ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Call of the Night,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Call of the Night

Oh, vampire manga, my favorite problematic genre. Well, vampire anything really. And that continues with Call of the Night, but like literally all my vampire trash favorites before it, I totally accept the awkward age things and just roll with it, well to a point. Call of the Night is created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Kotoyama, localized and published in English by VIZ Media via the publisher’s Shonen Sunday imprint, translated by Junko Goda, with an English adaptation by Shaenon K. Garrity, and finally touch-up art and lettering by Annaliese “Ace” Christman.

In Call of the Night Volume 1, we see the start of a relationship between a sexy vampire yandere girl and an antisocial dorky boy.  It’s really that simple and it gets a little weird when Kotoyama maps out their vision of vampire lore through Nanakusa, the vampire’s perspective. Ko, is a teen, specifically, he’s 14-years old.

During one of his many sleepless nights, Ko slips out to walk the streets. When flirtatious Nazuna invites Ko to spend the night at her place in an abandoned building – and in teen boy fashion, he’s excited. But then he awakens to kisses on his neck with a little too much bite to them. And there begins their relationship. He’s an insomniac who isn’t good at interacting with other people, let alone falling in love with them. Nanakusa is a hungry vampire who is eager to show Ko what the night has to offer. But of course, Ko doesn’t just want to be her blood-bag, instead, he wants to be transformed into a vampire, like her. But it isn’t easily achieved.

Now, it has to be said that they aren’t connected through romance but it’s clear that it isn’t just the fact that his blood is most delicious she’s had (you know, the vampire romance trope that just won’t die). While the two grow closer, it’s hard to tell what pushes them together. Ko desperately wants to become like her, but to do so, she has to feed from him while he’s in love with her. And for Ko, that isn’t easy.

The whole of Call of the Night Volume 1 isn’t bad. It’s standard vampire logic, but at the same time the biggest problems of the subgenre come up because of Kotoyama’s choice to make the characters the ages he does. While Nanakusa is a vampire who was at least already a vampire in the 90s when big cellphones were all the rage, Ko is 14. Just 14. He isn’t legal, he can’t drink, and while I’m not gonna stop a teen vampire romance from happening, especially given that Nankusa is drawn looking very young (an issue I will not bring up because that’s a lot to unpack in its own article with Fly Me to the Moon’s Tsukasa), it’s how drinking blood is described that makes it weird. There is an entire scene where Nanakusa uses the word “coitus” a bunch of times to describe what drinking blood is like to vampires. Which, I get.

But at the same time, when your male protagonist is 14, it’s pretty much weird and even more so when his one objective is to fall in love in order to be transformed. To be honest, the series themes could have easily been tackled with an older protagonist, even if Ko was a third-year high school student or a first-year college student. His sheltered experience could have still been highlighted and done in a way that doesn’t infantilize him to the point of being awkward.

When we push the age aside, Call of the Night Volume 1 does find its stride in how Nanakusa and Ko come to understand each other. The two of them are able to have adorable moments together that offer something other than forced “coitus” talk into the narrative and you can tell that they’re developing a close bond. And for that alone, it’s enough to pick up this title.

Overall, Call of the Night falls into the same issues many vampire [insert media here] fall into and while that’s expected, it’s a little disappointing in 2021. That said, if you’re into absolutely vampire everything this is one to pick up for sure.

Call of the Night Volume 1 is available wherever books are sold on April 13, 2021.


Call of the Night Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

Overall, Call of the Night falls into the same issues many vampire [insert media here] fall into and while that’s expected, it’s a little disappointing in 2021. That said, if you’re into absolutely vampire everything this is one to pick up for sure.