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: Now Available
Let the kinky training sessions begin.
There’s a slight change in the wind that is blowing through the pages of Rosario + Vampire as Season II of the series is taking small steps into darker territory. This is actually a good thing but for those worried that the first part’s comedy and excessive fan service will suffer as a result shouldn’t worry because there’s still enough of that to go around. Still, Volume 4 looks to be the start of a new set of problems for Tsukune Aono and his friends.
In the last chapter of Volume 3 of Season II, Mizore invited Tsukune (the others just tagged along) to the Land of the Snow Fairies where she was to take part in a ceremony. Instead, we discover that Mizore asked him to come in hopes that they would hook up in order to save the dwindling Snow Fairy population. Unfortunately, Mizore was kidnapped and Tsukune and his friends stage a rescue only to find themselves surrounded. As we can see from the first chapter of Volume 4, a new foe steps in to try to stop them.
Meet the beautiful assassin named Kalua who has come to ensure Mizore stays captured and she will do anything to ensure that. As it turns out, though, Kalua also happens to be Moka and Koko’s older sister. It’s clear that both girls are afraid of their older sister and, despite the fact that Kalua comes off as a crybaby, there’s a good reason for it because Kalua is a powerful vampire who cries when she’s about to slaughter somebody. In this case, she’s prepared to kill even her own sisters to get the job done.
Still, nobody wants to give Mizore up and they fight a hopeless and bloody battle against Kalua until Other Moka steps forward to fight her and even then Kalua displays a strength and power that gives Other Moka a real challenge. It’s shocking to see Other Moka fighting to kill and against her own sister who tells them that she is under orders to kill no matter who it is and she makes it loud and clear that she is part of an organization named Fairy Tale that has an interest in the Land of the Snow Fairies and the Snow Priestess.
Then Miyabi Fujisaki – the man who nearly forced himself on Mizore in Volume 3 – steps in to stop the two vampire sisters from killing each another. As it turns out, he is a member of Fairy Tale, as is another familiar face who shows up as well. Miyabi gives the Yokai Academy students a warning that Fairy Tale will soon set their sights on the school so we can come to expect trouble from this group whose mission is to make trouble for the human world. As they leave, Tsukune can’t help but feel weak and helpless against a group that had hurt his friends and nearly cost him Mizore.
Taking Mizore back with them to Yokai, all doesn’t go back to normal as Tsukune finds himself in a strange place that resembles another planet. He’s not alone because he has the lovely witch Ruby Tojo with him. In fact, she’s tied to him via a chain as she tells them that this is the beginning of his training. Ruby, who works for the Headmaster, believes that Tsukune can tame the power of Moka’s blood within him. He could harness the power if he just knew how to control it. So she gives him a powerful magic canceling whip called Belmont (as you’ll see, is a playful nod to the Castlevania video games) to help train.
As it was hinted in past volumes, Ruby definitely has an S&M fetish thing going because she doesn’t mind the electrical jolts that pass through her each time Tsukune can’t control his power via the whip. Meanwhile, Moka and the others are worried about Tsukune’s sudden disappearance and – ignoring Koko’s annoyance at not focusing their attention on training – they go looking for him. What they find out instead is that Tsukune and Ruby are in a very dangerous place that is perfect for that kind of training.
As funny as Ruby’s training methods are, Tsukune gets even more interesting training from the most unlikely person … Other Moka. Thanks to the whip that cancels magic, Other Moka is able to stay out longer so she decides to spend an entire day with Tsukune to train him. Instead of jumping into a rigorous training day, though, she takes him out shopping. However, Other Moka manages to make Tsukune notice one of his more obvious abilities. You see, he can sense other monsters … an ability he had been ignoring. Other Moka is actually a good teacher and she promises to keep training him.
In the meantime, Kurumu is depressed that Moka has Tsukune all to herself and it doesn’t sit well with the succubus. Unfortunately, Koko notices it too and tries to get Kurumu to use her succubus abilities to finally win Tsukune’s love in hopes that Moka would stop paying attention to him and pay more attention to Koko. Kurumu doesn’t want to use magic to win the heart of the boy she wants. In her own noble way, she wants Tsukune to realize that she truly loves him.
We’ve seen Kurumu try to win Tsukune before but this time we can feel that the old routine of past volumes is no longer enough for her. In a freak accident, she casts a Charm spell on Tsukune and she takes advantage of it by spending the day with him in a way she had always dreamed of and it’s actually quite endearing until she tries to have the boy tell her that he loves her. It’s a heartbreaking scene that shows even more desperation than Mizore did in the last volume. By the end of the volume, I found myself actually rooting for Kurumu hoping Tsukune would pick her.
Volume 4 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II pushes a new threat in the direction of Tsukune and the others and the result is a more serious feel that makes things interesting. The relationship between Tsukune and the girls who like him are also changing and hopefully change enough that the kid actually picks the one for him but – in the meantime – we have enough comedy, fan service and a new group to keep our interest.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In the Land of the Snow Fairies, the truth behind Mizore’s kidnapping comes to light and a formidable enemy appears in the form of Moka and Koko’s older sister who has been hired by a dangerous monster organization. Wanting to protect his friends from this group, Tsukune decides to train with Ruby and later with Other Moka whose training begins interestingly enough. Meanwhile, a misfired charm spell has Kurumu living out her fantasy with Tsukune.
It’s clear that Moka comes from a family of gorgeous girls as we can see from her older sister who makes her first appearance in this series. There are plenty of funny visual gags and unexpected kink from Ruby who turns out to really love pain.
A new group is introduced in Volume 4 of Rosario + Vampire: Season II and its very presence is giving the series a slightly more serious tone. Meanwhile, as we saw with Mizore, another of Tsukune’s admirers reaches her breaking point in her pursuit to win him over. This leads to yet another dramatic and very intriguing moment. Let’s hope the series stays this interesting in the coming volumes.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media