Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dance in the Vampire Bund [Manga Review]

First, a short apology. There was no Monday update because I was feeling quite terrible. I'm better now, so here is the new review. But wait you say, you've reviewed Dance in the Vampire Bund before.
Yes, I reviewed the anime.

Scene from a very early chapter.
This is not a review of the anime.
This is a review of the manga.

5 out of 5 stars
I gave the anime a 4 star rating. The manga is better. The manga is much much better.

For one thing it is so much longer than the anime, in fact, it is currently on going. But it is moving forward in an unusual way.

Before I continue, I should mention that I'm only reviewing the published manga that has been translated by Seven Seas Entertainment, a manga company that has its books printed through Macmillan Publishing. They've actually been around since 2004, as a digital publisher, but they really seemed to grow in popularity after the 2008 crisis which ate a few manga companies like Tokyo Pop and ADV (heck it ate almost all of ADV, anime and manga). I do not remember getting any manga from them before 2010 or 2011...but now I get several series they publish. So, the short version is this; I am only reviewing the English translation that is officially published.

The 5 omnibus volumes of Dance in the Vampire Bund.
The manga is quite bold and risque.

The full story of Dance in the Vampire Bund actually crosses multiple series. I did not read one of them, because well, I just didn't care to. It was the Young Miss Holmes Casebook 1-2, The Sussex Vampire. I looked at the art work in it, and was just not interested. I'm a stickler for manga artwork. It can be difficult to go back and read the early volumes of Ah! Megami-sama since the artwork is so drastically different, and honestly kind of bad, when compared to the more recent work of Kosuke Fujishima. 

I have read all of the rest of the published (stateside) volumes of Dance in the Vampire Bund. If you fail to read the side story stuff, you will actually lose out on a significant bit of story and the later volumes will not make as much sense.

Read this between Volumes 6 & 7.
Chronologically you should read DitVB in the following order.
- Volumes 1-3 (Omnibus 1)
- Volumes 4-6 (Omnibus 2)
- Dive in the Vampire Bund 1
- Dive in the Vampire Bund 2
- Volumes 7-9 (Omnibus 3)
- Volumes 10-12 (Omnibus 4)
- Volumes 13-14 (Omnibus 5)
- Memories of Sledgehammer 1
- Memories of Sledgehammer 2
and so on... since the next volumes of Memories of Sledgehammer 3 looks like it has a September release date. Which will lead into the second part of Dance in the Vampire Bund...   

I'm giving more a general reading list than discussing the story, because I did talk about the story some in my previous review. So let me hit just a few points. The manga is amazingly good, the art is superbly clean, the story is powerful and awesome. It was good enough to quickly get past my 'fear of vampire fiction' (I hate Twilight so much for ruining fantasy monsters). The manga is also very risque, pushes a lot of boundaries, asks some very probing questions, and it does not always give you a comfortable answer. It is both uplifting and at the same time it plumbs some very dark depths. I love reading things that ask the reader to evaluate their own preconceptions, and this manga does that. That is good. I cannot recommend this manga highly enough.

I'm looking forward to the next volume of Sledgehammer.
This takes side characters and makes them main characters.

Friday's review should be for the brand new Micheal Bay childhood memory crushing movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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