Vassalord by Nanae Chrono

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The description of this manga sounded very promising.

Charley, a cyborg vampire who does the Vatican’s dirty work is the thrall of the local vampire playboy, Johnny Rayflo.  As the two fight crime–and each other–hilarity, violence, and sacrilege ensue!  But can Charley resist his own desperate craving for blood? Find out as the devilish duo go up against a childlike vampire princess, a mysterious branch of the Unitarian Church… and each other.

Hilarity was the only part of this whole combination that had me a little doubtful.  I don’t DO manga comedy very well.  Although at least some of the humor I found inside was clearly unintentional….

SPOILERS

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I was raised Unitarian Universalist.  This whole ‘mysterious branch of the Unitarian Church?”  Pretty laughable.

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Unusual for Unitarian Universalists to welcome nonbelievers?

Um.

I think you’re a little short on what UU is, sensei.  You can be an atheist and be a full member of the Unitarian church, in fact most of the people I knew in the fellowship that I grew up in were secular humanists and/or atheists (to be fair, we were a little odd, but that’s because fellowships organize without a minister and so basically this was a social club for aging hippies who wanted to get together on Sunday morning and argue philosophy and drink coffee. For a long time I literally thought “the sacrament” and/or possibly “the holy trinity” was coffee, donuts, and a debate.)  But, that’s the thing about UU.  You can kind of believe anything since you’re already saved, that’s part of the deal. There are goddess-worshiping pagans who are members in good standing in the Unitarian Church (it’s called CUUPS).  So…. you can believe in nothing, a goddess, Buddha, or you can also be Rah! Rah! Jesus and celebrate communion. No shaming in UU.  It’s LITERALLY all good.

So, maybe the funniest part is that anyone would bother to split from UU and form a “mysterious branch”?  Although I did find it interesting that this former Unitarian “reverend” was making a pact with THE VATICAN.  At that point I was like, “AH HA! UNITARIAN SACRILEGE AT LAST! BECAUSE HIERARCHY? WHAT NO!”

So, yeah, back to the the actual story…

The art was probably the most compelling part of this manga for me. Even though I find the whole idea that vampires can turn into bats kinda cheesy, I love the way Rayflo looked when he was doing his bat thing:

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Very “Dracula Untold”…. (which is a compliment). I liked the movie, too, but the visual effects were unquestionably COOL.

But generally, I found the storytelling in this manga to be confused (and not just because I was hung up on the whole Unitarian thing, although that did NOT help.)  Story lines were muddied and there were leaps I was expected to make to follow along that sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn’t.

That being said, I ended up not only reading all three volumes that the library had for me (this was one of the gay men–in graphic novels and comics titles that my catalogue search revealed,) but I also hunted down the couple extra chapters that MangaReader had available: http://www.mangareader.net/vassalord

There were usually bits and pieces that appealed that kept me reading. Like, late in the story, a vampire-drug (as in the drug turns you into a kind of immortal vampire) dealing Chinese mafia tough is introduced and I found his story fairly fascinating. Plus he was drawn SUPER HOT.

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He’s like a punk Kenpachi…

Technically, our dynamic duo were on the trail of this guy fairly early on–since he is the Vassalord of the title, it turns out!–but getting there was very convoluted and there was NOT NEARLY ENOUGH SEX BETWEEN THE BOYS.

So do I recommend it?  Maybe?  It seems like “vampire + yaoi” would probably yield a prodigious list of titles, so maybe this isn’t the best?  Perhaps I’ll have to take a survey of the sub-genre so we can find out together, eh?

Who’s with me?

As a final thought, I find it interesting that this manga was categorized as ‘josei’ and not ‘yaoi.’  I suspect that might be because while there are a lot of hot bodies on display, mostly we get discretely covered parts and both boys seems to be at least partly bisexual, rather than completely and singularly into each other. Also, the romance is clearly secondary to the plot which is a gigantic BUMMER.

I think I might have liked this better if it had been slightly less plot and more sex.

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6 thoughts on “Vassalord by Nanae Chrono

  1. Ah the exotic Chinese villain, vampires plus wacky wrong xianity. This one sounds like something I can sink my teeth into. (Heh.)
    Pity about the sex part. The boring plot manga I seem to find mostly have random sex pasted in too many places. Not too few.

    • Well, there’s a lot of shirt-less-ness, if that works for you? (My problem is that I’m a much bigger fan, as you know, of full-on SMUT.)

      What is it about exotic Chinese villains? I feel like a person could compose an entire list of manga that use this trope. Mmmm, probably TV tropes already have….

      • Those villains always have the 80s braid as a signifier in case it isn’t crystal clear that they are Chinese. (Not really helping my argument: Soi Fong is yes braids but Cang Du no for some reason).
        Anyhow I do adore the smut/porn. But always wishing for plot+smut to make the experience complete.

  2. God this plot is a wild ride. The classic relationship. “Cherry! I wish I had a cameraaaaa!” Damn you for aiding and abetting my chronic procrastination issues in all things. This is truly great manga. I’m even willing to overlook the complete lack of actual smut. Lovely.

    • OMG I’m glad you’re enjoying it. The whole Cherry thing made me pretty happy honestly, but normally I’m just not up for the over-the-top humor (which I swear is most humor in these things.)

      • I just can’t stop with this thing. “Then I will order a sofa for my cat…and then I will write a love letter.” I love these freakin’ wacky Unitarian vampires. Again, excellent recommendation!

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