Vampire's Portrait vol. 1
Author/Artist: Hiroki Kusumoto
Rating: M – for 18 and above
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Horror, Fantasy
*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.com/buzz/. Check it out! ***
Lou is a young painter. On one cold day a handsome stranger approaches him. This mysterious stranger offers to be his patron. He asks Lou to paint his portrait. Sein is a composer. This intrigues Lou because his grandfather, who raised him, played the piano. There seems to be something a little off with Sein. He's very unsociable. Nothing Lou paints seems to satisfy Sein. After a small row Sein accidentally cuts Lou's hand and Sein's true nature is revealed. Sein is a vampire.
Lou comes to find himself somewhat attracted to Sein. He's resolved to paint a portrait that Sein will approve of. But a man named Adam comes into the picture. It seems that Sein and Adam have a contract. Sein gets to feed off Adam and Adam gets musical scores. Sein had fed off Lou the day before and wasn't as hungry when Adam had arrived. After Adam left in a huff Sein wanted a little more of Lou's blood. A little strange since he'd just vomited up a large amount of blood. We find out that Sein had fallen in love with Lou's grandfather, Claude, many years ago. It seems that Lou and Claude's blood taste similar.
One day Lou arrives at Sein's manor, but Sein is nowhere to be found. It seems that Sein wants Lou to be looked after by Adam. Unable to figure out what's going on, Lou just goes with it. The story begins to get more complicated from here.
Initially I didn't have much desire to read Vampire's Portrait. I wasn't terribly impressed by Hiroki Kusumoto-sensei's previous release Wild Butterfly. But I've learned that you need to judge each book by its own merits and not by previous works. Don't get me wrong, I liked the art in Wild Butterfly but I figured Vampire's Portrait would be more of the same. I got the copy a few days before Halloween so I decided to read it to help me get into the Halloween spirit. I was so happy to find out how great of a book this is. The story was engaging and interesting. The art was beautiful. It's a two volume series so you get a cliffhanger ending. I'm not a huge fan of vampire stories, yet at every turn Juné and DMP have been publishing amazing vampire titles. I have been thoroughly impressed. There isn't a lot of BL sex action in this volume but the man attraction is definitely there. This volume has an M-rating, which I assume is for the blood not the sex. There is A LOT of blood and some violence.
I would have to say that my favorite part of the book is the two four-panel comics on the page with the author's Afterword. It plays on BL theme of the story and is really quite hilarious. Seeing how this is a very serious manga the humor was a breath of fresh air. Check out this title, it is definitely worthy of your time.
***Review Copy provided by Juné ***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***