Call of the Night Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 14, 2021
Price: $9.99
Creator: Kotoyama
Format: 192 pgs., Black & White, 5" x 7.25", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9747-2051-4
Age Rating: Older Teen
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This is one of those stories that may work better in Japan than for an American audience, because of odd concepts within the story.  If the characters were a bit older, they might not be a problem, but the main character in the story, Ko, is only 14.  His school friend is roughly the same age, but the other main character is an unknown amount older.

In the story, Ko has basically dropped out of junior high school, and views himself as having no life and no friends.  This, even though he’s shown interacting with his peers, and in flashbacks during the story, we can see him having had friends, but he shies away from them in a way that suggests serious issues.  When you combine that with the fact that no one seems to notice that he’s stopped going to school, things seem way off… and those things have almost nothing to do with the story.

His insomnia leads him to wander around outdoors at night, which brings him into contact with a young woman, looking not too much older, and she seems cute, but odd.  They go back to her place to sleep, which somehow doesn’t seem odd to Ko.  That’s when he finds out that she’s a vampire, and she finds out that he’s got unusually tasty blood.

This starts a very strange relationship, and the real stories.  One is about his sudden desire to get turned into a vampire himself, and the other story is about the friend he actually does have, and has had for years.  So, when do we get to see something addressing his actual problems?  That may depend on what happens in the next volume, but the "love triangle" being set up is strange, and the pseudo-sexual aspect of the vampirism is just odd, with a 14-year-old willing victim.

With a main character who seems both depressed and depressing, some readers won’t like this.  With the odd family neglect going on, that may turn others off.  On the other hand, it’s a vampire story that’s different from most, and the artwork is good.  The vampire girl and the human girl are both more interesting than the main character, which creates an odd balance to the story.  So, as a strange urban fantasy manga, it may find a readership, but unless following volumes are stronger, it may not be a hit.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.