Kyuuketsuki ni Natta Kimi wa Eien no Ai wo Hajimeru
Series review by 恋愛_ing
Genre: Romance, drama
Before I start with this, allow me to state that I’ll add some references here and there to spice up the book review, because honestly, I won’t be able to get a lot of my thoughts out of the way.
You know, when this series was first hinted at in the Hikaru afterword, I was getting a little worried. I really do not like stories about vampires…after one classmate showed me a book and got me to read through it 9 years ago. It was Twilight. (Cut it with the sympathies).
I have browsed through some of the author works (at a second-hand bookshop in Japan), and before Book Girl, she typically indulged in romcom stuff. Still, given that I (and most probably many) consider Book Girl to be her Magnum Opus, I do suppose that she does write better when given a fixed theme (an opinion reinforced by the contrast between her next two series, Hikaru and Dress), and a theme of vampires would allow more focus.
Now, onto the three main categories: Synopsis, Characters and Personal Opinions
From the beginning, you know the end.
Or at least, that is how the Foreword reveals.
As I would note, a story starting with the protagonist dying and forced to make a contract certainly is a typical cliche, but there are millions of permutations as to how the story would continue, and I do know of at least one story that starts with such a cliche that ended up being a whirlwind of emotions. Meanwhile, some fans will be hoping they wouldn’t have to make a magical contract and end up as witches, but this is a story involving vampires, so we’ll take the Arararararagi-san route. (and you know how that’ll end up)
Our protagonist here has to give up on Basketball because he became a vampire with superhuman abilities. It just had to be that he got drafted to be the lead actor in a drama, acting in the play titled Dracula. Problem is, he already has issues with being a vampire, and most of the story is revolving around the conflict between his meek personality and his…lust derived from his vampire instincts (and this really turned him into quite a gigolo). Well, after that first performance as Count Dracula, I guess our lead like Aya~ so much that he sticks with the drama club for more volumes.
It is also to be noted that Ichiko-sensei, the director, likes to pick risque and gloriously gory stories. I find it amusing how it can be used to allow deep passionate kisses that last for at least 1 minute. Thanks to the climax in the 1st volume, now every play must end with a passionate kiss…
On a side note, each volume is themed around a specific story (not novel), and since it’s a drama, it’s certainly easier to integrated such story. Following volumes are as such:
2. My Fair Lady
4. Cupid and Psyche
5. Romeo and Juliet
Please allow me to state that this is a harem in the way that one girl is already designated as the heroine and everyone else is…not in the same ballpark Well, to put it simply, our protagonist, Utaya Harada, is Inoue Konoha as a vampire. While Konoha’s trauma was that of his past experience as a bestselling author, Utaya’s issues are about his esteem as a vampire, how he is so different from everyone else, because well, he has supernatural speed and strenght, and he has eternal life. Ararararararagi-san, is that you? I do find it amusing that the primary defining trait of his that he turns into a gigolo whenever his bloodlust is aroused. There are other girls teased with him, (we already have a challenger in the first volume…) but ultimately, we know who the winner is.
And then we have Ayane Harushina (notice me senpai~!). It’s her actual debut performance, and she’s playing as Mina in Dracula. She too has lots of self-esteem issues, from her big breasts (we finally have a big-breasted lead girl (according to the author, since Maria from Angel’s Baseball, and that was 12 years ago), to her height (she’s 1.72m tall) and to her confidence in her acting ability. This story also showcases her development as an actress, and how she overcomes her own esteem issues. I do like her for actually being the most human out of the cast.
Honestly, I do like how the character development of the two protagonists are much more obvious this time, rather than having one lead the other in the story. However, despite the title of the story being about eternal love, not all stories have to end up a happy ending. It will be interesting to see how the budding romance continues…and how the love ends up in tragedy when one continues to live an eternal life while the other dies.
‘Till death do us part’ certainly does not apply in this story at all.
However, I do like how the story does not use any wise speeches or supernatural powers to resolve the story. Each volume is basically ‘Okay, get some of your issues (homework) done’, ‘proceed with play’, ‘end climax’.
Also, without going into further details, the stories used for each play clearly were meant to emphasize the state of mind Utaya is in, or rather, whatever issues he has.
Okay, in honor of the author, I’m going to do this Tohko Amano style, which is to basically describe the taste of the story as close to what I feel (literal flavors).
Simply put, it’s bittersweet. Slow burning bittersweet. It’s like putting a piece of ginseng under the tongue, very bitter, and then the sweet taste oozes out, soothing your throat (it’s a trick I learned for speeches). Then you are reminded that yes, this is a vampire story. When the lifespans differ, you get that bitter, lingering taste again. By the end of each volume, I was longer eating baumkuchen; I was eating bitter almonds.
Love may typically be presented as golden apples in media, but sometimes, it glosses over the ugly that comes with it. This story however feels like an apple glazed with bittersweet ganache on a cold rainy night in Stoke, a fleeting solace, but ultimately, a lingering emptiness at the end of it all.
It is a recommended read for those who wish for an OTL resolution, or stories with more emotional attachment to them than the norm, but ultimately, I am looking forward to see how the story will end, and not how it will progress, which may not be a good thing because it feels like I am just skimming through for spoilers. (And I’m already doing my best not to spoil the story, except for the fact that vampires sucking human blood in this story DOES NOT equate to the person becoming a vampire)
Before ending off, here is a picture of the vampire who gave the powers, Shizuku.