It’s probably time to do another vampire round-up. I keep stumbling across these odd vampire stories and they’re probably not all worth an individual write-up.
Bitansan Ekisu / Essence of Fine Carbonic Acid, however, is an anthology, with a number of stories that are NOT vampire-related.
The first chapter is the titular one, “Bitansan Ekisu / Essence of Fine Carbonic Acid.” I kind of adore the fact that this one-shot gets its title from the main character, Shinge, when he tries to describe the feeling of love. He says he feels all bubbly, like he’s a fizzy soda inside.
The vampire in this story is Yasuome. He’s a guy that Shinge picked up at a goukun (a group date) who claims he survives on ‘essence.’ Shinge’s essence is especially powerful, because he’s a virgin.
This is another one of those stories that’s both kind of sweet and a little baffling. Like, it’s not initially clear that Shinge is gay–clearly he thinks Yasuome is pretty, but he seems surprised when Yasuome slips him the tongue during the ‘essence gathering,’ a.k.a. kissing.
Yasuome seems to be staying over, but they’re not lovers…. partly to keep Shinge’s essence so yummy, but also because maybe they’re not into each other? Except, they obviously are doing all the couple stuff, except the sex.
Classically, it takes Shinge seeing Yasuome out with someone else for him to get jealous enough to kick him out. It’s the whole, if “I’m just food, forget it.”
The guys work their way back to each other and Yasuome decides that virgin blood isn’t all that, and, in fact, at the end, he suggests that Shinge’s blood is still amazing because it tastes like–wait for it!–a carbonated drink.
Aw! The taste of love!
The second chapter is “A Temporary Contract With Him,” about two salarymen who make an interesting work wager. Hibikitani is a terrible salesman. His company gets a new manager, Sakakibara. Sakakibara is kind of anal and, you know, has the company’s interests in mind, so he scold Hibikitani for his poor performance. In a fit of pique, Hibikitani basically says, “Fine, I land this sale, I get to have you for the night.”
Obviously, he’s suddenly motivated and is gonna get the sale.
So, in the meantime, we actually get the scene of how Hibikitani first realized he was hot for Sakakibara:
Also, my absolute favorite part is that Sakakibara briefly looses his glasses on the top of his head and Hibikitani finds this so adorable, he can’t even.
I was weirdly happy when these two got together.
The third chapter “The Legendary Inhabitant Room” is a fake-out ghost story. For the longest time Oonuma is convinced that his dorm is haunted. In fact, he starts to think that his mysterious roommate Teraiwa might be a ghost. After all, he says things like he was majoring in literature, which is suspiciously past tense.
Oonuma is adorably jumpy and ends up in Teraiwa’s arms a lot.
Things go on like this until Oonuma discovers he’s going to be getting a roommate. This confuses him because Teraiwa has been his roommate this whole time, hasn’t he?
Or HAS he?
There’s a twist ending and a hilarious bit of “what’s all that moaning?” from the other people in the dorm. (Spoiler: it’s SEX.)
The next chapter, “Restraint,” is about exactly what you hope it is. The set-up is that Shizuka really wants calm and cool Manabu to show a little heat, particularly in his eyes. So he contrives to tie him up and torture him with sex!
Their big emotional moment is when Manabu says that Shizuka can tease him with toys and objects all he likes, but he’ll never be satisfied unless…
Aw…? Yeah, kind of. For what is basically a smut set-up, it’s a nice enough moment.
The next chapter had, for me, the sweetest story. “The Stars That Fall in the City,” is about a older salaryman who is basically a player. All he wants is casual sex. But, then a younger guy, Soeda, starts working for him and suddenly there’s a desire for something more.
Problem is, Soeda is a country boy at heart. He’s a steady, romantic sort. In fact, he tells the older salaryman that what he really misses about his hometown is the sky–all the stars he could see at night. Tokyo has too much light pollution. You can’t see the stars.
Wakamiya, our businessman, has a moment of brilliance. When he finally realizes he doesn’t want to lose Soeda, he shows him the stars of Tokyo…
…the city lights.
Which he lovingly explains are like the stars, because each one of those lights is someone’s home.
I liked that a lot. It totally would have worked for me.
The last chapter, “A Cruel Man,” is basically a story of two guys who use each other for sex… and are waiting for the other one to throw them away. It’s kind of psychological, I suppose. But, I had to laugh at the scene where the subordinate has asked the bespectacled manager out on a goukun (which is kind of mean, since they’re the two lovers), and the manager makes his excuses.
All I could think when I saw this was:
“I can’t. I have yaoi hands.”
This was my least favorite in the collection. There was kind of hot sex in the storeroom, but not a lot else to keep me going. It’s also a departure from the other stories which are, at least, somewhat romantic.
Would I recommend this collection? Well, I spoiled a lot of the good moments for you, alas. The only thing you might have left to enjoy is the sex, which is fairly graphic in places. The art style was, in my opinion, very hit and miss. So.. 50/50?