Blood Alone by Masayuki Takano, Volumes 1 & 2 (amazon.com)
I do love a good vampire manga. Blood Alone is the story of Kuroe, a writer/detective/bodyguard, and his girl vampire companion Misaki. The story starts by providing a glimpse into an already established relationship. I’m intrigued by what little I know about the characters, and I enjoy getting glimpses of their past doled out occasionally as the story progresses. I don’t know how Kuroe and Misaki met. I have no idea how she became a vampire and I’m not really sure what powers she might have. I have the sense that Kuroe has a bit of a tragic past. He also has a few non-human abilities.
We learn about the characters through everyday moments, like Misaki making breakfast or playing the piano. Kuroe makes tea and negotiates the duties for his various jobs.
Kuroe goes out on cases, while Misaki gets into trouble when she tries to help him. Their relationship is a little perplexing, as Misaki looks like a 12 year old girl, but being a vampire, she could be much older. In some ways Blood Alone is structured like a police procedural. Misaki and Kuroe track down a lost cat and mange to capture a dangerous criminal at the same time. The first volume shows the unlikely pair solving a few cases, while the second volume explores Kuroe’s life as a writer and introduces an unpleasant group of vampire assassins.
The packaging for Blood Alone sets it apart from other manga – the books have a full color dust jacket, and a black and white version of the art is printed on the cover of the manga. I caught a typo in the first volume, but other than that the production seems excellent. This was the first manga by Infinity Studios that I’ve read. Although my buying habits tend to skew towards larger publishers, I’m happy that the market is healthy enough to support smaller publishers who will put out niche titles like Blood Alone.