Bloody Mary Volume 1 by Akaza Samamiya
Vampires! There have been plenty of options available for the manga fan who enjoys vampires, and these series are obviously popular, because it seems like most publishers have at least one or two current series featuring those who walk the night. How is Bloody Mary different from all the other shoujo vampire series out there?
Bloody Mary is a bit different because there are no clumsy high school girls who unwittingly find themselves the target of a vampire’s affections. Instead in this series the reader gets a cranky and mysterious priest and a vampire with a death wish. Mary is a vampire who has been on a quest to find a priest who can actually kill him. Maria is a priest who is the target of vampires due to his family’s position as prominent exorcists. Maria knows how to brandish a mystical cross, but he doesn’t yet have the ability to combat vampires the same way his ancestors did.
Mary rescues Maria from a vampire attack and brings him home to the church. Maria promptly kicks him out, because he’s tired of vampires constantly showing up and demanding his delicious blood. Mary explains that he only wants Maria to kill him. Eventually the duo strike up an uneasy truce – Maria will give Mary blood, in return for protection against vampire attacks. When Maria is able to gain his true powers as an exorcist, he promises to put Mary out of his misery. While Mary is over 400 years old, he’s drawn as a mischievous teenager, skulking around in a cat-head hoodie. Maria is tall, blond, imposing, and has attitude issues. There are plenty of opportunities for odd couple shenanigans ahead.
There’s also plenty of mystery to explore. Mary has amnesia issues. He’s probably the vampire boogieman known as Bloody Mary, but he seems to have patchy memories of his past. He doesn’t have the same vulnerabilities that other vampires do. On Maria’s side, his lack of access to his family’s traditional power, and the knowledge that his hidden from him hint that he has the potential to become a destructive force in his own right as well.
This first volume packs a bunch of story elements in to just a few chapters, as Mary and Maria’s relationship is established, hints of everyone’s secret past are alluded to, and Maria also has to deal with a handsome student council president who knows more about exorcism than he initially lets on. The character designs are attractive, and the fatalistic humor combined with plenty of vampire angst makes Bloody Mary a solid addition to the Shojo Beat lineup.