Release Date: April 13, 2021
Publisher: VIZ Media
Let’s face it; vampires are inherently cool, so load me up with vampire-themed everything. Call of the Night Vol. 1 from author Kotoyama introduces a world of vampires to a boy who doesn’t quite fit in. A unique friendship develops through a rocky introduction that creates a lonely and dark world I couldn’t help but want to be a part of.
Call of the Night Vol. 1 introduces Ko, a 14-year-old boy who tends to let go of trivial things likes girls and friendships. After an event at school, he drops out and secludes himself to his room, where he suffers from extreme insomnia. At night, he walks the empty streets and attempts to remember a time that he enjoyed life. This is where he meets Nanakusa, a girl walking the same streets who invites him to her room.
This is where I have a slight issue with this manga as I’m not entirely sold on Ko’s disconnect with the world and him casually following a stranger to her room to sleep is just unbelievable. You forget about this in the later chapters, though, but I feel like I said “No way” to myself several times during these scenes.
Well, it turns out Nanakusa is a vampire, and Ko wants in on it. However, it’s going to take more than just feeding on Ko’s blood to turn him into a vampire. The rule in this world is that the human must be in love with the vampire in order to turn. The problem is Ko doesn’t understand love, and both characters struggle with their identity and how to express their feelings.
I really enjoyed this slow back-and-forth banter between these characters. Like those with insomnia, the passage of time isn’t always revealed, and your living in this world that exists only at night as Ko makes his rounds through the streets. Following the flimsy foundation, something genuinely interesting about these characters comes alive through their interactions, and you can’t help be feel oddly connected to their situation.
The art from Kotoyama is on another level entirely. Each panel has so much style found in the slim character designs and how they present themselves. It’s attractive and inviting but still dark and almost scary. You’re wrapped up in each moment as the characters make their way to several different set pieces and learn more about themselves.
The author decided to introduce another character late into the volume, which was perhaps the best thing that could have happened for it as you begged to see any type of reaction from Nanakusa. Her relaxed and calm attitude is only broken up through humorous scenes of her drooling over the word “love.” The relationship between these two characters was familiar. Two people who are drawn together for selfish reasons and not willing to admit that there might be something more.
Call of the Night Vol. 1 has a rocky introduction with an unbelievable setup. However, getting past that will take into the world of these two awkwardly perfect characters. We get to see their symbiotic relationship grow, but I ultimately want to stay for the bumps they encounter along the way.
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