Here it is, the long awaited infamous Rosario + Vampire manga review that I have been asked time and again to do. First off, I want to give credit to those who said the manga was better than the anime; truthfully, they didn’t even feel like the same story of even the same universe, these two are worlds apart, BUT I still have the feeling the people who recommended this to me slightly overvalued its worth.
I have to commend the manga for something: the story was a lot better than the anime, primarily because it was actually explained in much more details and some serious elements were a welcomed addition to the unreliable background I received from the anime. The story in itself isn’t great, the plot and the story design isn’t much different of your average monster of the week anime. It follows a very episodic and ‘’arc’’ type of story, with different monsters appearing at different times or different challenges for their ‘’everyday life’’. The main problem is that these episodic chapters are often less serious or more fan service based, making them extremely hard to go through and quite painful to read. However, the arc part of the story is often surprisingly well done and intriguing, and the manga was quite good at generating believable drama during these moments and even some actual story and plot progression; your appreciation of the manga will probably depend on how much you like the genericly developped setting and how well you can stand the filler episodes. All in all, the story and setting was a lot more explained in the manga, so I can understand why people liked this version a lot more, although there are still some flaws in the storytelling method and the general story, it wasn’t a bad manga to read for the actual story; where it really falls off would be in the romantic section of the story. The romance in Rosario + Vampire is absolutely butchered, it was just as bad as the anime version since there is nothing remotely happening between the two, not only is the manga deliberately stalling the romance, but two main character’s behaviors accompanied with the whole freaking cast’s decision to stop them from spending a single intimate moment just makes this hard to bear in general. Overall, the romance being a rather big part of the anime and that part being completely destroyed makes for a disappointing conclusion. This wasn’t bad per say, but I had a lot of trouble with a lot of parts of it, it was far from being a good manga but a lot might love it. Just a heads up though, the ending felt downright disappointing and seems like a simple ‘’see you in season 2’’ ending, thus making that this first installment generally lacks closure.
The characters in Rosario + Vampire manga felt a lot like the ones in the anime, Moka still felt as overpowered and as unstoppable as ever, which raises the question of why the hell she needs that pipsqueak human in her life anyways (since she basically becomes able to take the rosary off herself with virtually no consequences), the side cast can all be summarized by one factor: they want to sleep with Tsukune at almost all cost. None of them actually gets significant development (apart from Tsukune who gets more tolerable as a main character). And none of them actually seem very interesting, so in general, the characters were pretty bad. That being said, I have seen worse and some moments were made actually enjoyable due to the ‘’light’’ personality of the characters.
The artwork was nice looking but nothing worth talking about extensively.
All in all, Rosario vampire manga was leagues ahead of the horrible spawn it created, it had a lot more story elements than the anime and some of that story actually felt pretty good. There are some flaws to this, of course, but in general, this can be enjoyed. What really kills the anime is the fact it seems to go around in circles and that it generally seems to go nowhere.