I was looking for a story about a vampire who fights other supernatural people, but needs to be aroused to get power. Well, I found one. Strike the Blood by Gakuto Mikumo, first published in Dengeki Bunko in 2011, is set in Itogami City, a manmade island where monsters and humans co-exist. Our protagonist, Kojou Akatsuki, is a high school student who recently became the strongest vampire – the 4th Progenitor. How did Kojou become this all powerful being? Why is he now embroiled in fights for his life? Why is there a mysterious girl who now watches over him wielding a spear?
Strike the Blood is a basic story with a few twists, but nothing too mysterious thus far. It is currently at volume 16 in Japan, so with only the first volume read, I’m ready to see how much farther the rabbit hole goes. The first volume sets the stage with our hero who has some unique characteristics/flaws, but is a good person wanting to do right. The heroine is introduced as shrouded in mystery, capable, but still in need of rescue which allows the hero to shine. Secondary love interests as well as potential villains are critical to Kojou’s story.
What distinguishes Strike the Blood from other stories of this genre is the world created by Mikumo through detailed back stories, from whence the world expands as the plot progresses. For example, before the story began, Kojou became an all-powerful being – but how? Rather than a simple answer, Mikumo gives the background to the abilities, the reason Kojou has those powers. A power is revealed, then the reasoning behind that ability is explained to the point where each successive ability springs from a different angle. More so, there is constant mention od factions and beings not seen in the story, creating depth and breadth to the world.
While I enjoy the world building, I don’t like much of the world. For instance, when Kojou gets aroused, he has a desire to drink blood which increases his strength. There are similar stories out there and, while they’re fun, I have seen it before. A cliché is not always bad, it’s not always boring, but it can be just another go on the merry-go-round.
That said, the story is a fun read – not dull – and I will probably read the rest of the series. For me, its saving grace is that I genuinely want to know what the hell caused the main character to become what he is. It’s a story I have read before, be that as it may, but I am still going to enjoy the ride. There is a lot of comedy, humorous situations that the main character gets into with the heroine and side characters, both SFW and NSFW in some cases. There is also a lot of action, fights which remain interesting because of the aforementioned world building. All in all, it is a fun read.
So h if you like action and comedy, and do not mind the fact that its a bit perverse, Strike the Blood is the series for you.