Follow TV Tropes


Manga / The Laughing Vampire

Go To
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 the other victims bloat, rot and are 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 named 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 a deep loathing of 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.

Spoilers ahead!

The Laughing Vampire contains examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: One of the mysteries of the second volume is the naked woman wearing only a hood. It seems as though she is Miko Takibana, as she is seen eating insects and is being held captive by the other vampires, which jives with Miko's behavior as a child and the fact that she disappeared many years ago. However, it's revealed that she's just some strange woman, and Miko is actually one of the vampires who are her captors.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: A female vampire finds a creative use for a victim's heart.
  • Blood Bath: Mori and Rakuda have a conversation while she's lounging in a bathtub filled with a mix of water and the blood of the two infants whose exsanguinated corpses are in the tub with her.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: A side effect of vampirism. Rakuda and Mori always look like they have a heavy layer of eyeliner, and when the school doctor takes Mori's hood off, his undereyes are completely darkened.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Interestingly averted: you'd think street walkers would be natural prey for vampires, but the vampires in this story can identify people with STDs and avoid their blood.
  • Disposing of a Body: Vampires tend to just leave their victims where they lie or toss the bodies in the first place it's convenient to dump them. However, the two encountered by Mori, Luna, and Rakuda in the second book have an underground cave with a deep pool of water where they dispose of their victims.
  • Downer Ending: By the end of the story, Rakuda and the dark-skinned vampire are dead, but Mori and Luna are still free, and Miko has turned her brother. Mori and Luna still pursue their predatory ways, even threatening two detectives who are searching for them, but they're burdened with the knowledge that they will age prematurely like Miko.
  • Emergency Transformation: Two people are "turned" to vampires at the verge of death. Mori turns Luna after she's strangled by Sotoo, and Miko awakens in the ground after her mother tries to kill her and then buries her in a bamboo grove.
  • Enjo Kosai: Played with. One of Luna's classmates works as a volunteer at what appears to be a senior citizen center and convinces Luna to accompany her, but Luna is distressed when she finds her classmate doing lewd things with one of the seniors for pay. Later on, her classmate tells her the man took a liking to Luna and that two visits in a month could make her 50,000 yen, but Luna is horrified to even think about it.
  • Exact Words: Rakuda pulls this on Mori when he confronts her after Miko reveals that consuming blood has caused her to age faster than her actual age, saying that she never said he would have eternal youth. This shakes both Mori and Luna, but they are too far gone to stop.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Luna has a nightmare where she's attacked by a flock of crows, which ends with them pecking out her eyes. Later, this actually happens to Miko's mother; as her body burns up and dries in the sun, crows flock to her and peck out her eyes while feeding on her corpse.
    • The dark-skinned vampire gets a dagger thrown into his right eye.
  • 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.
  • Gonk: Rakuda has a distinctly off-putting and almost inhuman face with large eyes and a huge mouth. Imagine the film version of Gwynplaine in drag and you're close.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Vampires get a euphoric feeling after drinking blood. After Mori feeds on his first victim, he "sees" a brilliant light and feels like flowers are blooming in his head. After his second, Rakuda notices that he's had an orgasm. At the end of the story, when Makoto has his first feeding, he has the same experience as Mori.
  • In the Hood:
    • Mori and Luna both start wearing head-concealing hoods to school. In Mori's case, it's due to his increasing inability to tolerate sunlight as his vampirism sinks deeper into him. In Luna's case, it's to conceal herself after she's assaulted by the street clown.
    • Miko and the dark-skinned vampire keep a woman captive in their house; she can only speak in garbled nonsense and only wears a hood over her head. She is dressed up to be used as a sex doll at one of the parties Miko hosts, but jumps out a window and dies on impact.
  • Karmic Death:
    • A street vendor is beaten up a couple of times by two of Mori, Luna, and Sotoo's classmates. They are two of the four that Mori kills the night that he turns Luna, and the street vendor celebrates when he sees the article about the deaths in the newspaper.
    • Sotoo strangles Luna, and then dumps her in a dumpster outside a hotel, thinking she's dead. He ends up being stabbed by Mori and left to drown in a pond in the local park.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Sotoo "is lacking team spirit" per a comment from a teacher on his marks, and is secretly a firebug who has necrophiliac sexual fantasies, even going to the extent of using the severed finger of one of Mori's victims as a toy. He also eventually tries to kill Luna and drinks her blood, although he's revolted by the taste.
  • Madness-Induced Omnivore: As a child, Miko liked to play with insects, and would sometimes eat them. This horrified her mother, who told Miko that she would turn into a bug if she kept doing it. Miko was scared by this but was unable to stop herself, and her mother struck her and eventually tried to kill her when she couldn't tolerate it anymore. However, this resulted in Miko becoming a vampire.
  • Masquerade Ball: The other vampires host parties where the guests wear masks, dress scandalously, and most of them eventually start having sex with each other. The vampires use this as a setup to lure some of the guests away so they can be killed and fed upon.
  • Monster Clown: In the first book, a street clown whose makeup makes him greatly resemble John Wayne Gacy abducts and rapes Luna. After she becomes a vampire, she and Mori hunt him down and leave him tied to a tree with his face and throat slashed and his severed penis stuck in his mouth.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Played with. When Rakuda is finally killed, Mori and Luna don't die, but Mori experiences a Pensieve Flashback where he travels back to the days of the disaster and finds Rakuda's hanged body, and Luna later says that she saw the same thing.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Mori comes across four of his former classmates getting high and having sex with each other. He tries to drink their blood but is repulsed by the taint of the drugs, so he just kills them, and later plays with the severed head of one of the girls like it's a toy ball.
    • Mori kills the dark-skinned vampire by decapitating him with an axe.
  • Omake: The "bonus" chapter The Crying Vampire, which features Rakuda preying on people in 1912.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires in this story are either created by being "rejected" by the earth when they're buried, or by drinking the blood of another vampire. A vampire having sex with a normal human also appears to work, as the dark-skinned vampire raping Miko's mother apparently turns her. They don't have fangs, and usually feed by cutting their victims' throats with a knife or razor. They can fly, have super strength, and are immortal, although drinking blood causes them to age physically. It is not said whether or not they will die without drinking blood, but they become consumed by blood thirst the longer they go without, and it appears that drinking blood gives them a euphoric feeling and can make them orgasm. They can be killed by sunlight, being staked or similarly stabbed through the heart, or beheaded.
  • Pyromaniac: Sotoo is introduced setting fire to some bundled papers, which turns into a fairly major fire. Later on, he writes in his journal about starting another fire and enjoying watching it. However, he begins to feel guilt when he learns that this fire killed a couple of people and badly burned a child.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Luna is subjected to a number of traumatic assaults:
      • Seeing her classmate doing lewd things with a man at the senior center causes her to have a flashback to being molested as a child.
      • She's abducted and raped by the clown she saw performing on the street. This causes her to snap a bit, visualizing herself as being prey in a spider's web and drawing fang marks on her neck, a visualization of the vampiric violation she's always associated with sex. She even gives herself a crude tattoo of a bat on her inner thigh. Much later, she has a flashback to the clown when a man tries to assault her.
      • She's implied to be raped, or at least molested, by the dark-skinned vampire after he drugs her, although nothing is made clear on-page.
    • Miko's mother is raped by the dark-skinned vampire, which apparently turns her into a vampire. This is eventually revealed to be part of a revenge plot by Miko, who ties her mother to a tree and leaves her to burn up when the sun rises.
  • Robbing the Dead: After the disaster that opens the story, Rakuda is shown stealing clothes off corpses. She's caught by the locals, who are horrified when they pull off her shawl and see her face and hang her as a demon. This is later revealed to be a flashback that she's relating to Mori before turning him into a vampire.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: A teenage biker gang dressed in full SS uniforms, complete with swastikas on their helmets. Mori kills most of them by flying around them while they're on their bikes and causing them to crash, then kills and feeds on the rest when they try to hunt him on foot.
  • Tongue Trauma: When they want to "turn" someone, vampires slit their own tongues and have the victim drink the blood.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Mori throws up the drug-tainted blood he consumed from his classmates he found at the hotel.