Rosario+Vampire Volume One is a manga by Akihisa Ikeda, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2008. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; from what I’ve read in this volume, I would have to agree with this rating.
Tsukune Aono is a high school freshman who is unable to get into any private schools due to his poor grades. One day, his father happens to stumble upon a flyer for a school called Yokai Academy; according to the flyer, all someone needs to do to get in is to make it past an application review. Tsukune manages to be accepted to the school, and the manga starts with him coming to the school for the first time.
When Tsukune arrives, he bumps into a girl named Moko Akashiya, who is also a first-year student at Yokai Academy. She claims to be a vampire, but Tsukune doesn’t believe her. However, as he sits through his first day of class and the rules of the school are explained, Tsukune learns that Yokai Academy is actually a school for monsters to learn how to coexist with humans. Only monsters attend the school, but they attend in human form. The monsters are not supposed to reveal what they really are, and any humans found on the school grounds are supposed to be killed.
Tsukune has a confrontation with Moko outside of the school, and he ends up revealing that he’s a human. As Tsukune tries to catch a bus in order to try to get into a human school, an incident with Moko occurs; this incident forces Moko to take on her true form in order to protect Tsukune. Tsukune decides to stay at Yokai Academy, and the story focuses on what happens to him during his time at the school.
The setup for this series is a little on the unbelievable side. First off, shouldn’t Tsukune’s parents have been suspicious of a school called Yokai Academy, since “yokai” is the Japanese word for “demon”? Also, how did Tsukune make it through Yokai Academy’s application process? Shouldn’t something have tipped off the academy to the fact that Tsukune is a human?
The chapters in this volume are also rather formulaic. Basically, a character at the school causes problems for Tsukune and Moko and ends up showing their true form, Moko’s rosario (which keeps her true form in check) is removed and she takes on her true vampire form, and Moko defeats the monster that was causing the problems. Of course, this raises the question: why aren’t these students who are showing their true form not getting in trouble with the school, since one of the school rules is that the students aren’t supposed to be revealing their true form?
My first exposure to Rosario+Vampire actually came from watching the first episode of the anime series, and I have to give the manga credit for not relying as much on fanservice as the anime series did. While the anime focused the fanservice on Moko, the manga uses other female characters for the little bit of fanservice that appears. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the manga any better than the anime, so I’m not really in a rush to read future volumes of this series.