“Just A Drop” – Chibi Vampire (manga) – 8/10 Notebooks

“All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.” ~ Amelia Barr

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Supernatural/Drama/School

Review Status: Complete (14 Volumes/14 Volumes)

Licensed: This manga was previously licensed by Tokyopop. As they have gone under and no one has yet picked it up again, it is currently unlicensed.

Art: Nice, clean, bold lines. It reminds me a bit of Toradora!, but the art tends to be sharper than that for Toradora! All the characters are distinct and memorable, while the backgrounds can be terrifically detailed.

Summary: Karin is a cute little girl who also happens to be a vampire… with a twist. Once a month she experiences intense bleeding from her nose- we’re talking gushers! In other words, she’s a vamp with blood to spare, so rather than stealing blood from humans she actually gives her blood to them. If done right this can be an extremely positive experience that benefits the ‘victim’ as much as the vampire. The problem is that Karin can never seem to do things right! (Tokyopop)

Review: Because this is the first manga I ever read, I definitely had some nostalgia filters on my memories of it. Thankfully, since I own it I was able to go back and re-read it to see whether it was as good as I remembered it to be. While it wasn’t the 10/10 I remembered it to be, this is still a solid romcom manga.

Karin has known she was different for a long time- she didn’t really ever want to leave the human world, and when the time passed when she should have managed to get her vampire powers, disaster struck- she had a massive nosebleed that showed that she would never be a normal vampire. When you’re in a family where the oldest is most definitely a vampire and the youngest is a vampire prodigy and turning to a full vampire early means that the rest of the family worries for her. Things escalate as they discover that there is more to her than the fact that she’s giving blood- like the fact that he little quirk could kill her.

At the same time the family realizes they can no longer protect her from the sun, so they leave her daily care in the hands of Kanta Usui, a classmate that witnesses one of her nosebleeds and nearly is bitten himself. They share what’s wrong with her and he volunteers to be bitten when she needs it- if only he can actually get her to bite him! However, Karin’s growing feelings for him make her nervous and unsure about doing it, since it does affect and change the person who’s bitten for a temporary time.

This manages to mix interpersonal drama- between Karin and her family, between Karin and Kenta, between Kenta and his family- with a rather good overarching story. Karin is drawn into a problem the vampires have with reproducing, which is key to her own strangeness. And while she’s at it, she must deal with balancing school, work, her budding romance, and one interesting family. I love the characters in this manga, from Karin who’s not always bright and perky like most shoujo heroines, to her little sister who’s collection of possessed dolls is a scream, to her parents and grandmother that have quite an interesting dynamic between them. Kenta is also a charmer. He’s hardworking and determined, and really very smart. I also feel so bad for his mom, who’s past history with men is full of misery, but still manages to provide a warm and loving home for her son. While some of the problems that they all encounter border on unbelievable, most of it I’ve seen happen to various degrees, adding a feel of realism to this story that I can enjoy and empathize with the characters.

It’s not perfect-score material, though. The jokes can fall a little flat, and it can fall into ‘silly’ and ‘melodramatic’ at times. Certain parts of the story can feel stupid, like Kenta’s mom fooling the police into closing down a prostitution ring. That wasn’t the bad part, but the execution felt very off. However, the ending seemed fitting, since Karin was never able to live in both worlds.

Overall, this was a sweet romance that had a somewhat bittersweet ending.

Recommended: 16+ is what they have on the back, and I think that’s about right. There’s an instance or two of Barbie-doll nudity, or where the genitals have been covered up. There is a handful of rough language, from the d-word to the b-word. Karin’s older brother is also a playboy, and while it’s never explicitly stated it’s clear he’s both draining blood from and having sex with the girls he picks up. And the fanservice never crosses the line into ecchi, though there are a few boob-grabs and mentions of how jealous someone is/how big they are.

Other titles you might enjoy:

NG Life (manga)

Hana to Akuma (manga)

Vampire Game (manga)

Tsukiyomi: Moon Phase (anime and manga)

Tsukihime (Visual Novel)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Wallachia
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 01:06:25

    Nice review. I adored the Karin manga.The manga definitely won the battle of supremacy, but the anime (Chibi Vampire) was fairly nice from what I remember of it… Which isn't much considering I haven't seen it for so long. It was finished long before the manga ended, though, so it took its own path and came up with its own ending.


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