Aono Tsukune is so hard up on luck, that he can't even get admitted into high school. His parents finally find him a school with no tests required for admittance, out in the middle of nowhere. He finds out the school is a youkai (monster) academy, Just as he is about to resign himself and get back on the bus home, he bumps into a beautiful girl. Turns out this beautiful girl, Akashiya Moka, is also a vampire who bites him right off the bat. They become friends and Tsukune is ready for a happy school life with her, until he finds out that if a human is found on the school grounds, he or she should be killed. Now Tsukune must conceal his identity from the rest of the monsters at school, while at the same time being a ready snack for Moka when ever the urge takes her. What effect will this have on Tsukune and will Moka be able to keep him out of harm's way?
Rosario to Vampire was published in English as Rosario+Vampire by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint from June 3, 2008 to November 3, 2009. A complete box set (that includes the entire Rosario to Vampire: Season II) was released on November 3, 2015. The series was also published in Italian by GP Manga from July 22, 2012 to April 27, 2013.
After years within the anime & manga community, I have come across a particular argument time & time again; "the manga/light novel/visual novel is better". This is usually in a bid to get people to check out the original source material, after witnessing a lacklustre anime/live action adaptation collapse in on itself.
Well Rosario + Vampire is a perfect example of such a case, whether you enjoy this kind of manga or not, the community has come to a unanimous agreement that this particular manga is worlds better than it’s unexpectedly popular anime adaptation. And it’s surprising how serious people get about it, given that it is merely a Shounen Supernatural Harem manga, with a bit of Comedy & Action thrown in for good measure.
Yet there’s no need to come into R+V expecting a fantastic story; as this simply is just your average high school Rom/Com, with some monsters thrown in. Well that’s how it is at first, as Tsukune Aono (a.k.a. Generic Male Protagonist No.91), through some odd circumstances, ends up as the only human in a Monster Academy. Now if he were a sensible human being he would GTFO, but sometimes going to school is more important than one’s well-being. Well it may also have something to do with the attractive girls throwing themselves at Tsukune, giving him less of a reason to leave. And there we have our story, with Tsukune tying to enjoy his Harem Haven, whilst dealing with life-threatening monster encounters, all while trying not to reveal his human nature to rest of the student body.
Sounds like one heck of a school-life fantasy, but the actual content does get somewhat stale and repetitive; with Tsukune getting into the usual mishaps & misunderstandings. Then closing things out with a monster spawn and having some contrived reason to force an altercation of sorts with Tsukune or the girls… rinse & repeat. So it’s good that the mangaka quickly realizes that this is a stale formula, rather quickly and focuses on developing the characters through more in-depth mini-arcs, which is a welcome change from the previous episodic storylines.
The characters are what help elevate R+V, but even with that said; there’s nothing unique about the character set-up to set it apart from your average harem. We have yet another “loser-kun” as our male protagonist, who somehow happens to attract cute girls like a magnet. The cute girls in question come in a variety of shapes & sizes but I like that there’s more to them than their initial personality traits. Each of them has some depth to their character, to ensure that they are more than just an otaku’s dakimakura (love pillow), which helps make them all appealing in some way. However we come back to Tsukune, who’s even less appealing and less developed than the generic villains, until about the point where the anime & manga storyline splits off. It is from that point on that Tsukune undergoes some surprising developments… for the better.
In my opinion the best as aspect of R+V is the artwork, which comes in 2 varieties. The most prominent being the usual day to day high school occurrences, with fairly simplistic yet serviceable artwork and then there’s the pockets of action, with bloody intense artwork. The characters & monster designs are somewhat imaginative but they tend to lack detail in their features. However when expressing a distinct mood or emotion, the mangaka makes fantastic use of shading. And I must add that the artwork undergoes some dramatic improvements, as the mangaka improves as an artist, along with the story.
Overall Rosario + Vampire is a mediocre harem manga that eventually grows into something that people, who crave more than the odd flash of pantsu-service, can enjoy. Unfortunately it is a manga that has an issue with inconsistencies in the story, creating some noticeable plot-holes, and inconsistencies in character behaviour, creating some questionable moments. Even with its issues and the incredibly repetitive “monster of the week” set-up in the earlier chapters; it is good when the story breaks free from its episodic shackles, to surprise the reader with a fairly in-depth set of stories & characters. Thus allowing me to recommend R+V, to anyone who is not initially turned off by the premise of reading such a manga.
I keep asking myself why didn't I read this sooner?!?!Actually I know why : because of a stupid reason.While browsing the database of one of my favorite manga websites,I stumbled upon this manga.The title was good,the summary was good,everything was good except for the "ecchi" part included in the genre tags.So I just thought to myself : nah!I'm not in the mood for reading ecchi stuff.This is for boys,maybe some other time....So I kept on avoiding Rosario + Vampire ( actually those ecchi stuff are barely noticeable;they're not even worth being called ecchi,so I avoided this manga basically for nothing XD) .But after continuously hearing and reading about it almost everywhere I decided to finally give it a try.
STORY : I gues this might be the only weak point of this manga.However,even if the story is,well,more or less a cliche story (vampires + mosters school + hero with no power whatsoever/ hidden powers - basically elements that we encounter in many other manga as well),the author's style and the superb art transform this average story into an unforgettable experience!Moreover,I can't find even a single detail that I don't like about this story.The adventure is harmoniously combined with romance,comedy and a lot of supernatural , offering the reader the occasion of experimenting a wide range of emotions : delight,suspense,curiosity,impatience,happiness etc. Truthfully, a fascinatig and pleasant story.
ART :Just like I mentioned earlier,the art is absolutely irreproachable.The characters are superbly drawn in extremely varied situations : while fooling around,while being nervous,angered,worried,while fighting,while expressing their feelings and so on.There isn't a moment whatsoever when the characters aren't being expressive.On the contrary,they're emotions are so easy to read the reader himself will be immersed in the story without even realizing it.
CHARACTERS :This somehow reminds me of harem genre.An average boy,with no particular qualities -besides being kindhearted ad a loyal friend maybe - surrounded by plenty beautiful and talented women - and even a 13 years old girl.Of course,he is in love with the most beautiful and powerful of them all ("know you place!" I would say if I were Moka XD).But of course Moka,also likes him a lot so they go through all hardship together.What a perfect couple!The other girls are fun too.You'll definitely like them!And they all fight for his sake...What a like guy,isn't he ? XD
ENJOYMENT : I can't find enough words to describe how much I enjoyed this manga!If there were higher marks than 10 I would surely give the highest to Rosario to Vampire,but since 10 is the only mark possible,then I'll give this manga a 10 + for enjoyment ^_^
As a conclusion,whether you like shounen manga,or shoujo manga,or supernatural manga or whatever other genre,you should at least TRY to read Rosario to Vampire.I guarantee you will be so into it that you'll read it in no time.I think this is a manga that will suite anyones tastes.read more
So, a show that's been plagiarized by none other than our great ecchi lords Gonzo, yet everyone keeps praising the manga for not being the same battle harem. Well... too bad, because that's exactly what it is! Rosario to Vampire at its core is a school harem with battle shounen elements. It is Season II where the battle shounen elements take precedence and overshadow the harem so much that you will forget it's entire first season aside from ONE key event.
RECOMMENDATION: Read this as a school harem with supernatural elements and you'll have an okay time. The structure is largely episodic building up to a shounen style fight for the climax of the chapter along with a trademark friendship lecture that is expected of Shounen JUMP manga. You won't feel disappointed and you don't have to rush through either. You'll have fun with the likable cast and their quirks, but don't expect much of them as realistic characters, since a lot is covered up by the plot elements, but there is catharsis and tidbits of proper development to be found here. It may be worth your time, but don't expect much, this isn't THAT different from the Gonzo adaptation, it's better, but not by much.
And with that... The STORY:
An episodic school harem where almost every chapter we encounter a jerk villain in one sense or another building up the relevant conflict until the climax where the main character is hurt and enables the One-Shot fix-it plot device to march in and stomp over the problem. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum. Be sure to add some other girls in order to have harem catfights, you always hold off your most badass character. The villains are irredeemable one-time caricatures of school bullying, stalking, obsessions and the like... and you have yourself a "great" story.
Well... until the author gets a hang of how to build up an arc, add some intrigue, change the setting to the contemporary world, have villains with ulterior motives and themes to them. Including Light Yagami wannabe because why not. It's not handled extremely well either, but it was certainly a step forward from the episodic throwaways. Though I wish it had a more proper climax for an ending arc, but it was an awkward enough time for the publisher as well to close one of its serialization magazines.
The ARTWORK is serviceable. It can be attributed to the old scans I was reading, but it just looks plain. But the simple thing is that the mangaka had to appease his edit. No panty shots of the badass, despite her signature move being a kick while dressed in a short school uniform skirt. Comedy is relegated to being a chibi background on small panels.
But it also shows that there is a sense of style when it comes to the villains, they are all drawn as horrors, beasts, heck, even Eldritch abominations later on. Too bad on the heroic side the most stylish thing we have are ominous eyes and a goth girl. The focus on the eyes when important was extremely good, as it is important both aesthetically and thematically to establish the thought process of the characters and what they're feeling. The framing is excellent and adds to the mood of the climactic scenes.
Alas it isn't until Season II where the mangaka goes crazy with well composited, detailed two-page scenes. Here it's like flexing his creativity to get a feel for how they would look like and there are still present here.
The CHARACTERS on the other hand... ugh. The protagonist is your generic shounen harem lead - Tsukune who is always standing up against injustice and putting himself in unnecessary danger... Look you fucking idiot, just call in your overpowered friend and have her deal with it for you, she won't mind, it's not like she cares about irredeemable villains either, I doubt she would listen to your stupid shounen lectures about the importance of others.
Then we have the main love interest- Moka, who is sweet, altruistic, caring and harmonizing. She's likable and the shadow character complimenting her presence make for a good dichotomy from a reader standpoint. But romance wise she just feels disconnected in a sense, just being sweet doesn't cut it for me. A romantic relationship, establishing and going through one takes a lot of effort, compromise and one has to accept the faults of the other. It's just how it is even if we feel something indescribably wonderful and sorrowful at the same time. Yes, yes, the complimentary personality of hers, she's just the badass, but there's nothing more to her, she's cold and distant, but yet so cool and is shown to be compassionate at times, but that's not played up to any significance whatsoever here because the status quo of shipping every girl of the harem must be upheld!
This is where the main contender for the romantic relationship comes in- Kurumu. She's a succubus, she's a creature of deviance and yet she wants Tsukune to truly love her without any cheap tricks she would use in her nature to devour men's souls through intercourse.. ahem... sorry, but that's the essence of her monstrous nature really. Alas it's only an ecchi, there is nothing that resembles sensuality or sexual frustration here, it's all just a high school romance. Kurumu joins as a rival to Moka for Tsukune, she's energetic righteous, emotional, upbeat, her main quirk is loving to throw herself into Tsukune with her (supposed) G-cups suffocating his face. Her monstrous nature get sidelined and she's only able to fly... such a badass!
Yukari, the loli witch. She also likes Tsukune, but she also likes Moka, she ships them, or at least doesn't mind their romance. In the harem, she's just the quirky loli. There isn't much to her, she has her quirks to add to the group, along with being the "school genius" which gives her the power of exposition dumping the reader and the cast at what they're facing.
Mizore is the ice girl stalker... that's it. Her quirk is to always be stalking behind a bush, table, pillar... you get the point. What she adds to the harem catfights are the straight man comments which I personally love. Pointing out the stupidity of of Kurumu's outbursts, and her arguments with Yukari.
And lastly Rubi who is introduced later and just makes appearances here and there not really playing any role as a part of the harem. She's mostly a decoration because she has the most distinct character design out of everyone.
So with that I'm just not impressed. Aside from Rubi, no one is fleshed out significantly to understand where they're coming from. The rest are just social exiles for whatever reason accepted by Tsukune so they can obsess over him for arbitrary reasons in order to have comedy skits, yaaaay! There is catharsis to be found in some villain arcs, but they are so few and far between, and in some cases rushed so it lacks impact. But it is a good showcase of spectacle coupled with catharsis. Not great, but serviceable at least, if not for the shounen lectures. Alas I could care less about these archetypes, it's the presentation on the panel framing that makes them powerful, not my dedication or intimate understanding of the characters or their themes. I simply can't empathize with them outside those extreme scenarios whose purpose is spectacle first, not personal drama. And as I mentioned the villains are all irredeemable with a few exceptions, one of them which gets retconned for extra salt.
Thus hindering my ENJOYMENT of immersing myself in these characters' lives and struggles, which are sidelined immediately for the next episodic chapter. The world had potential, but it's just concepts thrown in to add an artificial layer of drama to make up for the lack of actual character drama in order for the reader to root for the good guys. I don't like harem jinks either, there is no focus on each character, all we see are binary relationships between a pair. Moka is the peacekeeper, Kurumu is the bashful, reckless tomboy, Yukari is the smart one, Mizore is the observant straight (wo)man, Tsukune is the self-insert blank slate until the shounen switch in his brain is activated for his death wish each time, but at least that still gives him a character trait.
So in the end it was a chore to read through most of the time and thinking about it, it has ignored quite a few elements, not to mention most of the episodic characters never had significance all throughout Season II, which is what most praise this series for. read more
Now to talk about what I consider to be one of the best cases of the manga being superior to the anime, Rosario + Vampire.
Story - 10/10
15 year old Tsukune Aono enrolls at the Youkai Academy, due to the fact that no other high school will accept him, and while walking from the bus to the school, a girl named Moka Akashiya crashes into him - who reveals herself to be a vampire by sucking Tsukune's blood. After arriving at the school, he quickly realizes that the school is actually a school for monsters. And it turns out that Moka is in his class.
The story in the manga isn't exactly ground breaking on it's own, but it's actually like it's completely different from the anime - mainly because it feels like they take more time to flesh out the characters, as opposed to the anime, which felt like it was basically trying to rush to introduce all of the characters from the first season (I cannot comment on the second season, since I have not seen it, and to my understanding, the second season of the anime is not adapted from the manga). True, they do establish that this is a harem by introducing Kurumu in the second chapter, but after that, whenever a character is introduced, it feels like said character is actually being introduced to the story, instead of being forced into the story. Also, the fight scenes actually feel like fight scenes - they don't have a lot of fanservice, so it's easier to take them seriously. Also, the manga has a lot more content than the anime - however, I'm not going to list out all the things that the manga has that the anime doesn't, since that would be spoiling the manga, and it would also take me a long time to do so.
Art - 9/10
The anime has ONE advantage over the manga in this area: it's colored. Other than that, I would actually say that the art in the anime was a downgrade from the art in the manga (although I think that the studio responsible for making the anime adaptation is to blame for that).
Character - 10/10
While the personalities of the characters in the manga are similar to their anime counterparts, as mentioned previously, they have more time to develop, and as a result, they feel more fleshed out. Also, because there's more content in the manga, we actually get to see aspects of the characters that the anime doesn't show. For example, Mizore and Kurumu's parents are actually introduced - and it's apparent that the traits of those 2 are passed down.
This has easily earned itself a spot on my top 5 favorite manga, and I'm definitely going to read the second season. Stay tuned for when I eventually tackle the second season of the manga.
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