Manga Review: Call of the Night Volume One

Call of the Night Volume One tells the story of a 14-year-old junior high student and his encounter with a female vampire.

Call of the Night Volume One
Written by: Kotoyama
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 13, 2021

At the beginning of the manga, the reader is introduced to a 14-year-old boy named Ko Yamori, who has developed insomnia. He has also lost interest in school, especially after an incident where he turned down a girl’s love confession because he’s not into dating. So now he’s skipping school and wandering the town at night. While he’s out, he encounters a mysterious girl, and she claims she can help him with his insomnia.

The girl takes him to her place, which is a run-down building in a skeevy area of town. She tries to help him fall asleep, and he decides to fake sleeping. The girl reveals herself to be a vampire when she drinks some of Ko’s blood. Since he wasn’t actually asleep, he knows what happened, and she’s surprised when he reacts.

A lot of the volume focuses on Ko and Nazuna Nanakusa as they start spending time together and learning about each other. In the world this story takes place in, a human will only turn into a vampire if they fall in love with the vampire that’s drinking their blood. Ko, who makes it clear that he doesn’t understand anything about love, decides to make it his goal to fall in love with Nazuna and become a vampire. While a lot of this may sound like it’s on the dark side, there’s also a lot of comedy interjected into the story, especially in the scenes where Ko and Nazuna interact with each other.

There is a theme that runs through this volume, which is the question of what exactly a friend is. This is especially evident during the section where Ko buys a set of walkie-talkie watches so he and Nazuna can more easily communicate. He relays a story of buying another set when he was around nine years old and leaving one somewhere in the hopes that someone would find it and contact him with it. He never had the courage to actually try to make a call himself to determine if anyone ever picked it up.

This story leads to the introduction of another character: a girl named Akira Asai. Ko grew up with her, and she was one of the few playmates he had when he was growing up. It turns out she has the other walkie-talkie watch. It’s revealed that Ko had left the watch on top of Akira’s mailbox, and that he had forgotten that particular detail. It turns out the new set of watches Ko bought have the same frequency as the old one, so Akira starts picking up signals from Ko and Nazuna’s communications.

Akira is kind of the opposite of Ko. She goes to school and is actually an early bird. She gets up early and wanders around for a while before going to school. Akira and Ko run into each other, and they make plans to meet up. Nazuna discovers the two of them are meeting and it appears she becomes jealous. It seems to me that the author is working at setting up a triangle between Ko, Nazuna, and Akira. While Nazuna hates hearing the word “love,” I think she is kind of harboring feelings for Ko. I’m not sure that Akira necessarily has romantic feelings for Ko at this point, but it’s already clear that Nazuna sees her as competition, even if it’s not in a romantic sense. She definitely views Akira as competition for Ko’s time. My guess is that this will likely be a recurring conflict throughout the series.

I’m not entirely sure how to describe the art style. It’s definitely more on the “stylized” side, but I’m not sure I would go quite so far as to say that it’s as stylized as say, One Piece or Soul Eater. But there’s some exaggeration in the character design, especially for Ko. But one thing that kept bothering me about Ko’s design is that in some respects, he almost looks like how Mitsuhide from Case Closed would look like as a teenager. I had to keep pushing that thought out of my mind while I was reading this volume, since Ko’s personality is nothing like Mitsuhide’s.

Admittedly, Call of the Night is not the kind of manga I go out of my way to read, but since I was able to receive a free digital review copy from VIZ Media, I decided to take a chance on it. It’s not bad at all for what it is, but this isn’t the type or style of supernatural manga that I personally enjoy reading. However, I think fans of manga like Soul Eater or any kind of comedic supernatural manga may be better able to appreciate Call of the Night.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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