A nice epilog to a beloved series
For most beloved manga series, once they are finished they are finished. There is very little opportunity to go back and revisit the characters and see what they have been up to lately. And that seemed to be the case when “Chibi Vampire” (Japanese title “Karin”) ended with Volume 14.
But artist Yuna Kagesaki apparently had a few more stories hiding out in her pen, and so “Chibi Vampire: Airmail” serves as a nice epilog to a fun series. There are a few other stand-alone short stories by Yuna here as well. The first two stories are of bizarre love, and I believe are unconnected to the “Chibi Vampire” story.
“Reverse Babysitting,” has no supernatural elements but is the story of ten-year old Marimo Sakamari and nineteen-year old Takuma Toi. They are next-door neighbors and Takuma has always treated Marimo like an annoying brat, until one day Takuma inexplicably reverts back to a baby and needs constant care from his “mommy” Marimo (including diaper changes!). This story was an odd one, and seeing a ten-year old girl change a nineteen-year old guys diapers was a bit too much for me!
The next story, “Searching for my Beloved,” was amazing however. This was a genuinely chilling horror story, with too many twists and turns for me to describe the plot without ruining it. But it was great, and I could read a whole book of stories like this from Yuna Kagesaki. Honestly, with all of her cuteness I didn’t know Yuna had a story like this in her.
“The Vampire of the West” is the real “Chibi Vampire” side-story, originally published in 2008 in “Monthly Dragon Ace” (Japanese title: “Karin Gaiden: Nishi no Mori no Vanpaiya”). This is a sweet story about the love of a Catholic nun and a vampire. Friedrich Marker (Karin’s cousin) is charged with killing Sister Rosary, the last of a line of vampire-hunting clergy. Sister Rosary is not even aware of her legacy and doesn’t believe in vampires, but she is still seen as a threat. Instead of killing her, however, Friedrich gets to know her and discovers they share a love of Japanese comics. Over time the two grow closer, until Friedrich must decide who he will stand with; Sister Rosary or the vampires who want to kill her.
“Maki chan: The Helping Angel of Love” is a bonus “Chibi Vampire” story that I believe was created just for this volume. It is a very sweet little tale that gives a happy ending to one of the popular side-characters of “Chibi Vampires,” and will make all fans of the series say “Ahhhh…..”
Finally (and my favorite) Yuna tells of her Trip to Seattle’s 2008 Sakura Con in a little five-page short. I was at that convention, and it was really funny to see a Japanese artist’s impression of an American manga convention!
All in all, I really enjoyed this extra volume of “Chibi Vampire” and I thought the whole concept was a nice idea that I would like to see more of. Doing a final visit with beloved characters is always a lot of fun (including a brief glimpse of Karin and Usui’s daughter!) and this was handled really well.
About one-forth of “Chibi Vampire: Airmail” is taken up by a preview of the Tokyo Pop superhero series Ratman I appreciated this, as “Ratman” is a series I have been thinking of checking out, and it was nice to get the sample chapter.