Story/Art: Jun Mochizuki
Translation/Adaptation: Taylor Engel
What They Say
Rumors revolving around The Book of Vanitas, a clockwork grimoire of dubious reputation, draw Noé, a young vampire in search of a friend’s salvation, to Paris. What awaits him in the City of Flowers, however, is not long hours treading the pavement or rifling through dusty bookshops in search of the tome. Instead, his quarry comes to him…in the arms of a man claiming to be a vampire doctor! Thrust into a conflict that threatens the peace between humans and vampires, will Noé cast in his lot with the curious and slightly unbalanced Vanitas and his quest to save vampirekind?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While Paris is buzzing about vampires, Noé, a vampire, is on a mission to find the Book of Vanitas. He is aboard a giant airship, when he accidently runs into the ill feeling Amelia. She is also a vampire and attacks him as her true name is warped and she can no longer control herself.
Out of no where comes, Vanitas, a human and self proclaimed vampire doctor, who is the keeper of the very Book of Vanitas that Noé is looking for. Vanitas, well informed and trained, uses the Book of Vanitas to save Amelia. Noé is so surprised and shocked, that though he ends up falling out of the airship, he remains impressed.
Vanitas takes a liking to Noé. He reveals he inherited the book from the vampire of the blue moon. He invited Noé to accompany him on his journey, but Noé flat out refuses at first. Vanitas persistence lands them both in a jail cell for being disruptive. But, it’s another vampire that helps them out of jail, Count Parks Orlok.
Orlok wants Vanita’s book, as the lore implies the book is for destroying vampires, not to save them. Noé, seeing the saving power of the book has on vampires, makes a deal with Orlok. He promises to catch the problematic vampire in Paris and bring the vampire back to have Vanitas heal. He feels that this is the best way to prove that what Vanitas does is for the good of vampires.
Along their journey to track down the vicious vampire, Vanitas’ acquaintances are introduced. First, it is Dante, an information broker. They next run into others and then into the killing vampire in question. Vanitas stuns the vampire, but more a human vampire pair of Luca and Jeanne show up also looking for the Book of Vanitas.
A large scale battle ensues between the two human and vampire pairs. Finally, Vanitas has an idea how to take Jeanne out of the equation. They come out victorious, but Vanitas cures the killing vampire, but not in front of Orlok. Jeanne tries one more time to fight back, but Vanitas catches her off guard with a kiss. At the end of the book, Vanitas says it perfectly, “Looks like are about to get entertaining…”
I’ll be honest. I didn’t know too much about this series except that creator Jun Mochizuki also did Pandora Hearts, which I liked. There hasn’t been too much buzz in the social media circles I frequent, so all I knew was the reputation of a good mangaka, a summary and a gorgeous cover.
I’ll get straight to the point. This book blew me away. It exceeded my expectations. The art was stunning. Every page turned was incredibly detailed while maintaining the action scenes. The characters were well developed, interesting and full of intrigue. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Another perk, is that Yen Press is simulpub this one as it comes out in Japan. The series started in 2015, so there is plenty read if you prefer the digital version. However, if you wish to stay with print, you will not be disappointed. Not only is the first volume substantial in size, Yen Press also added several color inserts at the beginning of the book and the cover has a nice texture to it.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 20th, 2016