The vampire Staz is one of the most powerful district bosses in the demon world, fending off everyone who dares challenge him. But secretly, the fearsome Staz is obsessed with human culture, especially video games, manga, and everything that comes from Japan! When a Japanese girl wanders into the demon world, Staz can't wait to meet the human and learn everything he can about her world. Unfortunately, before he's able to ask her anything, the girl is killed by one of his would-be usurpers, leaving just her bare soul behind. Staz vows to help the girl restore her body and return to her former life—especially since it means taking a trip to the human world himself!
Blood Lad was published in English by Yen Press in 2-in-1 omnibuses from December 11, 2012 to August 22, 2017. It has also been published in Italian by Panini Comics under the Planet Manga imprint since September 22, 2012; and in Spanish by Norma Editorial since April 2013.
Blood Lad honestly scared me at first. Not because of its violence or supernatural trappings, but because that first volume was rough to read through. I thought I was in for a LONG ride of a read, but thankfully by volume 3 it found more solid footing and rolled with it. It's not a *great* manga (definitely not a seinen, for one thing), but it has its pros in competent pacing for a solid plot, and engaging artwork.
[Story - 7]
Our story starts off simple - in a 'demon' world where every stereotypical supernatural being exists, a human girl stumbles into the 'territory' of a vampire.
She gets killed after he tries to capture her for Blood Consumption, and he resolves to revive her to get said blood. The first several volumes follow Staz (the vampire) and the series of efforts he makes to just revive the girl, but it soon turns into another Save The World From The Ancient King story.
While I was initially critical of this change, I found that it was ultimately for the better as the latter is more intriguing than the former, despite its generic beats. The former had slow pacing in the first couple of volumes, and by the time it got to the 'plot twist and switch', it was moving along swimmingly. Naturally, the themes for the title are best suited for this pacing: the Powah of friendship/family/romance, along with some toying of how one's role in the world affects said world rather than the other way around. There's a ton of ecchi mixed in with the Ha Ha That's A Reference-type of comedy, but there /is/ actual comedy sometimes.
[Art - 8]
The artwork is what actually caught my eye, and convinced me to give it a crack. As multiple people have noted before me, it's very reminiscent of a shonen that I highly enjoy/admire (Soul Eater), but I feel as though it still stands out by itself. It has a very 'minimalistic' feel: While the setting + action has enough detail that you can tell what's going on, it also feels as though these are still unfinished sketches being sent off to serialization. It works, however, since the story and characterization are fairly lightweight.
Character design is very......hit-or-miss for me. Sometimes it works really well in having a memorable feel (Wolf's modern chic look, Bell's FLCL-esque gear, Akim's stitches and scars) but other times it just looks rather generic and bland (The Blood Brothers, the Blacklisted). This is probably me being nitpicky, but having most, if not all, of your prominent women possessing huge knockers is an immature and tacky look, especially in a title that's supposed to be a seinen.
[Character - 5]
Characterization is where I found the manga to be slacking the most, unfortunately. There are actual character arcs and dynamics here, but it just feels really......inferior compared to what could have been.
For starters, let's go with our protagonist, Staz. From the get-go, he's portrayed as a perpetually-lazy and selfish lord, but of course gradually matures into a much more responsible person. This isn't bad, per say, but considering how many times the idea of him being an 'anti-hero' is discussed in the title, it's rather disappointing. He definitely falls into the trap of suddenly becoming a Noble Hero, when his initial characterization + those discussions suggest otherwise. It would have been genuinely interesting to see Staz still indulge in his 'lesser' ideals and morals while on his quest to revive the girl and save his world.
Another character whose writing I found frustrating was the 'leading woman', Fuyumi. The 'leading woman' is marked as such because she's so severely underwritten that it almost got me to drop the title three times throughout the journey. While I didn't mind it in the first few volumes (but note that she's incredibly ditzy and objectified), having her stay essentially the same at the LAST FUCKING CHAPTER is ridiculous. This is made even more excruciating to read when her main arc of development is realizing that she loves Staz (big shock), and literally.....nothing else. That's her entire arc. I'm not kidding.
Other characters, while fun to read about, also feel really underused. Wolf, for example, doesn't have a huge arc outside of suddenly developing another power; Bell also has a similar arc to Fuyumi, along with the added bonus of Making Friends; and so on/so forth. This is frustrating because they ARE fun to read, especially with their group dynamics, but yet they're so much less than they could have been.
[Enjoyment/Overall - 6]
As I said at the beginning, this isn't a great manga by any means. It's definitely not meant to be in the same magazine as Erased and Bungou Stray Dogs, but makes a fun and light read nonetheless. I'd recommend this to anyone who just wants a title that's 'easy' on the mind in terms of characterization and story, but is packing a lot in action and ecchi. Otherwise, skip it over - there are better titles like this one out there.
The story is good. There are some plots that i though Yuuki Kodama could of focused on. For example, at the beginning it explains that there are bosses who control different regions & fight to keep control. After a few resolutions about it. Its not exerted further & moves on to different plots. Some of those plots are used the same way so its kind of a wasted potential. But other than that its reasonably good.
The art is very good. Not as detailed but it has a
very clean and vanilla feel to it. Everyone looks different enough to depict who is who.
The cast is good. Personally my favorites being Staz & Braz. Staz displays more personality and is more reckless. While his brother shows more intellect and kinda has a deadpan manner of humor. The rest have a certain..genericness to them.
The enjoyment is great! I had a lot of fun seeing the struggles & misunderstandings between the characters. The fights are well done.
I think Blood Lad is very good. There aren't many fun vampire/Demon World manga series like Blood Lad. I recommend it. 👍
This manga had enormous potential and was actually very enjoyable up until the last fights when it just turned bad. It's a classic example of manga that completely fail to write a good ending and in the end you'll be left disappointed that the story ended the way it did.
The story is very straightforward and enjoyable enough, but it also feels a bit too rushed in terms of pacing. It's pretty much straight to the point which is both a strength and a weakness. However as already stated the ending is mediocre at best and I think I would have liked the series a
lot more if I hadn't read the ending at all.
As far as characters go they are also pretty great up until the last fights. What I mean by this is that what you can consider the two main characters in Staz and Wolf have essentially everything they've been through made void by how useless they are in the end which doesn't sit right with me. Due to the ending it feels like the character development completely stopped or even as much as declined.
As far as the combat goes it was also pretty good up until the last fights and especially the last fight was just complete garbage and honestly I wish I could erase it from my mind. In the end you're sitting there waiting for an epic fight of sorts to break out but it never happens, there's no real climax for the reader, just bitter disappointment.
If you wish to read this manga I recommend not reading the last couple of volumes as you'll just end up disappointed. Apart from the ending the manga is pretty good though with a relatively good story, combat and comedy.
tl;dr: A pretty standard shounen with mostly decent quality but a number of issues.
This manga is pretty standard Shounen. The protagonist, Staz, is interesting, in that he starts out incredibly self-centered and someone that even acknowledges themselves as a villain, but becomes a hero by the end. Through all that, he's pretty dense but also somewhat sly, which makes him interesting over his entire character arc. The heroine, Fuyumi, didn't really get much development or an arc at all, rather she just seemed to be herself going with the flow with what was happening. Ultimately, she was the major impetus for character change in Staz, so to that end
they had really good chemistry together, but just on her own she felt kind of flat. On the other hand, Bell had a lot more time and development, so her character/relationship arc felt a lot more fleshed out, which ultimately made it a lot easier to root for Bell, though that sort of died out as it went on. The rest of the side characters didn't feel like they got much development either, where even though many did get what seemed like character arcs, they were far too sudden and rushed for them to really feel substantial. That brings us to another problem with the manga, in that the plot drags the focus around way too much. The focus on Staz works well enough, but there are parts where it doesn't really feel like its focusing on anyone, and the storyline is just floating around aimlessly, in part because as mentioned the other characters feel pretty flat. The battle manga aspects of this manga aren't all that great either, wherein the action is solid enough, but the power ups and power levels are random and don't really feel like they have any impact even though such a large emphasis is put on them. Rather the more plan-oriented parts seem to work a lot better. In terms of endings, the final battle was awesome enough and Staz's development got showcases really well after that, but I've never really been a fan of memory related endings, and though this was handled the best way such an ending could be handled, I really don't see why it was necessary in the first place. The comedy was decent enough to keep things amusing but it was never really hilarious. The art was really good for special pages, and decent enough during the main pages in terms of being clean and such, but what really stood out was that the character designs were great and used well.