May 3, 2020
Like any reasonable person, I love vampires and lesbians and vampires who are lesbians. However, one of my more unique penchants is manga that starts off incredibly promising but goes off the rails in the last stretch, leaving me with both murky appreciation and disappointment. Let’s look at what went wrong here.
Vampiress Lord starts off strong with a hefty dose of worldbuilding. Our protagonist is turned into a vampire, but that’s okay, because this series defangs most of their mythical weaknesses and portrays them as once-ordinary people who have gotten a little weird with immortality. Her newfound curse actually a blessing, Yuunagi continues going to
school as a vampire Mary Sue until eventually romance starts to blossom.
As you may have noticed, this series is relatively conflict-free. This lack of central tension extends to the manga’s relationships, where it is actually quite welcome. Most yuri concerns itself with drama that threatens or delays the core relationship – lacking self-worth, family issues, jealousy, and miscommunication are all common themes. Since Vampiress Lord avoids this drama, it actually gets into some relatively unexplored problem spaces, such as nonmonogamy. When Yuunagi sucks another girl’s blood (an act with obvious sexual implications), she feels guilty about it and has a conversation with her girlfriend, and the two of them set open relationship boundaries that leave them both satisfied. It’s good stuff! And nice to see it come up naturally in a manga.
It’s at this point that I run out of nice things to say and have to address the elephant in the room: Vampiress Lord was cancelled shortly after the first volume, and the mangaka had to cram everything she wanted into the next two. As such, the second half of this series is rushed to the point of tearing apart what made the first half good. Yuunagi’s relationship with her girlfriend goes from slow and exploratory to deadly serious with the drop of a hat. Right afterwards, the series pulls the desperation move of “introducing the council of the most powerful vampires”. It really doesn’t help that this whirlwind of flat characters includes two whose only traits are ‘slut’ and 'otokonoko’. The last couple of chapters got bad enough that I had to stop and ask myself “wait, was this series written by a man the whole time?” because it started feeling like *that* kind of yuri.
The final chapter of the series is an omake in which the mangaka explains how the series got axed and apologizes for its rushed state, as she had to crunch her 7-volume plan into a few chapters. It’s genuinely sad, because while the material that I wasn’t a fan of still would have shown up in those potential later volumes, there would have been plenty more chapters about the gentle undoing of societal expectations for the sake of fluffy yuri.
A butch woman wrote this manga and frankly, who am I to argue against her.
What did you think of this review?