Manga: The Record Of A Fallen Vampire
A millennium ago, the vampire queen Adelheid nearly destroyed the world for the love of her king, unleashing the dangerous "moonlight of corrosion" which destroyed everything in its path. In the end, she was sealed by the power of vampire, dhampire, and human alike; but her king, Akabara "Red Rose" Strauss, searches the world for the seal that will release her from her captivity. Humanity at large has since forgotten the existence of vampires, but the dhampires remember, and they will do whatever it takes to kill Akabara before he rescues his beloved queen.
Against Akabara is Bridget
, powerful ruler of the Dhampires and a group of elite warriors including Jin, whose beloved was killed by Akabara. With them is the Black Swan, a parasitic magic that possesses young women for the sole purpose of killing Akabara and Adelheid. The most recent host is strong enough to kill Akabara, but she instead sides with him, to the shock of the dhampires. It seems things are not as simple as they seem and old enemies may have to unite to survive.The Reveal
ensues. Several times. Also Genre Shift
and Gambit Pileup
- Action Girl: Bridget, Lety, Yuki, and Kaiyuki
- Arranged Marriage: Akabara and Adelheid.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Big Moura appear as giant pollen/diatom things in the sky.
- Bitter Sweet Ending: Strauss and Adelheid are able to destroy the aliens and saved the Earth. But Adelheid sacrifice herself to terraform the moon so the Dhampires can have a home of their own. Strauss and Kayuki finally have their duel where she finally kills him, ending the Curse of the Black Swan that's been slowly killing her and freeing Strauss's wife and daughter souls and freeing Strauss long life torment where he can finally be reunited with his family in the afterlife and leave the world to his friends, allies and adopted daughters.
- Book Ends: The manga begins and ends with Akabara fighting against the black swan with the difference being the end result.
- Broken Aesop: One of the morals seems to be that there is no such thing as complete evil and that everyone does something for an understandable reason, yet the reasoning behind the aliens' actions is never explored leaving them as simply invaders.
- Central Theme: Power Corrupts: This is a major theme in perhaps the most roundabout way imaginable. It isn't Akabara who's corrupted by his godlike powers. He's an insanely nice, unbelievably benevolent soul who never showed even the slightest inclination of using his powers for anything but the good of his people and a determination not to do so at the expense of anyone else. Instead, it's the people around him, particularly his enemies, who are corrupted by their overwhelming fear of Akabara's power, prompting them to more and more horrific extremes in an effort to bring him down, culminating in Saberhagen's murder of Stella and her unborn child for the sake of creating a weapon specifically designed to kill Akabara,
- The Chess Master: Akabara, Bridget, and GM
- Chekhov's Gun: When they first meet, Akabara tells Letty a story about the origins of vampires. He also tells her that he could fly to the moon. This turns out to be more important than you might expect.
- Combat Pragmatist: "Infinite Cross" Saberhagen, who was willing to kill her own adopted daughter and grandchild to create the Black Swan curse that could eventually kill Akabara.
- While he is often Willfully Weak, Akabara, when given the opportunity, does not hesitate to demonstrate why he is the greatest tactician and strategist to ever walk the planet.
- Cool Mask: GM, or Great Mask, who effectively controls the country and his granddaughter Kaiyuki the 50th Black Swan when she's introduced (she's shy).
- Costume Porn: in spades
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Akabara and Adelheid vs the aliens natch.
- Deadly Upgrade: The Black Swan, a powerful spell that can cancel out Akabara's powers will eventually kill the user whether she fights Akabara or not.
- Despair Event Horizon: What causes Adelheid's freak out in the first place. Also Emily, the second Black Swan upon realization of the nature of the Black Swan curse.
- Dhampyr: Akabara is hunted by these.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Akabara is without question the absolute nicest guy in the entire series. But just because he just happens to be the most powerful thing to ever walk the planet, he is ultimately sentenced to being hunted down by the Black Swan, which is a curse created from the souls of his beloved wife, Stella and his unborn daughter, that will reincarnate over and over again until he and Adelheid are dead. Sheesh!
- Expy: GM is very reminiscent of Kiyotaka from Shirodaira's previous series, Spiral... just replace the mask with a furry costume and add more quirks.
- Fantastic Racism: A big part of the conflict from a thousand years ago.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Jin, whose would-be girlfriend, the 49th Black Swan, has been suffering quite a bit after she is killed by Akabara. Ultimately, he finds out that he has nothing on Akabara himself who has spent the last thousand or so years deliberately acting the part of the villain in order to earn the hatred of both humans and dhampires and unite them against him so that they don't start killing each other. And to make matters even worse, on a regular basis he ends up fighting and killing young women possessed by the souls of his murdered wife and child... over and over again.
- Flashback: There are a lot of these to a thousand years ago, each revealing more to the audiences and in several cases, completely changing the meaning of the events in the manga.
- Four-Star Badass: Strauss and Bridget.
- Generation Xerox: Many of the previous Black Swans resemble Akabara's wife Stella due to her soul being part of the spell.
- It was hinted some of the Black Swan hosts might have been how their unborn child would have looked like, which Strauss citing Yuki, the 49th Black Swan, as the best example of what he thought their unborn child would have been like.
- Gentle Giant: One member of the Dhampyr's Akabara killing squad is a giant man in samurai armor who also runs a tiny (but highly-recommended) noodle shop as a hobby.
- Gotta Catch Them All / What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The giant crosses, one of which is said to be marking Queen Adelheid's grave aren't symbolic but are actually a giant array that collectively seal her in.
- Grey and Grey Morality: No character is completely evil and even those who seem evil have an underlying reason behind their actions. except possibly the Fio aliens, who's motivations and situation remain in the shadows
- Hellish Pupils: All the vampires and dhampyrs have cat-like slits.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Akabara wants peace so much that he's willing to take on the hate of humans and dhampyrs onto himself and Adelheid wants to make up for not preventing Stella's death, so they're both going to fight the Big Moura.
- Adelheid sacrifices herself to terraform the moon.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: The Fio. At least they're polite about it.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Saberhagen's justification for murdering and then mutilating her daughter Stella and the unborn child within her.
- The Ingenue: Adelheid, at least up until accidentally destroying her own kingdom, killing thousands when she loses control of her power after seeing her husband about to be executed in front of her. She wises up a lot after being woken up from her thousand year slumber however, helping to fight the Bikkumoura and then later sacrificing her life to build a new homeland on the moon for the dhampires. Played straight with the character of Stella.
- Genre Shift: From fantasy to Sci-fi with the arrival of the Big Moura.
- Kick the Dog: Saberhagen killing her daughter Stella
- The Lab Rats: Nazuna and Li, scientists working on the moon rocket They're a bit miffed when Akabara reveals he never needed a rocket to begin with.
- Lady of War: Bridget. She was even a general in the Kingdom of Night.
- Last of His Kind: Akabara and Adelheid are the last pure-blooded vampires.
- Likes Older Women: Morishima, if his interactions with Bridget are anything to go by.
- Male Gaze: Many, many unnecessary close-up shots of Bridget's cleavage.
- Memento MacGuffin: Stella's pendant. Akabara told her it was just a cobblestone (she isn't very ostentatious) but it's actually from the moon.
- Older Than They Look: Lety
- Oh, Crap: Kaiyuki's reaction to finding out that Akabara can move and fight in the daylight.
- The Ojou: Kaiyuki, the 50th Black Swan.
- Out-Gambitted: In the end, GM.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Specifically, they are organisms from space who, during their evolution, took on enough of humans' genetic information to resemble them and reproduce with them but are still a different species. The need for blood was eventually bred out too.
- Akabara is even different from other vampires: He can move in daylight and fly to the moon. Unexpectedly, Adelheid turns out to be even more powerful than Akabara.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Adelheid and her power, the Moonlight of Corrosion. Strauss and Black Swan as well.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Black Swan is powered by the souls of Akabara's wife and their unborn child.
- Really 700 Years Old: Much of the cast, but a special shout-out goes to Letty, who grows so slowly that when she's nearing 70 years old, she still looks like a preadolescent.
- Redemption Equals Death: Akabara and Adelheid.
- Reincarnation: The black swans of Stella. Kinda.
- Rule of Cool: Why GM bothers to decorates his mask.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Queen Adelheid who is revealed to be Sealed Good in a Can.
- Soul Jar: The Black Swan actually contains the souls of Akabara's wife and their unborn child.
- Spell My Name with an "S"
- Super-Powered Evil Side / Unstoppable Rage: Adelheid's "Moonlight Corrosion".
- Sweet Tooth: Akabara loves cake (and ice cream and Pocky and parfait and...).
- Sword of Damocles: The Fio aliens act as these encouraging the factions to work together although there are still plenty of gambits going on although there were partially aware of this and took some token measures to defy the trope. Akabara also acted as one of these for the past 100 years letting himself be known as an all powerful enemy to both dhampirs and humans in order to unite them.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yuki and Kaiyuki, the 49th and 50th Black Swans, respectively.
- Bridget and Adelheid, to some extent.
- The Unreveal: We never do see GM's face.
- Vampire Monarch: Both a queen (Adelheid) and a king (Akabara).
- We ARE Struggling Together: A summation of the responses to the existence and intentions of the aliens.
- Wham Line: "Open your eyes, Stella!"
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Adelheid, who loses it big time after seeing her husband Akabara about to be executed.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Strangely enough, the only character with odd haircolors are Strauss (blue) and Stella and two of the Black Swans (pink) and that similarity is not a coincidence.
- Zero-Approval Gambit: Strauss trying to get both sides to unite in hating him, and if they kill him all the better. He acknowledges that if Stella hadn't died he may have been able to figure out a better plan.