"Aqua Eden"—a man-made floating island where gambling, sex trade, and thievery is allowed by the government. But there is one more thing that lurks in the streets of the island-vampires. Mutsura Yuuto is working with one of them, and together with a few other members of their group, they fight to uphold morals on the island.
In reality, living the life of a vampire would be a pretty horrible experience. Ostracised by society, forced to live in solitude, unable to withstand sunlight and required to suck the blood of humans to continue living-- it's quite a depressing way of life. But in the world of fiction and eroge, having these traits grants one a harem of cute, busty girls. Hey, why not?
Serialised two months before the release of the visual novel, Dracu-Riot's manga adaptation exists largely as an advertisement. And while it certainly does not have anywhere near the amount of depth found in the thirty-hour visual novel, for a manga
merely two volumes long, it stands surprisingly well on its own merits. Other manga adaptations could learn a thing or two from Dracu-Riot.
If you were sceptical about the idea of a lengthy visual novel being adapted into only two volumes of story, I don't blame you. Adaptations of these nature rarely, almost never go beyond the level of a lazy advertisement. And that's all that I was expecting from Dracu-Riot. After reading the first few chapters, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story was never rushed. Events progress at a reasonable pace, natural enough that at times I felt the manga was paced even better than the visual novel. It is adapted not as "some eroge drawn on paper-- now hurry up and give me my cheque already" but as a proper manga in its own right. Even if you have no interest in reading the source material, the manga is still very much an experience worthy of your time.
Does it have issues, though? It certainly does, and significant ones at that. The short chapter count means that the characters do not have much time to develop nor is the reader given much reason to care about them. The side characters don't even feel like characters at all; they're like wind, background scenery-- something you see but don't notice. And that's a shame since Azusa is one of the cutest things to ever grace our planet.
The romance develops more quickly than you might find comfortable, but for all the awful things that Yuuto and Miu have gone through together, it does at least make sense that they would be attracted to each other. It's just a shame that all the heart-warming moments are hampered by cliché, puerile junk like "indirect kisses", pretend dating and the main protagonist somehow unhooking the heroine's bra in a split-second and fondling her breasts by 'accident'. Please. The ecchi superpowers are one thing, but this indirect kissing crap is something you would expect from toddlers, not a pair of sexually aware 17-year-olds. I want to puke every time some anime or manga mentions it.
Thankfully, Dracu-Riot is competent with regards to its artwork. It's nothing that will please the eye, but it is devoid of the usual amateurishness found in manga adaptations. Dracu-Riot looks and feels like something you would find from a regular, serialised manga. And Miu is always drawn with care whenever it matters most. If a manga whose primary appeal is cute girls didn't even manage to make the girls look cute, well, it wouldn't be much of a manga in the first place. So it's fortunate then that Miu looks as adorable as she does, blushing or otherwise.
As a story, Dracu-Riot is average at best. Perhaps even poor. But does that even matter? The entire appeal of the series is in the girls (and in the manga's case, Miu specifically). The story is secondary to the characters; whatever nonsense is happening is simply a catalyst for more cute scenes to follow later on.
Whether or not you're okay with that, though, depends on your preferences in media. If you don't enjoy cute girls blubbering and blushing, there's not much of value to be found here. But if you do like cute girls in your manga, you'll have a fun time with Dracu-Riot. Just remember that Azusa is best.
Dracu-Riot is basically the stereotypical harem. Tsundere, loli, completely innocent, and ecchi sketch girls are all included in this, along with a little yaoi. However, each character brings about their own little charm that sets this harem above the rest, along with a story that actually made me go to the visual novel and try reading it (translation ended on chapter 5. Q.Q)
Story 9/10: Apart from the harem, Dracu-Riot's (to be referred to as DR) story is actually quite good. Our main character Yuuto was with his bfffl Naoto when he accidentally is involved with a police set-up and becomes a vampire. The story is
about all the little things that happen, as well as Yuuto developing his own powers, which are far beyond what other vampires can do, and his quest to return to his normal human life. Of course, also included is his reactions to all of the girls around him.
Art 8/10: I'm horrible at noticing art, but the characters are well drawn, each having their own unique aura.
Character 8/10: Stereotypical harem characters, but nevertheless very well described, and their own charms make me want to root for all of them (which is very rare. Most times I automatically point at one girl and say "she's gonna win")
Enjoyment 10/10: Just because I am a guy, does not mean I enjoyed this just for the harem aspect. I really enjoyed the story (though it's based off the vn) as well as the characters in it. Elina provides a lot of comic relief, and Riu is laughably innocent.
Overall 9/10: Great harem, I'd say one of the best, if not the best, harem I've ever read. I'd definitely recommend this to anybody who enjoys any sort of harem.