Creator: Akihisa Ikeda
Translation: Kaori Inoue
Adaptation: Gerard Jones
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
RRP: $7.99
Rosario + Vampire v1
Reviewed by Robert Murray

From glancing at the front cover and initially flipping through the volume, I thought that Rosario + Vampire would turn out to be an excuse for fan service, which isn�t far from reality. You don�t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of up-the-skirt panels Ikeda sprinkles generously throughout the story. However, this first volume contains enough monster action and fantastic artwork to fulfill any manga fan�s cravings. Plus, there�s a visual chemistry between the two main characters, Tsukune and Moka, that is quite nice to watch, though it lacks any kind of narrative substance or meaningful dialogue. Basically, what you see is what you get from Rosario + Vampire Volume One, but, as Elvis so eloquently put it, �That�s all right, mama!�

Rosario + Vampire�s main character is Tsukune, a Joe Average who is forced to attend an unknown high school due to poor marks on his high school entrance exams (Man, we have it easy in the U.S.!). On his first day of school, Tsukune discovers a secret that will change his life forever: He is attending a school for monsters. Yeah, if you read enough manga, this is not an original or shocking plot development. Also not surprising is the attractive presentation of all the monsters, including Tsukune�s girlfriend(?) Moka, who is a vampire (Bet you didn�t see that one coming!). In fact, Moka is drawn so cute that you have a hard time believing she can become such a powerful force among her fellow students. This is an element of Ikeda�s story that works well. Moka wears a Rosario (a crucifix with a rosary bead in the middle) that keeps her fearful powers in check. She can�t remove the cross, but someone else can (�Such as Tsukune,� interjects Captain Obvious). When that happens, brace yourself! The first time this occurs in the volume, I thought the different personalities were the ideal element to move this story past predictability. However, after the fourth transformation, the entire volume felt episodic and empty (though two of the four monsters Moka fights will become regular characters in the series). Also, most of the potential mysteries of the series are out of the bag early on, which will certainly make future volumes of Rosario + Vampire monotonous.

So, why should you buy this manga? Simple. The artwork is pure butter! Now, I normally don�t present the female perspective of comics accurately, but I can see women enjoying this title�s artwork even with the large amount of cheesecake. There are some hunks who'll be easy on a girl�s eyes, and the overall smoothness of the line-work creates a seamless mood that is irresistible. For the guys, the fight scenes are extremely well choreographed and the actions are highly kinetic. Oh, and there are the panties and the heaving breasts... Whoa! Where was I?

The bottom line is that Rosario + Vampire is another beautiful product from Viz. However, I don�t see how this series can retain serious readership past the art lovers in the house. It�s the manga equivalent of CSI: Miami, complete with cheesy poses and individually wrapped tales.

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