Charley, a cyborg vampire who does the Vatican's dirty work, is the thrall of the local vampire playboy Johnny Rayflo. As the two fight crime—and each other—hilarity, violence and sacrilege ensue! But can Charley resist his own desperate cravings for blood? Find out as the devilish duo go up aginst a childlike vampire princess, a mysterious branch of the Unitarian Church...and one another.
Vassalord. had four volumes published in English by Tokyopop from July 29, 2008 to November 30, 2010. It has also been published in its entirety in German by Tokyopop Gmbh, Italian by GP Publishing and Polish by Studio JG.
A flamboyant vampire and an uptight cyborg vampire hunter (who was also a vampire) went on a quest to uncover the mystery behind "Vassalord". The story came with bishonens, European Gothic vibe, lots of blood sucking and tons of steaming-hot fanservice (not that I am complaining lol).
The story is intriguing and most likely will keep you flipping the pages. The blend of religion, vampire folklore, crime/mystery and sexual ventures (yes, you read it right) works out smoothly enough. However, a score of 7 is mainly due to the rushed flow and all the missing "how and why did they do that" details. I
personally think that Vassalord could do with 2 or 3 more volumes to work out all the necessary elements and reach its full potential.
To me, this is the most commendable aspect of Vassalord. The art is really gorgeous, but I suppose fighting scenes could be improved. The European-ish backgrounds are impressive and the character design, especially for Charley and Rayflo, is worthy of praise.
Undoubtedly the biggest letdown of the series, characters in Vassalord need a lot more work. Even for the 2 main protagonists, the backstories are vague and lots of questions are left unanswered. Some huge concerns of mine are, for example, how exactly did Rayflo and Charley establish their co-dependent relationship? What was the misunderstanding between him and Rayflo that kept them emotionally apart for hundreds of years? What was 86's motivation? (I understand that the answers could be inferred - but still, a bit more elaboration would do wonders). The flashbacks are totally lacking and do not help much in telling a coherent story of their past. Most of the side characters are such a disappointment. As a reader, I am confused about where they suddenly jump out from or why they fight for/against the protagonists; it feels like Chrono-sensei forgets what it means by "a proper introduction". It also seems that she was forced to condense the story into mere 7 volumes, therefore the lack of characterisation.
With all that said, I am glad that I chanced upon Vassalord. I just wish it could have been a bit longer and a tad more elaborate in its flow. For all its weaknesses, Vassalord still is an emotional, passionate story with amazing art that many romance / shounen-ai / vampire fans out there would love.
I took a leap of faith on this one and I'm glad I did. I'm not one for Shouen Ai but it seems to be the only way to get a good blood drinking scene so it's something I can deal with.
I'm not 100% on just what the plot is but I'm enjoying finding it out. Normally with manga it easy to tell a couple chapters in what the whole thing will be about and even guess the ending. So it's nice I can't do that with this one. I only have one problem with it and that is that the chapters seem to jump
around randomly; there's little connection from one chapter to the next so following gets tricky from time to time.
The artwork is incredible, I love how there is detail but it's not over kill as it is with some mangas. It isn't so simplified though that the manga begins to feel like a child's manga but it isn't so detailed that it takes away from the story. The artist managed to actually find a happy medium and a style that suited the genre of the manga.
The characters are well thought out but Johnny is slightly annoying because he is somewhat immature. I do get tired of there always being one serious character and one immature character in every manga I have ever read and for some reason, they're either very close (as in friends) or lovers. In real life, someone with Chris's personality would never be able to tolerate someone like Rayflo.
As I've mentioned, I'm not a fan of guyxguy pairings. Nothing against it but I just don't like it. That being said, I am still enjoying Vassalord because of that bloody element you can't seem to get with hetro pairings in vampire manga. Hetro vampire manga doesn't have many blood drinking bits and what little it does have is often boring. So I'm willing to ignore the homo pairing to get great blood drinking scenes and gore.
Anyone who isn't a fan of Shouen Ai but likes actual vampires, not sparkling pansies or gun toting nuts, will enjoy Vassalord. The vampires have the sexuality that they're supposed to have without being whiny little bitches or complete space cases. They aren't good but they aren't evil either. Vassalord vampires are like humans in that sense. They can choose whether to live anonymously with humans or go on killing sprees. Either way there is no "I want to be human" or "I do this because I'm a vampire" type vampires in this manga. Even Chris doesn't seem to regret his decision.
I recommend this to anyone who wants actual vampires with good blood drinking scenes but not the sheer amount of gore that comes with Hellsing or the overwhelming drama that comes with Vampire Knight (both are still good mangas).