Friday, November 26, 2010




It's been quite a while since I reviewed a Manga series. I really enjoyed the movie The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan. It didn't seem to be a finacial success but I enjoyed the concept of the series. I added both the regular books and the Manga series to my Paperback swap wish list. i was really excited to get these two books. Here we go!

Cirque Du Freak is the story of Darran Shan. Darren is an average kid. he loves soccer, talking about horror movies with his best friend Steve and has a unique love of all things Spider related. One night while riding home a mysterious man drops a flyer near Darran. it is advertising a very special circus The Cirque Du Freak. Through a series of events Darran and Steve end up attending the show. Darran is fascinated by the spider act Madame Octa. When Steve tells Darran to go home without him Darran gets suspicious and goes after him. He finds Steve confronting the mysterious Mr. Crepsley. Steve accuses Crepsley of being a Vampire and begs to be made into one himself. 

Crepsley takes a sample of Steve's blood and refuses him, telling Steve his blood is evil. Darran is shocked by what he overhears. He decides to use it to his advantage though by stealing Madame Octa and leaving a threatening note to Crepsely warning him not to come after him.

Darran becomes secretive over the next weeks rushing home to train his new spider. Steve is also acting strange realising that Darran overheard his fight with Crepsley. the two make up and Darran shows Steve his new pet. A momentarily lapse of concentration frees the spider from Darran's control and it bites Steve.

Steve then returns to Crepsley and begs for him to heal Steve. he does but the cost is high Darran must now be an assistant vampire.

The first half of this issue really works n laying the foundation for the series to come. There is some creepy bits at the end as we see Darran transformed and Steve's surprising reaction to it. Overall though this first volume sets the foundation for future volumes to come. 
Volume two has a lot more action. We see Darran and Crepsley on the road together.
Darrran is missing his family horribly and still reeling from Steve's angry betrayal. Darran however is refusing to drink human blood and he becomes weaker and weaker.
Crepaley decides to return with Darran to the Cique Du Freak. There Crepsley resumes his show with madame Octa and Darran takes on menial jobs at the show. Darran also makes friends with Evra Von and a local young boy called Ben.There is still turmoil in Darran's heart and he begins to contemplate killing Crepsley!
The inner torments and outer conflicts within the Circus itself make this issue very enjoyable. It all leads up to a terrifying action sequence in which Darran and his friends are chased by a blood thirsty creature.
This volume was really a stand out for me. It moved a lot quicker and had some really scary moments. Takahiro Arai is an amazing artist. Though the art is done in traditional manga style and reads in the traditional Japanese style (right to left) , Takahiro balances the USA locations while keeping a unique manga style. This series is a smash hit in Japan and Yen press has had much success bringing it to the U.S. I had been a little burned out by the vampire genre but this manga has really intrigued me . I look forward to reading future volumes

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