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Chibi Vampire: v. 5
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In Japan this popular shojo vampire series is called Karin, and it concerns a young supernatural girl's search for her place in the world. Karin, the middle child of an ancient vampire family, is a kind of vampire-in-reverse. Instead of feeding off victims, as her dream-boat older brother does, she must bite humans and donate blood. Karin is torn between wanting to be a normal girl and her nature, which is something of an embarrassment among vampires. The art is standard manga and doesn't do much to advance the characters, but sets the spooky, noirish scene. Both plot and characters are well-defined, with Karin's little sister, the bat-controlling Anju, the most intriguing player. Karin's predicament echoes the embarrassment of becoming a woman; her blood-cravings are monthly, and unless she controls them, her desire for the new boy, Usiu, will drive her from school. Though Karin's nose bleeds are a bit gross, the story works for all ages without being trivial. This could end up being a strong series that appeals both to younger, horror-loving neo-goth chicks and to the standard shojo crowd. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

More angel of mercy than vampire, teenage Karin donates blood instead of draining it. With an appetite for suffering humans, she infuses her victims with vitality and purpose. But her family is made up of all "normal" vampires. What's to do? Then her maybe romance with transfer student Kenta introduces a whole new dimension of chaos. When he finds her with a gushing nosebleed (she has them monthly if she doesn't find a victim), she gets him to keep her secret. He's even willing to help her. Since he and his mother are in difficult circumstances, Karin dearly wants to bite them-and it would help them if she did-but the situation is complicated by Karin's playboy brother who has his eye on Kenta's mom. This 11-volume mash-up of romance, slapstick, and light horror comes off as inventive and charming. The art has a few cute touches-Karin's hair subtly resembles bat wings. All volumes contain Kagesaki's autobiographical extras about creating the manga, which is titled Karin in Japan. With some sexual themes, including prostitution and sexual harassment, but no nudity or explicitness, this strong series is recommended for ages 16+. Related anime and novel series are also available.-M.C. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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