Karin / Chibi Vampire (Volume 1) by Kagesaki Yuna

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My library has a “bookstore” where you can buy the books that have been donated to the library and/or which the library is weeding out of its collection for various reasons.  I sometimes find manga there, but only rarely.  Last time I went, they had an entire book cart FULL of manga for sale. Did I mention the price?  25 cents a piece (5 for a dollar)!!

How could I resist?  Of course, I ended up walking out with an armload. I mean, at those prices even the dudiliest duds are worthwhile.

Thus, I picked up every copy of Bleach they had (for reasons), and any title that had a first volume.  Among those random titles was this one, Karin / Chibi Vampire. 

SPOILERS

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Karin, as she says in the panel above, is an abnormal vampire.  Once a month, she gets an excess of blood that she ends up expelling… violently–usually in the form of an explosive nosebleed.  (The Japanese mangaka and their nosebleeds, eh? I swear to all the gods, that if I ever go to Japan and high schoolers aren’t having spontaneous nosebleeds 24/7, I am going to be SORELY DISAPPOINTED.)

The plot of the first volume centers around that other perennial favorite, The Transfer Student (Kenta Usui).  For some reason, whenever Karin is close to Kenta, her body goes into blood production overtime.  This is a problem for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is that she’s trying to keep her identity as a vampire a secret from her classmates.

Except Kenta sees her in the park, after school, where she bites a sad sack salaryman, and he mistakenly thinks she’s prostituting herself. Hilarity ensues.

It’s unclear at this point in the story why it is that Karin, unlike the rest of her family, can go out during the day, but she can and so she’s been not only attending high school, but also keeping a part-time job at the local market… where Kenta also ends up employed.

Karin’s initial solution to the Kenta problem is to avoid him, so she basically quits going to school or work.  This distresses her family for some reason (they are VERY KEEN that she go to school, even though none of the rest of them can.)  Her older brother is deployed to teach her the proper ways of survival.

I kind of like the slutty older brother, Ren. He prefers spending his days in women’s beds, drinking their blood. But we find out something interesting in the outing with onii-chan:  vampires prefer certain types of blood.  Their mother loves the blood of liars.  Ren wants the blood of the stressed-out–and, it turns out, the more of their blood he drinks, the more relaxed they become.

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By extension, this means that if Karin’s mom drinks the blood of liars, they become more honest.

This is kind of a neat idea, IMHO.

If I come across others of these, I may read them, if only because I’m curious to know how much this idea gets explored.

The only caveat I have in recommending this series is the fan service. There isn’t a HUGE amount of it, but we get some panty shots and whatnot.  Ah, shounen.

The art is also… old? It was originally published in 2003.

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