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Manga / Karin

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The very terrifying vampire.

"It's so embarrassing!"

Karin, also known as Chibi Vampire (English title of the manga, the anime is translated using the original name) is a shounen manga created by Yuna Kagesaki. The manga ran in Monthly Dragon Age from 2003 to 2008, and it received an anime adaptation that aired from 2005 to 2006. It was also adapted into a series of Light Novels illustrated by Kagesaki and written by Tohru Kai, which were published from 2003 to 2007.

Karin Maaka is a cute, bubbly, and slightly ditzy sixteen year old girl, dealing with many of the problems faced by girls her age. Her family doesn't understand her. She's easily embarrassed. The new guy at school makes her feel funny. And she seems to have a condition related to blood that leaves her out of sorts about once a month...

OK, maybe it's not that simple, when you factor in that most of the above is related to her — and her family — being vampires.

To make it worse, Karin is a very strange little vampire. It turns out she is a "blood-maker": instead of needing to drain the blood of others, she has to inject her excess into someone. If she doesn't, it builds up and eventually, she gets a nosebleed that puts one in mind of the elevator scene from The Shining.

Karin is understandably put out by this state of affairs. She doesn't have any real special abilities to keep this under wraps, relying on her little sister to cover up any mishaps. Even in temperament, her sunny but easily flustered demeanor does not a creature of the night make. This puts her at odds with her family, who despite caring for her, call her "mutant" and "failure", and make her work to pay bills; after all, she's the only one who needs electricity or food in the house.

But she makes the most of it all, until life sends her a new delivery of trouble in the form of tall, creepy-eyed, earnest Kenta Usui, the new student. One look at Kenta and her considerable store of blood starts racing. The reason, of course, isn't hormones — it turns out that vampires have "tastes" in blood related to a certain emotional quality. Karin's mom Carrera craves the blood of liars; her father Henry, that of prideful people; and her eldest brother Ren, the blood of stressed women. Despite her condition, it turns out Karin has a taste too, and Kenta is apparently Flavour of the Month. Being around him puts her at risk of painting the town red, literally. Too bad they share a class. And a route to school. And look who just got hired on at Karin's part time job....

For all the hijinks and strange setups, Karin is a remarkably natural boy-meets-girl series. The relationship between Usui-kun and Karin is never rushed, developing smoothly from the admittedly supernatural set-up and arrangement of convenience into understandable affection. The secondary characters are generally well-rounded and, if not deep, consistent. The notably grating exception is anime-only Winner (pronounced "Weiner") Sinclair... and even he manages to pull off a little sympathy near the end.

Not to be confused with the Magical Girl series Kamichama Karin, or the character from the Dragon Ball or Naruto franchises.

Compare My Monster Secret, another human boy/vampire girl romcom.

This series provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Yuriya from the manga who goes into this on occasion (no thanks to ANJU of all people calling her "flatty").
  • Adaptation Deviation: The anime veers off the manga plotline rather quickly, especially when the Canon Foreigner Winner is introduced.
  • Anything That Moves: Kanon. First time we see her, she's trying to wake up her father with a kiss. When her mother tries to stop her, she tries to give her a kiss. And when said mother mentions that Kanon's grandmother is coming over, Kanon clearly starts fantasizing about kissing her. Probably justified, due to her nature. She was Sophia, a slave and martyr to the vampire race for thousands of years, until she was freed by the Power of Love and reincarnated in a young girl, who is now Kanon.
  • Applied Phlebotinum:
    • Bats. Anything beyond one's normal capabilities, particularly memory manipulation, wide-range surveillance, and, somehow, restraining persons, is done via bats, which appear to be magical creatures rather than natural. Possibly a vague reference to or misinterpretation of Batman's bat-themed bat-gadgets stored in the Bat-belt or Bat-Cave, which may or may not be kept in Bat-shape by Bat-Alfred. Bat bat bat bat bat bat bat.
    • In a side story in the additional issue "Karin Airmail", a relative of Karin forms bats into a WEAPON!!! (Used somewhat like a two-handed sword but still very visibly a swarm of bats.)
  • Arranged Marriage: The marriage between Carerra and Henry was actually this, as in the past Carrera was infatuated in Henry's father James. They worked it out and it became a Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • Art Evolution: In Vol. 1 of the manga, eyes and hair are slightly more detailed in all of the characters, but most notably are Karin and Kenta. Karin's hair is longer, Kenta's hair has more spikes, his jawline is more squared, and his eyes, which evolve into just plain dots by the third volume, are nastier. This tends to create some problems when Kagesaki is drawing him, as she tells in the notes/omake at the end of each volume.
  • Author Appeal: High Pressure Nosebleeds. Seriously, reading the author's notes at the end of each volume of the manga is...kinda creepy.
    Editor: I reined you in too much. Make it a bloodbath.
    Kagesaki: YEEEEESSSS!
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Carerra abuses her husband, Bumbling Dad Henry, constantly, but they are extremely devoted to and in love with each other.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Karin's nosebleeds are so exaggerated that the blood she spills around leaves the place looking like a murder scene.
  • Babies Ever After: The manga ends with Kenta asking Karin to marry him. In the epilogue, we see Karin and Kenta's daughter, Kanon.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Karin appears naked in the opening possibly more often than she does in the entire series combined.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Done by Fumio when she declares that she "has faith in her body!". She's referring to her work ethic, but thanks to her attractive qualities, it winds up being grossly misinterpreted.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: The two kissing scenes of Karin and Kenta in the final volumes are drawn in double-page spread.
  • Big "OMG!": Gratuitous English along with a Big "NO!" in this scene of the anime.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The manga ends in the following fashion: Karin is finally allowed to marry Kenta and live as a human, but her family erases her memory of themselves (and were planning to do that from a long time ago) so that this can happen.
  • Breast Expansion: A fumbled spell in the anime cause's Calera's breasts to expand. Due to them being so large already, the difference is not noticeable. Elda is nonetheless angered due to her own A-Cup Angst.
  • Bridal Carry: Kenta escapes from a compromised situation while holding Karin this way in episode 8 of the anime.
  • Bumbling Dad: Karin's father Henry is totally whipped by his wife Carrera and mother Elda and his two daughters Karin and Anju. He stills shows a more willful side when he has to save any member of his family, and he won't hesitate to reign in misbehavior on Ren's part.
  • Canon Foreigner: Winner and his grandfather are original to the anime.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Happens to Karin and Kenta Usui a few times in the first episode.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Played straight with all the adult vampires — Anju doesn't have them yet. Also subverted, since the fangs become frighteningly long prior to biting.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: The more excited Karin gets, the more likely she is to trip over something. In full panic mode, she might as well be wearing stilts on roller skates.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Carrera's father, Daniel, decided to starve himself to death after her mother, Cecilia, passed away, as he lost the will to live on without her.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kenta's father left before he was born. He shows up several times, unsure if he wants to be a part of their lives or not, but ultimately decides it's better not to reopen their wounds.
  • Distant Finale: The final pages of the manga jumps several years into the future to show Karin and Kenta's teenage daughter and an adult Anju watching over her niece from the shadows.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • The biting. "It only hurts for a moment" indeed...
    • During the climax, Karin's brother Ren is forcing Bridget to be burned by sunlight by bending her over and sticking her head out the window while he is bent over her from behind, grabbing her so she can't struggle. That doesn't seem like rape at all, right? Oh, and then they later confirm that he spent the rest of the night forcing sex on her. She also calls later to say she's pregnant.
    • The bleeding. When Karin and Anju's respective first times at biting a victim are shown, both of them have the fronts of their white dresses conspicuously covered in "virginal" blood. Afterwards, both are referred to as vampires and adults.
    • That certain time of the month where Karin's blood begins to multiply is reminiscent of... a certain other time of the month. This Lampshaded in the first chapter. Considers that her blood can bestow the vampires their much-needed fertility, this is quite appropriate.
  • Dramatic High Perching: Anju stands atop a lamppost to watch Karin covertly, Ren mounts a powerpole to give Winner the slip.
  • Ear Cleaning: Karin finds her grandmother Elda cleaning Henry's ears. Elda says she has done this with her son since he was a child.
  • Education Mama: Koibuchi, one of Anju's classmates, has one of these, to his distress.
  • Enjo Kosai: One of Kenta's first encounters with Karin was seeing her in the park with her arms around a middle-aged salaryman, lips on his neck. Not knowing about her condition yet, he puts two and two together and comes up with squickiness.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Boogie-kun may be the ghost of a serial killer, but that doesn't stop him from telling Anju off for using a classmate's infatuation with her as a cover so she can spy on Karin and Kenta's date.
  • Face of a Thug: Kenta, to the letter. A mundane version of the "Things aren't what people say they are" theme of the series.
  • Fanservice: The anime has a lot more of it than the manga - nothing quite tops having suggestive naked poses of the title character thrust at you in the OP. Karin's cup size also seems to have increased.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Self-enforced by Karin due to the fact that her mother can't taste human foods.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: The whole Maaka family are peaceful vampires who drink blood from humans without hurting them.
  • Gecko Ending: The anime, due to the replacement of the later arcs with the clash against the vampire hunters. It also goes for a much happier ending in comparison to the Bittersweet Ending of the manga.
  • The Gift: As opposed to her awakened-but-powerless older sister, Anju displays great aptitude for vampiric control over familiars and human memories, despite being unawakened. Naturally, this leads to negative comparisons from the rest of the family, and yet more embarrassment for Karin. Carerra and Ren remark that Anju will be "one of the greats" when she finally becomes an adult. She also ends up making the change much earlier than anyone expected.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: What the Maakas do to the depowered Karin in the manga, by erasing her memories so she can marry Kenta and live normally.
  • Good Parents: While Carrera and Henry can sometimes be hard on Karin, the moment she truly needs help is the one where they (and especially Henry) leap to her defense.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Winner usually starts a speech with a Japanese idiom. They're usually sort of relevant, but it's an odd way to speak.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Some vampires like Elda and Bridget look down on and abuse half-vampires like Yuriya. In Elda's case, she sees half-vampires as a threat because vampires were nearly wiped in Europe 200 years ago after a half-vampire outed the existence of vampires to a human church. Bridget is just a bitch.
  • Happily Married: Karin's parents get along fine, with occasional squabbles. Despite Carerra having a tendency to belittle and clobber Henry, they are absolutely devoted to each other.
  • Hellish Pupils: All adult vampires have Supernatural Gold Eyes and these, though since the adults are typically drawn with smaller eyes, it can be hard to notice. Elda Marker's eyes are drawn larger, showing us that the adult vampire pupils remain circles but also gain vertical slashes — a merge of human and feline pupils in one package. Karin's eyes appear completely normal unless she's surprised, angry, or really feeling the need to bite someone. Anju's eyes usually remain normal too, after she changes, so apparently one still has to grow into it. And then there's Yuriya, who usually gets it just once a month.
  • Hereditary Curse: An omake has it that Kenta's ancestor seven generations back had creepy eyes, couldn't make any friends, and became a murderous swordsman. He killed a man with kind eyes out of jealousy, who then cursed the males of his lineage to have the same creepy eyes for seven more generations.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Karin's blood builds up if she doesn't bite to release the excess, leading to explosive bursts of blood from her nose. In the anime, to lower the gross-out factor, this appears as a shower of red flowers. But afterwards, there's still a bloody mess to clean up. The manga just has blood. Of course, the finale of the anime looks like it tries to make up for all that...
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: Karin's and Kenta's classmates, Maki and Kikuchi, are shown getting together and later married in a side story. Although it isn't what one would call the perfect relationship.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Poor Koibuchi-kun doesn't really have chance with Anju (which is not his fault) due to 1. Anju devotes her life to take care of Karin and 2. She is a vampire, which mean that they can't be together, even though she does reciprocate him.
  • Hybrids Are a Crapshoot: Half-vampires are mentioned to be sterile. This is much to the dismay of ones like Yuriya, who resents her hybrid nature because of this problem and feeling that she is flawed as both a vampire and a human.
  • Identical Grandson:
    • Sort of. Grandmother Elda and granddaughter Karin apparently bear an uncanny similarity to each other, differing only in Elda's hair colour and length, and Karin's taking after her well-endowed mother in the cleavage department.
    • And in the manga, Anju looks just like their other grandmother Cecilia (Carrera's mom).
    • Winner's grandfather also greatly resembles him.
    • In the special chapter, Ren and Bridget's son looks exactly like James (minus Idiot Hair).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episode/Chapter titles are "embarrassing!"
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Subverted in Winner's mantle; it simultaneously marks him as somewhat unbalanced mentally, yet he draws enough admiration from looks alone that it gets viewed as part of his charm by his groupies.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Glark and the other Brownlicks kidnapped Karin, and planned to rape and eventually murder her. They fail, but the worst punishment they receive is Elda Marker staying at their mansion for a few years as an uninvited and very unwelcome guest who allegedly beats them all black and blue as a regular thing. Also, the one who started the idea of raping Karin gets raped herself by Ren, so this qualifies as a subversion.
    • Fumio, Kenta's mother, was beaten senseless by her own mother to try and force her to miscarry while she was pregnant with him. This after Fumio refused to abort him at her command. She was viciously abusive to her daughter and grandson, and is the reason Kenta's father wasn't and will never be able to be a part of his life. And when all is said and done, Kanon, Kenta's daughter by Karin, showers her great-grandmother in love and affection - seemingly unaware that the woman would have rather she never existed. And if her expression in the one panel she appears is any indication, that attitude hasn't even gone away.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • Vampires wipe the memories of their victims to prevent panic, being caught, etc. Naturally, Karin does not have this power, and her family frequently has to do this for her so she can keep living her normal life.
    • And at the end of the manga, they do it to her so that she can finally go on to live a normal life.
  • Lethal Chef: Carrera and Anju nearly kill Karin and Maki making a normal human meal for them. More or less understandable when you recall that Carrera can't really taste human food and doesn't cook or eat it, and that Anju is like 12.
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime keep things goofier, has less threatening antagonists and ends in a much higher note.
  • Likes Older Women: Kikuchi (a side character) falls in love with Fumio in a side story. Then again, it's Fumio.
  • Luminescent Blush: There is lots of blushing in this series, and Karin does a ton of it. As Boogie-kun snipes at one point, "Her body is 98% embarrassment!"
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate: In the manga, when Karin's condition as the non-vampire of her family was revealed to actually be a consequence of being a spirit of Psyche (a special type of vampire that can bestow fertility in other vampires), she's kidnapped and locked away by another vampire clan, who plans to do this to her.
  • Nosebleed:
    • Subverted - Karin's nosebleed is caused by her "blood maker" nature. But the situations in which it happens are still very similar to the standard usage. A played-straight example actually winds up saving her life at one point: her top accidentally comes undone in the final confrontation with Winner's Knight Templar granddad, and the old man passes out from blood loss before he can harm her!
    • Played far more seriously in the manga. Karin lets out far more blood than any mortal safely could, and had to be hospitalized the first time it happened. Later, Kenta is so stressed that she goes off twice in a three-day period, and almost dies.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • The scene where Karin and Kenta are discovered in a closet together with their clothes off. In reality, they were hiding from a vampire hunter and Karin had one of her nosebleeds, hence the removal of garments. Everybody else who saw them (including said vampire hunter) had different ideas.
    • The times Kenta first catches Karin biting necks. One of the conversations afterwards is hilariously awkward.
  • Older Than They Look: Fumio, who looks to be about in her twenties (and at one point is able to pass as a high schooler) despite having a son in high school. She got pregnant near the end of high school herself, but this would still put her in her thirties.
  • Omake: Lots of it in the manga, including the mangaka's travails in getting that particular tankobon volume out.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In a flashback to Elda's backstory, Elda went to take a bath at a pond and a human drunkard peeped at her. Elda would have killed him if James haven't stopped her and erased the human's memory.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Spun twice for good effect. The vampires of Karin don't suffer from most of the lesser-known traditional vampiric weaknesses, and they are noted for having a particular "taste" in their victim's blood related to emotions. Karin, on the other hand, is different even from other vampires, as noted above.
    • Among the traditional weakness normal vampires of the series do have is an aversion to garlic — but it's because they can't stand the strong smell with their acute senses. They also burn in sunlight (Henry once goes through this to save Karin from being taken to a clinic and having her secret revealed, and Anju only goes to school on cloudy/rainy days), and apparently this was a popular method for vampire executions at one time. And they sleep in coffins, though whether or not they need to do this or simply prefer it is unclear. Anju continues to sleep in her bed after Ren boards up her room's windows.
    • In one of the manga omake stripes, Carerra enumerates to her human-nosed daughter the sorts of strong-scented vegetables she is not allowed to bring home. Karin realizes with a start that they are all vegetables that cats are allergic to, and wonders about a possible connection.
    • Holding up a cross for protection means nothing. In the anime, it's because Karin's an atheist. In the manga, they just plain don't work.
    • Driving a stake through their heart works too, although Karin's parents point out that such a thing would kill anybody, vampire or not.
  • Papa Wolf: Henry uproots and throws full-grown trees at some other vampires when protecting Karin. And he planned to burn to death with them under the dawning sun if necessary. There's also the time that he had to rescue Karin from well-meaning but ignorant human emergency-responders before they got her to the hospital and learned what she was: he flew through the sky in broad daylight and suffered some truly nasty full-body burns.
  • Paranormal Romance: The main focus of the series is the romance between a high school boy and a vampire girl who spills out blood from her nose instead of drinking it.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Winner is a foreigner with blond hair and blue eyes. He also has a rather strange but definitely foreign accent.
  • Piggyback Cute: Kenta gives Karin a piggyback ride after Karin passes out from her nosebleed.
  • Please Dump Me: Karin can't get Dogged Nice Guy Winner to understand that she's not interested in him, so she tries going on a date with him and being a total demanding bitch so he will lose interest. It doesn't work.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime was created before the manga series finished, so hence the Gecko Ending.
  • Protagonist Title: The series is named after its female protagonist, Karin.
  • Quirky Household: No one in the Maaka family is normal and that's not just because they're all vampires. Besides the middle daughter being a reverse vampire that bleeds out instead of drinking blood, the eldest son is a borderline sociopathic womanizer and the youngest daughter is a Creepy Child who collects cursed dolls for a hobby.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: More like Red Sclera, but you know when you're in deep shit when Karin has this.
  • Right Behind Me: In the manga, Maki spots Karin giving a lunch to Usui. She and the other girls then demand that Karin tell them all the "juicy details" of her love affair with him. Karin insists that He Is Not My Boyfriend — without success, given her Luminescent Blush. Finally she yells "I Don't Have Feelings for Usui-kun!", just as Usui comes around the corner right behind her. In a splendid subversion of the usual awkward-teenage-romantic-comedy dramatic plot point, practically the next scene has Karin and Kenta talking about the incident, rather than letting it turn into a misunderstanding that could damage their relationship.
  • School Festival: Karin's school holds a culture festival.
  • Secret-Keeper: Kenta, partially of his own free will, and partially because Karin's family threatened him with Laser-Guided Amnesia (and possibly worse) if he doesn't. Then he has to become the family's secret-keeper against Karin, after they wipe out her memories of them and vampires.
  • Shipper on Deck: Maki towards Kenta and Karin. Though she almost always helps and encourages Karin, the few times she helps Kenta with his feelings toward Karin are the times that really stick out. Probably because she gave the poor guy some porn to learn from and possibly use on Karin.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • The Marker/Maaka family name. There is a definite change from the original "Marker" (used by the parents and Elda), and "Maaka", written with the kanji that means "crimson" (and used by the naturalized Japan-born children). However, subtitling for the anime has been known to be inconsistent even from this.
    • Also, Carerra, Carrera, or Calera? You'll find all of them on this page, but the manga sticks with Calera.
    • What about Carola or Carla?
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Fumio, and Ren's boarding school roommate in his anime backstory.
  • The Sociopath: Ren, going by the clinical definition of the term. An inability to empathize, impulsiveness, and a tendency to use charm and manipulation to get what he wants. This could be chalked up to the way vampires view humans overall, but even among his family, these traits seem to be frowned upon, such as when he tried to drink Fumio's blood.
  • Spoiler Opening: Subverted — the only character that doesn't show up in the first episode is represented as a black silhouette in the opening until after he is introduced to the storyline.
  • State The Simple Solution: Karin's family suggests early on that Karin just bite Kenta to keep her multiplying blood under control.
  • Stealth Pun: In the manga, the blood is uncensored. In the anime, though, it's replaced with... flowers. Granted, you see the blood after the sequence. In any case, the Japanese word for "flower" is "hana" (花). Because of the limited sounds in Japanese, there are many homophones, such as "hana" (鼻), which is "nose", which is used in the compound "hanaji" (鼻血), meaning "nosebleed".
  • Shout-Out: Within ten panels of Bridget Brownlick's in-person appearance, she strikes Kenta down with a roundhouse kick and says "Know your place".
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Maaka is the victim of this on many occasions. Here's a memorable one with her (and Kenta's) boss:
    Boss: Are you sure you're okay taking an all day shift?
    Karin: Yeah, it's fine.
    Boss: OH! You're working for that! [he means christmas bonus]
  • Technically Living Vampire: Vampires are all naturally born among their race. Vampire children are basically the same as humans, but when they hit puberty, they grow fangs, lose their sense of taste for human food and their bodies burn under the sunlight. Only Karin is a special exception as she retains her human traits even after becoming a teenager.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Kenta's mother had him at the age of 16, and his father was 19.
  • Tickle Torture: The Maaka family use their bats to tickle a captured Yuriya in an attempt to interrogate her.
  • True Love's Kiss: At the end of the manga, the soul of Sophia is finally freed from her curse of being repeatedly born and sacrificed to share her blood with vampires. According to Sophia, the key to her freedom was Karin's and Kenta's first kiss.
  • Vampires Hate Garlic: Karin's parents forbid her from bringing garlic to the house because vampires can't stand the smell of garlic or anything in the onion family.
  • Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Older vampires, like Karin's grandparents, sleep in coffins, usually for years as they grow bored of living after a few centuries.
  • Vampire Hunter: Winner Sinclair, and the rest of the Sinclair family.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Brownlick vampires. Since Karin's blood is the only thing that can restore fertility in vampires, and the vampires are facing extinction, they plan to suck her blood and use her to breed a new "psyche" like they had, possibly hundreds of times, before. This is nothing out of the ordinary for them, as this seems to be a sort of tradition among vampires, and they honestly don't see anything wrong with what they're doing. They realize the error of their ways by the end, however.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Karin's vampire impression for the cultural festival gets rejected.
  • Your Vampires Suck: There's a montage of Winner setting numerous vampire traps based on traditional vampire lore, accompanied by an explanation from Karin about how useless and silly they are.
    • Karin's parents point out with horror that anyone would die from having their hearts staked.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Chibi Vampire


Rejected Vampire

Apparently, being an actual vampire doesn't help you get the part.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / YourCostumeNeedsWork

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