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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

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Blood Alone (manga, vol. 5) by Masayuki Takano, translated by Nan Rymer

Blood Alone, Vol. 5 - Masayuki Takano, Nan Rymer

After the somewhat promising volume 4, the series has gone back to being mediocre. Each chapter is basically a separate story, which is, I think, how I'll tackle my review.

Chapter 1 wrapped up the enormous flashback that was volume 4.  I was very disappointed with how all of this ended. I had expected that it would go on long enough to show the moment when Misaki was turned into a vampire, but apparently volume 4's big, bad vampire was not the one responsible for turning her. In fact, a later chapter revealed that her maker is still out there somewhere, and that he could use her against Kuroe. I sense enormous angst in this series' future.

Chapter 2 was a cutesy little story about Misaki being afraid of thunder. Kuroe was planning on leaving to get some work done, and Misaki wanted him to stay but was reluctant to tell him why. This was disgustingly cute and would probably have worked better for me if it hadn't contributed to this series' general problem of not knowing what it wants to be. The entire previous volume was a darker vampire story, and yet this chapter was very much slice-of-life cuteness. Misaki really is the most useless vampire ever.

My other issue with the second chapter was that I couldn't erase the first three volumes and Misaki's enormous crush on Kuroe from my mind. This volume made little-to-no mention of Misaki's crush on Kuroe, and Kuroe's treatment of Misaki was primarily fatherly. Still, I couldn't help but think of how Misaki was probably taking Kuroe's efforts to calm her down (sitting her on his lap and telling her to listen to his heartbeat instead of the thunder). Those first three volumes ruined my ability to see Kuroe and Misaki as a cute adoptive father and daughter pair.

In Chapter 3, Misaki stumbled across a mysterious antique shop that appeared to have a magical mirror. The shopkeeper let her take it home, telling her that it was the “Mirror of Returned Love” and would only show a person's reflection when they peered into it with their one true love by their side. Misaki, of course, wanted to try it out with Kuroe. This one was just weird. Again, Misaki is the worst vampire ever, and I'm amazed that her maker hasn't managed to find her and capture her yet. The owner of that antique store was incredibly shady. This chapter, like chapter 2, was more cutesy fluff than anything. It also once again reminded readers of Misaki's crush on Kuroe, since the ending basically boiled down to “Misaki doesn't need someone else to tell her that Kuroe is her one true love, because she knows it in her heart.”

In Chapter 4, Misaki felt melancholy after drinking her monthly glass of blood, but Kuroe's presence was able to cheer her up again. This story was basically pointless, beyond telling me that Misaki does fine with just a single glass of blood a month. Throughout most of the series so far, the only evidence of Misaki's vampiric nature have been this bit of blood-drinking, her inability to go outside during the day, her occasional vampire fangs, and the one moment at the beginning of the series when her Straruda (vampiric power, which manifests as a separate personality) took over. Other than those things, she's mostly been an ordinary little girl.

In Chapter 5, a mysterious man kept hitting on Misaki, setting off all of Kuroe's “stranger danger” warning bells. Misaki thought he was worrying too much, right up until the moment when she was kidnapped. Another pointless story. True, Kuroe got a chance to demonstrate a few of his abilities, which I now know came directly from his teacher, but all danger evaporated the instant things started to get serious.

This is the last of the volumes I recently got via interlibrary loan. I suppose I could request volume 6 in order to read everything that was translated into English, but I don't know that I'm interested enough. Five volumes in, and Blood Alone still feels unfocused.

Extras:

 

- A 5-page illustrated story, character, and terminology guide. While I thought the inclusion of this info was a good idea, especially since I had to check Takano's vampire terminology several times while reading the last chapter, I wish that the terminology section hadn't included illustrations. The clutter made it that much harder to find the info I needed.

 

- Three full-page illustrations, which I assume were originally in color (one of them is the cover illustration). Unfortunately, here they're in black-and-white, and a lot of detail is lost.

 

- An 8-page preview of Dracula Everlasting.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)