Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Akihisa Ikeda
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Advanced)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
School is back in session and things aren’t all that different.
At first glance, Rosario + Vampire could have easily been dismissed as just another shonen manga with no other desire but to be a fan service-filled treat for teenage boys. Well, it is that but there’s more to this series than one would expect and, in the end, I found myself actually enjoying the first half of the series. After 10 volumes, Volume 1 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II is here and the fan service, comedy and monster-filled action is still the same but you will still have fun reading this one.
One of the questions I got a lot over the course of reviewing the final half of the first part of this manga is if anyone could just start from Season II and actually get what’s going on. Like Naruto did when it jumped ahead two or so years later, you can jump in at this point in Rosario + Vampire but you will find yourself going back to the first half anyway to fill in the blanks (Season II doesn’t go into what connection the Headmaster has with Tsukune, for example).
Season II takes place several months after the events of Volume 10 of the first half when the school was nearly destroyed and many of the students – including our human friend Tsukune Aono – returned to their home. Now that repairs have been made, Tsukune finds himself returning to Yokai Academy and to his friends who missed him very much. Of course, he is definitely looking forward to see Moka Akashiya again and so is she … until the young witch Yukari announces to all of Moka’s gawking suitors that Moka is Tsukune’s “lover.”
So begins a new school semester with Moka avoiding Tsukune after Yukari’s words seem to have affected her and now she’s too embarrassed to even look at him despite the many things she wishes to say to Tsukune. So Yukari tries to make up for it by showing the beautiful vampire her latest invention … Mr. Love Love. As it turns out, the magical item has the capabilities of bringing out a person’s true desires and it seems that Moka desires Tsukune.
Moka comes on to Tsukune strong and, for a split second, the boy considers planting a kiss on the girl when Succubus known as Kurumu and the Snow Fairy named Mizore interrupt to battle Moka. Of course, Moka defeats them both and does so again after Tsukune accidentally yanks off her Rosario. The “other” Moka has always made it clear that Tsukune should know his place and that if he wants the kinder Moka he will have to try to win over the more powerful Moka as well.
As the students settle into class once again, Tsukune discovers that all his friends are in the same classroom as him. This makes Kurumu rather happy seeing as she now has a chance to be around him more and try to win his heart. One of the classes, however, turns out to be a “free study” course that has the students in Miss Nekonome’s class go on a little field trip. The assignment, as it turns out, is to locate a strange fruit that monsters find irresistibly tasty. Kurumu decides to start a competition with the other girls. The one who finds a Durian fruit gets to eat it with Tsukune. What happens next, however, isn’t how the girls planned it when a carnivorous plant attacks.
In the final chapters, Tsukune is saved by a cute young freshman who bares a striking resemblance to Moka. In fact, the girl also finds Tsukune’s blood quite tasty as she licks his wound her received from the Headmaster’s pet that chased him down. When he tells Moka about this girl, the vampire reacts to the news rather badly. Suddenly, the freshman shows up and Moka identifies her as one Koko Shuzen … who happens to be one of Moka’s sisters. No surprise there seeing as they look a lot alike.
Koko, it seems, is intent on fighting Moka and continues to pursue her throughout the chapter. As it turns out, they have a long history of fighting and it is Koko’s dream of one day beating Moka. It also turns out that Koko finds the sweet Moka an embarrassment to vampires and the “other” Moka her true sibling. When news of students disappearing leads Koko to look into the matter with Moka, the younger vampire finds trouble and Tsukune and Moka end up in a much bigger and deadly predicament.
Not much changes in Season II of Rosario + Vampire, as we can see in Volume 1, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a blast reading this story if you’re new to the series or returning for more. It is good to see that the series’ sense of humor has improved and the addition of Koko has some possibilities but this is still the same Rosario + Vampire as before and if you liked it the first time around you will still like it now.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Returning to Yokai Academy after a long absence from the school, Tsukune is reunited with his friends only to find that Moka is aggressively coming on to him and the others won’t hold back either. Meanwhile, an outing turns into a competition to share a rare fruit with Tsukune and later a new student comes looking for Moka and her intentions might not be friendly towards the beautiful vampire.
Akihisa Ikeda’s art has certainly come a long way since the first volume of the first half of this series as we can see in Season II. The series still serves up its usual amount of fan service but it’s good to see that the series makes light of that as well as add some visual gags.
Volume 1 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II is more of the same and depending on whether you liked the first half of the series you will find yourself liking the start of this second half as well. Then again, it’s too early to tell if the series will try something new but in the meantime there’s a new character and more blood-splattering danger.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media