[J-Drama] Vampire Host

I enjoyed Kaori Yuki’s Bloodhound and looking for more of it even. Too bad it only lasted for 4 chapters. But hey, there’s a live action TV series based on the manga  renamed as Vampire Host (a.k.a Vampire Gigolo).

vampirehost 

Similar to its manga counterpart, the story opens with Rion, a high school girl in search for her missing best friend, Shiho. The only clue she has is the name card of a certain vampire host club and the last telephone call from her asking for help and that the vampire, a real vampire has her (Shiho). Her search leads her to Kranken Haus (it sounds German to me), a host club banking on women’s fascination with vampirism. There, she met Suou, one of the host in Kranken Haus (in the manga, he was the owner of the host club) and also a true vampire. Convinced that Suou definitely know something of Shiho’s whereabouts, she broke an expensive Don Perignon liqour on purpose (in order to be hired as a part-timer in the host club so that she could keep and eye on Suou whom she suspected had something to do with Shiho’s disappearance) and was subsequently hired by the host club boss as a part-timer in order to pay off what she had broke. One thing leads to another and in the end, it was found that the culprit is their (Rion and Shiho’s) high school teacher who has a certain fetish with blood (ewwwww).

In the live action series, the story doesn’t end there.

Rion continues to work at Kranken Haus and never fails to tease Suou by calling him “eternally-number-two” for failing to secure the top spot as the top host every time and whenever Suou pisses her off, she would simply give him a kick. As the story goes on, more mysteries popped up. There’s a werewolf, a so-called witch, a shinigami (God of death), an invisible man stalker in which they all amounted to nothing in the end. And along the way, it appears that the once indifferent (towards human, that is) Suou seemed genuinely care for Rion and even worries for her safety at some point.

Note: In the manga, it is found that Rion is actually the reincarnation of a woman whom Suou is in love with long ago.

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My thoughts:

The part where Suou transform into a super-vampire  is tad unnecessary. The transformation scene alone took about a minute or two and he will say the same old line over and over again (it annoyed Rion to no end. lol.). It looks superficial and kinda reminded me of Sailormoon. And oh, Suou’s personality also reminded me of another host, Ouran High School Host Club’s Tamaki. Lol. 

And also the sound effect sounded so wrong. If I hear correctly, the sound effect that was played during Suou’s transformation sounds like that of a roaring tiger/lion/whatever. It doesn’t sound vampire-like at all.

Overall, in my opinion, Vampire Host is just a cheesy offering and sort of entertaining if you don’t take it too seriously.

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Note:

There are 12 episodes in total (6 stories) and the series is licensed in English as Bloodhound by Bandai Entertainment.

Kuroshitsuji aka Black Butler

When I first laid my eyes on Kuroshitsuji manga a while back, I was like, “wow, what a cool butler and a dashing one at that!” Truth to be told, I wasn’t that into it but I figured that it’s worth a read.

Many have compared this series to Hayate no Gotoku, another somewhat similar series. I was thinking, that’s just so wrong. Kuroshitsuji and Hayate no Gotoku are nothing alike at all although I must say that both Sebastian and Hayate would make excellent butlers. And one more thing that I would like to add here, Kuroshitsuji is way darker than Hayate no Gotoku, just the way I like it.

So anyways, I mentioned that I wasn’t so into Kuroshitsuji, well, that is until I watched the anime version.

Unlike manga, anime is much more complex. The characters now have voices and in animation, you can see them interact with each other. In other words, an once still manga character has now come alive. Right, it seems to me that I’ve gone off topic…so anyway, what I’m trying to say is Kuroshitsuji anime is vibrant and the quality of the animation is almost impeccable.

Here’s the lowdown of what Kuroshitsuji is all about:

Ciel Phantomhive is the heir of Phantomhive family, what being the only son and all. I’m not quite sure what business does Phantomhives dabble in but correct me if I’m wrong, from the manga, it is said that the Phantomhives work for the Queen. Some even said that they are the queens dog. Then again, in the beginning of the series, you can see that Ciel and this guy from a toy factory that is supposedly owned by the Phantomhives were having a discussion about business, no less and that guy is trying to leech off Ciel thinking that he’s just an ordinary 12-year-old. Little did he know that Ciel is no ordinary kid and that he has a secret weapon, Sebastian the butler from hell.

Both of Ciel’s beloved parents are deceased. It seems that when Ciel was little, their house caught fire (from arson I think) and he was the sole survivor. My guess is, Ciel was almost dead and was caught between the living and the dead and that was when he made a deal with a demon. The demon will only take orders from Ciel and will follow Ciel until his death (Ciel’s) in exchange for Ciel’s soul. That’s just what I think…

Sebastian is indeed a butler from hell, literally speaking. From my understanding after reading the manga and watching the anime, Sebastian is a demon from hell who have made a contract with Ciel long ago. As mentioned earlier, Sebastian would make an excellent butler, but from the looks of it, his ability as a butler is way beyond excellent. With his seemingly demonic powers, he managed to get out of tight spots almost without a scratch (with exception of some holes on his tailcoat after saving Ciel from an Italian mafia in episode two).

As expected from those who are of noble descent, Ciel is engaged at such a young age to another girl of noble descent, Elizabeth. Nothing much is known about his fiance except that she loves to dress Ciel (and Sebastian) in cutesy outfits.

Ciel’s only relative (or so it would seem) is her aunt, Madam Red, his mother’s younger sister. It seems that she was in love with Lord Phantomhive (Ciel’s father) who in turn, was in love with her elder sister. She thought that she could never love man other than Phantomhive but Cupid strikes and she fell for one guy. Unfortunately for her, it doesn’t end with a happily ever after. He died in an accident which also cause the then pregnant Madam Red’s inability to produce any more offspring as her uterus was removed. This prompts a deep hatred within her and she did something unthinkable…think Jack the Ripper.
(Note: Her real name isn’t Madam Red. She’s only known as Madam Red because she likes the colour red).

Throughout the whole series so far, Ciel’s other servants provide the comic relief.

  • Maylene, the clumsy maid in spectacles who seem to have a crush on Sebastian
  • Bard the cook who doesn’t seem to be able to cook a decent meal
  • Finian the gardener who seems idiotic in Sebastian eyes
  • Tanaka, the Phantomhive household steward who does nothing but sipping tea

And have you notice that Ciel’s wearing an eyepatch on his right eye? One may wonder how he injured his eye but that’s not the purpose of the eyepatch at all. You see, there’s an emblem or a sign of some sort on his right eye. A similar emblem/sign can be seen on Sebastian’s left hand. This emblem/sign I suppose is what marks the contract that binds both Ciel and Sebastian together.

My thoughts on the anime:

At one glance, one may think that Kuroshitsuji looks shotacon-ish. Lol. It looks like it but it’s not. It’s purely a master-servant relationship although sometimes the author gave the impression (in the manga) that they are having more than just a master-servant relationship as a comic relief or some sort.

Based on the first two episodes that I have seen, I believe that this anime is as good as sounds. That said, I’m gonna watch this series till the very end. Trust me, it’s worth watching and it’s definitely nothing like Hayate no Gotoku aside from the butler thing.

Oh yeah, the ending credit that rolls at the end of the anime is rather cute…you can see chibi Sebastian in it. Not to mention that the ED song is catchy and memorable.

Happy watching!

Note 1: Kuroshitsuji OP and ED singles will be released on October 29, 2008 and October 22, 2008 respectively.

Note 2: Some of the information here are obtained from wikipedia.

Sahara Mizu/Yumeka Sumomo

Have you read mangas by Sahara Mizu or Yumeka Sumomo? Well, they are actually the same person. Yumeka Sumomo is actually a pen name used by Sahara Mizu.The first Sahara Mizu manga that I read was Nanairo Sekai (The World in Seven Colours) which consists of four different one-shots. Of all the four stories, my favourite is The Glasses Thief. It gives me a warm feeling at the end of it. Actually, all the four one-shots are as good as the first one (The Glasses Thief) it’s just that The Glasses Thief leaves the biggest impression on me.

After Nanairo Sekai, I moved on to Bus Hashiru (scanlated by Storm in Heaven), also a collection of one-shots. Like the name suggests, the theme of the manga lies around bus stops. More like it takes place at bus stops. And like Nanairo Sekai, the one-shots in Bus Hashiru leaves a lasting impression on me. Speaking of Bus Hashiru, I like the second story (Sakura Street Bus Stop) best. The story is mainly about a high school girl and a biology teacher. As you might have guessed, this girl is in love with the teacher and they meet frequently at Sakura Street Bus Stop (where else?) where they take the same bus back after school. She confessed her love to her biology teacher (in a rather sweet manner, no less) and promised that she will meet him there at Sakura Street Bus Stop four years later after she complete her university education and she will marry him…sweet isn’t? And true enough, they met again at the same bus stop four years later.

As Yumeka Sumomo, her works are mostly Shounen-ai-ish and Yaoi-ish but nonetheless, they are as good as her works as Sahara Mizu.

After reading most of her works, I became a fan of Sahara Mizu. Great artwork coupled with meaningful storylines. What more can you ask for? If you ask me, I would say that her works are almost perfect. I also have to say that her works are rather refreshing after reading many cliched shoujo mangas. So, do give it a try!

X/1999 by CLAMP


X/1999 or simply known as X is one of CLAMP’s older works. Like most of CLAMP’s infamous works, the artwork in X is well-done and of course, there are bishounens to ogle at. Rumour has it (or is it a fact?) that the women that makes up CLAMP are fangirls themselves and they are rather fond of shounen-ai theme stuffs. Take Tsubasa Chronicle for instance. Somehow I can see that Kurogane and Fay together. In xxxHolic, there’s Watanuki and Doumeki. As for X, girls just love to see Kamui x Fuma, Subaru x Shiseiro, or perhaps Kamui x Subaru pairs.

This is how the story goes (from my understanding): Dragon of Heaven and its seven seals aim is to save the earth and Kamui is the key to do so as he has the power to decide. Evil comes in the form of Dragon of Earth and its seven angels. That said, their goal is of course to destroy earth and they intend to get Kamui to their side to make it happen. Ultimately, Kamui chooses the Dragon of Heaven and as his twin star, Fuma is now one of Dragon of Earth. Well, if he choose to join the Dragon of Earth, Fuma will automatically joins the Dragon of Heaven and instead of Fuma killing his own sister, Kotori, Kamui will do the deed. As it is, Fuma is no longer Fuma who regards Kamui as his best friend. He is now the second Kamui who will wield the sword of destiny and they will fight to the death.

The manga is known to be on hiatus as stated in Baka-Updates or perhaps it will never be completed at all. Apparently, the publisher decided not to publish any more of X. The reason given is that the story displays too much violence with a lot of bloodspills. Darn it. Now we don’t have the ending at all. Come to think of it, that’s probably why the anime series and the movie each have different endings. In the anime series, Kamui dies and in the movie version, Fuma dies or so I heard.

In any case, I do enjoy watching both the anime series and the movie. Don’t think that I’d read the manga any time soon though since it’s not completed…I hate reading mangas that stops midway without any explaination.

My favourite X characters are of course, Kamui, Fuma and Subaru. Oddly enough, Kamui and Subaru appeared in Tsubasa Chronicle as twin vampires. Ah, it is a common knowledge that CLAMP frequently recycle the characters from their mangas. Still, it’s enjoyable, don’t you think so?

Red: Kamui and the Dragon of Heaven
Blue: Fuma and the Dragon of Earth