Cornelia Tzana ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Comic Books Editor
Story & Art: Samamiya Akaza
Published by: VIZ Media
Categories: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, School Life, Shoujo, Shounen Ai, Supernatural
Anime Adaptation: No
Vampire-themed manga never really go out of style. Whether it is the classic, darker Hellsing or a more silly series with mixed reviews like Rosario + Vampire, stories revolved around these mythical creatures keep resurfacing. And yet, Bloody Mary manages to hold its own among the other publications of the genre.
Bloody Mary follows the story of Mary, an immortal vampire with a death wish, who finally locates Maria, an exorcist who supposedly has the power to exterminate Mary’s kind due to the mystical “Blood of Maria” that runs in his family. Even though Maria is unaware of his ability, it makes him the constant target of vampires around the city. Mary takes the opportunity to present him with a proposal: if Maria pledges to find a way to kill him, he will protect him from the vampires until the threat is gone.
Although Bloody Mary has some Shounen Ai undertones regarding the current relationship between the two main characters, it is not the main focus of the story so far. The manga is instead more centered around the interconnected pasts of Mary, and Maria, and their missing memories, as well as the secrets of the parochial school Maria attends. Both the students and faculty of the school claim they have never heard of the concept of exorcism, but their fake ignorance seems to conceal a much darker secret, one that Mary and Maria will begin to discover.
The pacing of the story is brisk. Important plot points are quickly revealed. But instead of giving too much away, they provide just enough information to keep the readers wanting more. The parochial academy seems to be deeply involved in the story of the two main heroes. As the plot develops, the net of characters who are somehow related to Mary, and Maria, and their backgrounds, begins to expand, growing more complex without becoming too obscure.
Samamiya Akaza’s art deserves to be noted for its very pleasing look, and how well it fits the atmosphere of the story. Even though it does not stand miles apart from the art of similar manga, Samamiya’s attention to detail in every single panel distinguishes her work. The skilled shading also successfully conveys the mysterious and dark mood of certain scenes.
If there is one thing that may not sit very well with the readers, it is the names of the two main characters. There is a chance — although very small — that they make more sense in Japanese, but at least in the English translation, they are too similar and somehow feel slightly out of place when used.
All in all, Bloody Mary is a manga series worth following. It will be interesting to see where the search for their pasts will take Mary, and Maria, and what role Maria’s school will play in that journey. Akaza Samamiya’s beautiful art will also carry the readers through from chapter to chapter, leaving them wanting more, much like the story itself.