So turns out MangaDex has a random button and I pressed it. I thought this would be a fine way to kill some time this morning. Its been a minute since the last time I read new manga anyways. So what did I find?
少女たちの痕にくちづけを (A Kiss for the Girls’ Scars) was what fate had in for me after a single click. A Kiss for the Girls’ Scars is a seinen vampire themed manga set in school life with romantic themes between two girls. Not something I typically read but here’s to new experiences. I had to look up the word “seinen” to find out it’s a manga subset “targeted at a 18–30 year old male audience, but the audience can be older with some comics aimed at businessmen well into their 40s.” TIL.
Anyways, I wanted to read something that wasn’t illegal and was already available online for free. This is just an unofficial English release, which might be a gray area but I’m fine with that (Here’s a link to the original Japanese).
春花あや // Haruhana Aya, released this vampire themed manga on December 20th, 2021. By the 6th day of the new year, an unofficial English translation was available by Kirin-kun of the Rehashed Team. As if translators don’t take a break, all 44 pages in English spread all over the translation scene but hasn’t really spread through the manga scene.
So let’s take a look at the first chapter if this is worth following the on-going series or not. In this article we’ll review the manga for its story, artwork and if I’d return to it in the future. If you want to follow along, read it here.
The first chapter is a quick read of only 44 pages that’ll take about 20 minutes to read. The story starts off with the mystery that two girls in the school are vampires. “There’s a secret to this school…” and then on the next page, “Rumor has it that these girls are vampires.” Which sounds like none of the other girls in the school are vampires. Which after reading the first chapter, it seems the entire school is full of vampire girls but the outside world contain humans. We can speculate this because at the age of fourteen every girl gets an Onee-sama. An Onee-sama is special bond between two girls, a strong sisterhood-like bond and it is up to the Onee-sama to teach the younger companion the way of life…
The main character, Emielle Florence, talks this ritual over with her current dorm mate, as today is Emielle’s 14th birthday. It’s something she is so anxious for, she can barely sleep as she worries about if she’ll get teamed up with the perfect Onee-sama; someone gentle, caring and handsome. This is where the lesbian-vibes, through daydream imagery, start kicking in but to be honest, if I hadn’t read the tags I wouldn’t have thought that was the theme here. The word “handsome” is a little weird to describe for an older sister, but that might just be translation.
If it wasn’t obvious, Emielle isn’t paired up with miss perfect but instead a dead-to-this-world black haired school mate named Eve Winter. “The rumor says that she bullies everyone…” who dares to become her sister, Emielle says through a chibi shocked face. The assigning lady quickly skirts away forcing Emielle to face her new potential Onee-sama.
As one would expect, Eve isn’t interested in the whole sister thing but immediately Emielle (in thought dialogue) finds her beautiful and worth forcing her way into the room she now calls home. So the teacher and newly 14 year old must live together, separate beds of course but I thought that was funny. Maybe Eve just doesn’t want a roommate.
A few days pass and the two are butting heads but are tolerating each other well enough. Emielle accidentally get’s too nosy and touches something of Eve’s that gets her upset. Next thing leads to another Emielle needs to face the fact she has no other alternative but to work things out with Eve. Needless to say, she’s doing a lot more work than Eve but that’s about to change.
Here’s were the twist comes in and the first storyline mention of vampires occur. Emielle is looking pale from the lack of blood intake and Eve is going to take her out for her first lesson, How to draw blood from humans.
This is also where I get confused on the initial plot line. So everyone in the school are vampires? Eve explains at 14 years old they start to require human blood in order to stay well-nourished. Fine, I’ll bite.
So the two go out for a late night snack and run into trouble. An unseen vampire hunter snipes Eve and the two vampire girls barely make it back to school safely. I won’t give away the sweet twist in the middle but Eve obviously has some personal issues opening up to the idea that Emielle is the perfect sister for her.
We are left with Eve in tears and patiently waiting for a chapter 2.
I read the whole chapter again just to see if I confused the plot about if they really are the only two vampires in the school. On the full two page split image the words, “exchanged in a secret garden…” are shown after the rumor dialogue. but yes before that secret garden scene, they again talk about the rule of turning 14 for vampires. So maybe the secret isn’t about them being vampires but that they fed of each other and thus makes their bond more than just sisters but an emotional one. I’m reading too much into this I know…
Immediately you’ll notice that 春花あや is a seasoned mangakun. The art style is fleshed out and the color pages are gorgeous. I wish the entirety of the first chapter could be in full color. I really found the grainy aesthetic and dark but catching colors really pleasing to the eye. The second page has a full “Chapter 1” two page spread that really impressed me with the use of color in the school girls clothes. The themes are there in the colored pages but how does the manga hold up going to the traditional manga black and white?
Nearly every page and panel has strong continuity in character design and, when available, set design. If I had to nitpick, it wouldn’t be on the characters or any part of the drawings, it would be a lot of blank white walls in some of the panels. In one scene we’d see a dark forest deep in the night and then the next panel in pure white. It kind of took me out what could have been a beautiful scenic addition to the plot.
So what about the characters? Welp there’s only four.
- Emielle doesn’t stand out to me too much as a main character but then again, we just know her for her child-like innocence so there’s not much for me to relate to. I did notice the little fang Emiele sports in ever frame, I’ll give you credit on that, it’s cute.
- Eve has a Komi like facial structure and employees a similar hard to read expression which I like. I kind of wish she was the main character instead but since it’s about both of them, I suspect they’ll get equal screen time.
- Yucca, Emielle’s best friend, has a more down to earth personality but we only see her getting dressed and eating at lunch.
- I don’t know who the fourth woman is other than someone who looks younger than any of the other characters and she breaks the news to Emielle on her new sister situation. No name, and no return. She also has the least amount of detail
All in all, the art style is unique enough and the consistency is there. I checked to see if the clothes would change or ribbons would go missing throughout the dialog but it seems everything was double checked before release. The clothing of this period looks more like maids dresses than young school girls but I’m not too familiar with my vampire lore. It’s a decent aesthetic, so I’m not complaining.
I’d like to see more backgrounds or scenes to set the environment but, for a first chapter, it’s done more than I’ve ever accomplished.
Would I Continue to Read?
In short, sure why not, I’ll see where the plot goes. I’m following the artist now on Twitter and if a new chapter were to appear on my feed, I’ll search out a translation copy if I had the time. I like Eve’s character enough, and I’m kind of intrigued with what she is hiding in the photo.
I also wonder if 春花あや only knows how to draw women as we never see the vampire hunter but that actually might be good thing. If there’s any reason to continue, it is to see if the vampire hunters and these school girls have an over arching conflicting plot. The few scenes we did get of the outside world looked possibly sixteen to eighteenth century European, which I like. I also imagine that the hit Eve took had to be a bolt or arrow, so it’s probably primitive technology themed. I’m kind of getting a Fire Emblem vibe.
I really want to see cute manga girl vampires fighting legions of vampire hunters. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the characters ends up falling in love with a vampire hunter and the two factions make peace with their differences. Wait does something like that already exist? Anyways, let me know what you think on Discord or Twitter. If you end up reading it or continue to, then I am glad to have introduced you to a new manga.
Until the next one, Cheers — KITE0080