Vampire romances are a fan favorite in any medium, and in manga, it's had a great uptick. With FANGS, The Vampire and His Pleasant Companions, and Call of the Night, vampire manga has been one of my favorite moments of my monthly reading and now I can add Rosen Blood to the list. Rosen Blood Volume 1 is written and illustrated by mangaka Kachiru Ishizue, published and localized in English by VIZ Media's shojo/josei imprint Shojo Beat. The English translation is provided by JN Productions, and the English adaptation is done by Ysabet Reinhardt MaFarlane. Additionally, the volume features touch-up art and lettering by Joanna Estep, design by Alice Lewis, and is edited Jennifer Sherman.  After a horrific carriage accident, Stella Violetta awakens in a Gothic mansion to find that her saviors are gorgeous young men that really want to drink her blood. Instead of tossing the helpless Stella out, the manor’s residents let her stay as a maid, but Stella soon realizes there is more to the arrangement than she was originally told.  Now, I'm not usually a fan of haram manga in any form, but there is something about adding vampires to the mix that I can't help but become engrossed –I blame that 2000s Queen of the Damned film if I'm honest. That said, the trope of the vampire boyfriend haram only gets Rosen Blood so far. Instead, it's the elements of gothic horror, gorgeous art, and just a hint of camp that make the volume worth picking up.  Levi is the leader of the vampires, in control of his bloodlust and the house. Friedrich is a flirty florist existing to push a sexual boundary. Yoel is the androgynous, childlike and coy. And finally, Gilbert is the dangerous one, driven by his thirst but an artist all the same. These young vampires are all unique and beyond that, the ominous life-like sculptures cast a dangerous shadow on Stella's life in the home. For her part, Stella avoids the common naive damsel trope for the most part, mainly in her relationship with Levi. She refuses to treat him with respect when he treats her like an object and that small assertion of agency puts he worlds above other female protagonists in these vampire reverse harem stories. Additionally, what begins as a reverse harem morphs into a singular romance that settles into itself as a mystery begins to surface connecting Levi and Stella beyond the present.  Rosen Blood Volume 1 serves as a solid foundation for a vampire romance and mystery that embraces gothic elements, traditional tropes, and ultimately a sleeping beauty concept that Ishizue executes well. All of this makes Rosen Blood a series to pick up for vampire fans.  Rosen Blood Volume 1 is available now from booksellers both digitally and physically. 

REVIEW: ‘Rosen Blood,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes Rosen Blood Volume 1 is written and illustrated by mangaka Kachiru Ishizue and sets up readers for a mysterious vampire romance.

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