Karin is an unusual girl. It's not just that she's a vampire, it's that she's an unusual even then. Whilst most vampires suck blood, Karin's builds up and she has to deposit her excess into humans. And if that wasn't bizarre enough, she can only do so to those who appeal to her nature - it's a complicated life for a teenage girl, and it's not about to get any easier when a new transfer student named Kanta stumbles onto her secret...
These first two volumes of Chibi Vampire focus on the comedic aspect of a vampire-in-reverse, and while the humour won't have you rolling on the floor, it's a gentle and good natured approach which uses an unusual premise to tell an age-old tale - can a supernatural teenager ever have a normal life? If you've read Shana, 3x3 Eyes, Vampire Knight or Black God, you'll know the answer to that already. As with most of these books, the fun isn't in the setup, it's in the journey.
Artist and writer Yuna Kagesaki does an excellent job with the artwork. Panels are clear and dynamic, the characters are all easy to identify and the flow of the book is first rate. While the character designs won't win any awards for originality, they're certainly very attractive, and subsequently everything is very easy on the eye.
Likewise the writing has a nice flow to it. The translation has been well handled, and the character dialogue is natural and quite witty. Of course it's really the expressive faces that carry much of the comedy, but it always helps to have a sympathetic translation to help things along.
The best bits of the book can be split into two sections - the budding relationship between Kanta and Karin, and the exploits of Karin's family. Her older brother Ren is a ladies man who targets girls who are withdrawn, her mother Calera favours the blood of liars and her father, Harry, hasn't revealed his preference yet. Then there's her younger sister, Anju, who seems to draw her inspiration from Wednesday Adams, being both very serious and very direct. She collects dolls which she uses for ventriloquism, and has the ability to wipe memories, which is very handy when cleaning up after Karin's frequent messes.
All in, Chibi Vampire is a great series so far. I can see why it sells well for Tokyopop, ticking as it does most of the teenage boxes - supernatural, romance, adventure, comedy... It's pretty much perfect for anyone who likes a bit of teenage fun which has been put together with some considerable care.