of Rosario + Vampire is the continued presence of danger that is pushing the story forward to a surprisingly riveting new heights. This is definitely the type of manga that just keeps getting better with each volume.