The Earthquake destroyed everything we know. A woman with a misshapen face rummages through piles of rubble and corpses, looking for valuables. She is caught by a lynch mob, who regard her as a bad omen and hang her with other criminals. Six feet under, she watches as the bodies of other victims bloat, rot and consumed by worms.
But the Earth rejects her: the woman, Rakuda, is a vampire.
The Laughing Vampire is a two-volume manga by Suehiro Maruo. Book One recounts how, years later, Rakuda finds a kindred spirit in a high-school student Konosuke Mori, and turns him into another vampire. Konosuke's transformation has repercussions on the lives of two of his classmates: Luna Miyawaki, a girl who, scared by a childhood incident, has deep loathing with everything sexual and compares sex with being bitten by a vampire, and Sotoo Henmi, an ordinary-looking loner who is secretly an arsonist with necrophiliac fantasies, and keeps a journal titled The Laughing Vampire.
Book Two moves away from the school setting and introduces new characters. Rakuda and her cohorts have attracted the attention of another group of vampires, who do not tolerate competition. Center to the story is Miko Takibana, a mysterious girl who ate insects and disappeared eight years ago.
The Laughing Vampire contains examples of:
- Beat Still, My Heart: A female vampire finds creative use to a victim's heart.
- Disposable Sex Worker: Interestingly averted: you'd think street walkers are natural prey to vampires, but the vampires in this story can identify people with STDs and avoid their blood.
- Disposing of a Body: More than one characters have inconvenient corpses to get rid of.
- Emergency Transformation: Two people are "turned" to vampires at the verge of death.
- Eye Scream: Luna dreams about crows picking out her eyes.
- Fingore: Rakuda bites off the finger of a victim to get her ring. Sotoo chances upon the finger and keeps it for his own use.
- I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Watch how the vampires get high with blood.
- Omake: The "bonus" chapter The Crying Vampire: a much, much sadder affair than the main story.
- Our Vampires Are Different: They live forever, but they don't have the luxury of eternal youth: indeed they age faster than mortals. They also have telepathic connections to each other. Oh, they have no fangs and have to carry a dagger if they want to feed.
- Those Wacky Nazis: A teenage biker gang dressed in full SS uniforms, complete with swastika.
- Tongue Trauma: When they want to "turn" someone, vampires slit their own tongues and have the victim drink the blood.