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
The plight of the cute little sister.
So far the second “season” of Rosario + Vampire hasn’t really distinguished itself from the first half of this series although it has introduced another girl into the fold and one that hasn’t automatically fallen for Tsukune Aono like the others. She is Koko Shuzen, Moka’s youngest sister, and in Volume 2 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II, we discover that she actually does have something to offer this series.
In the first volume of this second half of the series, the arrival of the cute Koko is interrupted by attacks on students at Yokai Academy so soon after the school finally reopened. Dubbed the Phantom Attacker by Tsukune and the others at the Newspaper Club, they all decide to investigate only to have Moka and Tsukune taken captive by this group of monsters led by a monster who tells them that they are really just a band of thieves hiding out at the school to avoid the heat that is after them after a major robbery.
When the others – that now includes the witch named Ruby Tojo – decide to go looking for them underground, the leader decides to welcome them wearing a familiar face. You see, the monster is a Doppelganger and he takes the form of Tsukune to greet the girls. Unfortunately for him, the monster is shy around girls so when Kurumu literally smothers him with her bountiful bosoms he freaks out. Meanwhile, Tsukune and Moka are left with another monster who turns out to be a Ground Spider that attacks them and stabs Tsukune multiple times.
Once again, Tsukune’s Ghoul side takes over and becomes an uncontrollable force as Moka tries to calm him down. In the chaos, however, the Ghoul version of Tsukune runs into the Doppelganger who – having been called out as a fake Tsukune – takes the form of Kurumu and uses her shapely body to try to put an end to the real Tsukune’s rampage. Despite having his plan backfire, it does stop Tsukune and thus proving something about him in his Ghoul form.
When the monster takes Moka’s form, however, the monster is brought down by Moka’s actual weakness and this putting an end to the thieves’ reign of terror. News quickly spreads that the Newspaper Club had a hand in capturing this band of bandits and their new edition sells like crazy. Their teacher and the club’s advisor, Ms. Nekonome, asks them to recruit new members for the club since this is Club Day. So, dressed as cheerleaders, the girls go out to recruit more members of the club only to find hordes of boys wanting to join for all the wrong reason.
With Ruby and Mizore officially joining the club, they all expect Koko to join but she refuses. You see, she is on her continued quest to win her big sister’s approval. Having been treated like a baby by their other sisters and family, Koko found respect for Moka’s other self who pushes Koko to get stronger. So, along with Yukari who says she identifies herself with Koko, ends up trying to get into various martial arts clubs. Unfortunately for them, they’re too petite and young for every club.
Yukari, though, has been working on some magic pellets that can accelerate maturity and Koko offers herself up as a guinea pig by trying it out. As it turns out, Yukari’s Gro-Gro Drops actually work and Koko is now matured to the point of resembling her sister. She’s even just as powerful, although showing off her incredible vampire strength does manage to piss off the members of the Karate Club that attack Mature Koko. Comically enough, the Gro-Gro Drops also has a side effect that turns Koko into a kid … a much younger kid and just when she needs the strength to take on the members of the Karate Club.
Moka and the others do get a kick out of Koko’s little kid form and their teasing causes the girl to run off only to find herself back in harm’s way when the Karate Club comes looking for payback. The two chapters have actually quite funny with a nod to manga like Dr. Slump and moment when all the girls show up as kid versions of themselves.
Volume 2 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II offers something just a tad different thanks to its focus on Koko and her chapters are actually amusing enough that you won’t help but like Moka’s younger sister. While the first chapter has a serious and bloody side to it, there’s more than enough lighthearted moments to keep the story charming and loads of fun to read.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The identity of the Phantom Attacker is finally revealed as Moka and Tsukune are captured but the others come to their rescue and go up against a foe who has the power to take another person’s form. Then, Koko refuses to join the Newspaper Club as she continues to look for a way to impress her big sister and Yukari has the answer. Unfortunately, there’s a downside to it and with the Karate Club after them they find themselves in hot water.
There’s less fan service in this volume but the draw here is the cute kid versions of each of the girls and a moment when Koko and Yukari are transformed into older, sexier, versions of themselves.
Entertaining and actually delightfully comical, Volume 2 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II casts the spotlight on Moka’s little sister and scores some good laughs. It’s good to see that Koko hasn’t become yet another member of Tsukune’s harem and offers something fun to the cast. Here’s hoping that it stays that way because she’s quickly becoming a new favorite.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media