Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: Bloody Mary Volume 1

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Bloody Mary Volume 1 is a story that focuses on an atypical vampire who wants to be killed and the high school boy he wants to be killed by.

Bloody Mary Volume 1

Bloody Mary Volume 1

Written by: Akaza Samamiya
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Volume 1 introduces “Bloody” Mary, a vampire that can withstand sunlight, hold a reflection in mirrors, refuses to drink blood, and is unable to die. He’s been looking for an exorcist with the last name of di Maria, who would be the descendant of a powerful and renowned exorcist. While Mary finds Ichiro Rosario di Maria, it turns out he’s a high school student at a parochial school who has no idea how to exorcise anything. But this doesn’t dissuade Mary from following Maria around and constantly begging for the young man to kill him. Mary definitely comes across as a stalker in this volume, and this stalking is usually played for laughs. The first time or two, it was kind of funny. Unfortunately, the stalking quickly lost its amusement factor.

But after Mary saves Maria from being attacked by vampires, Maria forces Mary to drink his blood in order to regain his strength. Maria also insists on having Mary serve him as a bodyguard as he tries to research and learn about exorcism, with the promise that he will kill Mary after he learns how to do it. But as part of his research, Maria also tries looking into why Mary is so atypical for a vampire. And near the end of the volume, it’s revealed that there’s more going on behind the scenes at the parochial school than meets the eye. To me, I thought the most interesting question that was left unanswered at the end of this volume is why Mary isn’t like a typical vampire.

After I finished reading Bloody Mary Volume 1, I found myself thinking that this series is rather atypical for what I normally see coming from VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint. There doesn’t seem to be any romantic relationship involved at this point, unless you count Mary’s need and cravings for Maria’s blood after he tastes it. While vampires have appeared in Shojo Beat titles before, it’s always been in connection with a human female having a male vampire love interest. None of the major characters in the first volume of this series are female, so that’s also something different for a title from this particular imprint.

To be honest, I have to say that after reading Volume 1, I’m not finding myself interested enough in Bloody Mary to want to rush to read the second volume when it comes out. While the mystery behind Mary is kind of interesting, it just isn’t enough to hook me on this series It’s not that Bloody Mary is a bad story or a bad series, but there just wasn’t anything there to truly hook me in and grab my interest. Maybe it’s just a case of this series taking its time to get going, so I would be willing to give this series a second chance if I’m presented with the opportunity to read the next volume.

When it comes to the art, all of the main characters have a “bishonen” (beautiful boy) look to them, and I didn’t really see anything in the character designs to make them stand out from other male leads in shojo manga. Many of the panels also utilize the sparkle and other screentone designs that are usually seen in a shojo series. So far, the art is the only thing that I see in Volume 1 that makes it seem like a shojo manga.

While I personally wasn’t blown away by Bloody Mary Volume 1, maybe it’ll be more interesting to readers who already enjoy stories that feature vampires.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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