Mika and her twin brother Eru have a secret. It is fairly simple to hide it from others, as Mika can attend school like a normal high school student, while Eru must remain at home, being too weak to attend school. That's the story anyway, and while Mika's extreme beauty gets people's attentions, she and Eru don't stick around in any one place long enough for people to begin to pay too much unwelcome attention to their private affairs. Usually they stay just long enough that finally their hunger overwhelms them, and one of them must feed. You see, Mika and Eru are vampires, and to avoid detection, they move their lives to new locations. Finding themselves in new York, Japan, England, and many other places besides, they not only meet new humans they befriend until their craving overtakes them, but encounters other of their own kind. But the others sense something different about Mika, and just what that is a mystery to her. But not to Eru it seems, who has been hiding something from Mika. Such as why they are never physically together in the same physical place, and just what the mysterious person calling himself Kinsei is inferring when he brings this fact up. Enigmatic, and dangerous, Kinsei nonetheless holds information about Mika and Eru that she wants to know. But is she prepared for the truth about the Fallen and her own black wings?
Makoto Tateno is perhaps better known to manga fans for her Boy's Love titles, but she is actually quite a versatile writer as this volume shows. Aimed at young women, this is admittedly shoujo, but if you are looking for romance, look elsewhere. It is one of those genre busting stories that will appeal to many outside its target demographic. Lovers of tales of the supernatural will enjoy the suspense and sense of foreboding and danger as Mika and Eru live out their unlife in various urban settings around the world, all rendered with just enough precise detail in the artwork to be recognisable, but as usual for Tateno, not overburdened with unnecessary visual trivia. Mika and Eru are a likeable pair, while the antagonist Kinsei is charming in a dangerous and charismatic way. The twist in the tale is not one that was readily apparent from the start, but logical, and it adds extra dimension to what could have so easily been yet another by the numbers vampire story written for females to buy. Interestingly enough, the twist is actually only a partial reveal, with the entire truth still shrouded in mystery, awaiting discovery in the second volume. It is quite well done, so that the stopping place is logical and the volume feels complete, yet open for more.
It is rated for ages 16+, and contains mild scenes of violence, death, and other such things you should associate with vampires. None of it is explicit or gory, however, and there is nothing sexually suggestive or explicit inside at all. To be honest, I feel the age rating is overly conservative; it is something I'd have no trouble passing to a child aged 13 or older if they were mine. Rather than label it horror, it more deservedly falls under supernatural suspense and its contents reflect this, in perfect accordance to the target demographic of the original Japanese publisher. A sample of this title is available to read for free before purchasing, over at English language licensee Digital Manga's own site, Emanga.com. It is available to buy as a paperback only, from most major manga outlets, including Amazon and the Book Depository.
I'd like to extend my thanks to Digital Manga for making a review copy available to me.