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Manhwa / Rebirth

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There are a lot of vampire stories out there. A lot. They range from stabbing them to wanting to have their children. No matter how disturbing the image is. Rebirth is yet another in a long line of books about vampires, this time in comic form.

Rebirth is a manhwa by Lee Kang-woo and his team of artists that tells the story of the vampire Deshwitat Rudbich and his conflict with Kalutika, a wielder of the "Power of Light".

The story starts with Desh's death, 357 years before the main story starts. His ashes are interred within a wandering monster that, 350 years on, starts terrorising a town, quickly emptying it of edible things. (Read: people) A team of spiritual investigators (including an uninterested teenage daughter, Remi Do, and Millenear Shephild, their exorcist guide) turn up to investigate the disappearances and quickly discover that not all is as it seems - a point driven home when monsters rise up out of the ground.

Predictably, everything goes wrong - not the least of which being their exorcist turning up late - and Deshwitat is resurrected (hence the title) By Remi's virgin blood. Deshwitat then drinks Remi's father's blood in trade for saving Remi's and Millenear's life.

A Curb-Stomp Battle ensues and Deshwitat reveals his awesome capability for magic, up to and including summoning a demon lord - apparently something that takes a huge amount of skill and raw power. He then strongarms Millenear into teaching him to use the "Power of Light" since his powers, which are summoned and drawn from the shadows are useless and impotent against a wielder of light such as the person who sealed him - Kalutika. And so is revealed the main conflict of the story, Deshwitat's desire for revenge upon Kalutika.

No relation to Re:BIRTH –The Lunatic Taker–

Rebirth provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: Bishop Bernard, who thinks that he's fulfilling God's will by eliminating Deshwitat off the face of the earth. In reality, he was just consumed by a sacred beast that was feeding off his jealousy and corruption. Doesn't qualify for Kalutika though, since Kalutika actually is a god.
  • Abusive Parents: Kalutika's father is a Manipulative Bastard who doesn't shy from brutally beating his young children for playing together.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: While being attacked by an army of exorcists in the Vatican, Desh kidnaps a nun named Erika as a hostage and runs away. Once he finds a safe spot, he tears off a chunk of her robe. While she thinks he's about to rape her, he ends up just using the torn cloth to bandage his wounds, leaving her very relieved.
  • Art Evolution: Very obvious. Compare Deswhitat and Millenear's current design to what it was in volume one. While Deshwitat's art improvement can be handwaved, the current Millenear barely even resembles her first appearance
  • Artificial Human: Beryun and Kalutika's three generals.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Whoever wins the Vampire Lord Tournament becomes the new lord of the vampire race.
  • BFS: Rett's weapon of choice. A couple of chapter covers show Deshwitat with one, but he never uses any sort of weapon in the story.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Deshwitat against Rett when they met in book 2.
    • Also Carlos, Deshwitat's father, which is a given seeing how he's also a pure blooded vampire.
  • Big Bad: Kalutika, god of light and local human-hating genocidal maniac.
  • Black Magic: Deshwitat's source of magic - as well as every other vampire's - and the Melgis Flame, are all drawn from demonic sources.
    • Human sorcery is something different altogether, it seems. While some people can wield black or white magic, it seems some - like the sorceror in the circus from when Deshwitat is young - practice something altogether different.
  • Blush Sticker: The head of the vampire council has them when she's introduced. Not so much after getting roughed up by Rett's group and the Order of St. Michael though.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Rett.
  • Chekhov's Gun: From the flashback sequence, the ultimate form of the Six Brothers of the Swamp Clan.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Both Rett and Eiji. Eiji's debut actually had them discussing the finer points of their female allies' bodies.
  • Church Militant: Deshwitat's first opponent in the VLT, Santana, is a vampire slayer working for a religious sect to bring vampires into extinction. Santana himself is a vampire, but he doesn't care who he kills and is happy to do it for the church so long as they provide him the means.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Modern-day Deshwitat in a nutshell. While he's no squeaky Knight in Shining Armor he's certaily not evil - even if he likes to pretend that he is.
    Rett: "I think you betray your own bigotry. Evil and darkness are not synonymous."
    • As revealed in volume 3, Millenear can use Dark magic too - except she uses it to save a child and is stripped of her exorcist status for it.
  • Determinator: Desh had been pinned to the ground in the Vatican, while Bishop Bernard summoned a giant beam of light to strike down on him from the Heavens and melt away his flesh. Desh himself believes he's going to die until he starts seeing images of Kalutika mocking him. This is enough to piss him off to the point where he breaks through the stakes pinning him down, walks through the pillar of light basically unscathed, and manages to make his escape with a captive Erika in tow.
  • Dirty Old Man: When Eiji and Remi are sent to the Vatican to search for the Order of St. Michael, they are kidnapped by a creepy old priest who is taking a bit too much pleasure in "ridding them of the devil's taint", especially towards Remi.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Eiji, to the point where Rang exploits this to escape captivity.
  • Emotionless Girl: Beryun, all the way.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Kalutika genuinely was a pretty nice guy, despite the world constantly trying to hammer into him the fact that Humans Are Bastards. This fact really starts to kick in after he dies and descends into godhood, where he decides humanity doesn't deserve to exist. Lilith also seemed to have pulled one by being revived by Kalutika to serve him, as well as Draistail when he sided with the senior council of vampires The biggest heel turn in the story though is Millenear, who was kidnapped and turned into a vampire prior to the start of the Vampire Lord Tournament.
  • Fiery Redhead: Remi's hair is depicted as red, and she's definitely the most feisty girl in the main cast.
  • From a Single Cell: Benuhazzer, the sacred beast that possesses Bernard near the end of the Vatican arc, has this sort of ability, causing Deshwitat to resort to working together with the nun Erika for a last resort Yin-Yang Bomb.
  • Gambit Roulette: Though it is never explicitly stated, it's widely believed that the hooded man in the past is God Kalutika, pulling all the strings from behind the scenes to make sure that his life ends up horribly enough that he'll choose to become a vengeful god in death.
  • Glass Cannon: Erika's role in combat in the Order of St. Michael. The teams whole strategy revolves around the other three members distracting the enemy and protecting her while she charges up her ultimate spell, Saint's Judgment.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Rett has one scar going down his right eye, as well as an X-shaped scar right in the middle of his face.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Desh through and through. He likes to pretend he feels nothing - the only person he regularly shows any affection or friendliness for, pre-tournament, is Rett.
  • Immortality: The vampires of the series are naturally The Undead, but Rett happens to be cursed with The Ageless variety, courtesy of Kalutika.
  • In the Hood: The mysterious cloaked man from the past wore a hood that constantly cast a shadow over his face.
    • Though he showed a lot more in the backstory.
  • Kiss of Death: Serves as Poison Ash's Finishing Move.
  • Light Is Not Good: The whole argument of the story. The main villian, Kalutika, is a genocidal maniac who wields the power of light.
    • A case revealed in volume 7: Josimov, the leader of the Cult of Verkadh is a user of Light Magic.
    • Another good example is Bishop Bernard in the Vatican arc.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Grey, Deshwitat is your father!
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Ring of All Spirits, which reminds Deshwitat of his time with Lilith. The first couple of volumes note its significance in being a sign that Lilith still being alive, despite dying in the very first pages of the story.
  • Mind Rape: One of Poison Ash's techniques which forces the victim to relive the most miserable moment of their lives. Naturally, for Deshwitat, this was during Kalutika's Start of Darkness when he killed Lilith.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Pretty much any female vampire with a name fits under this category. It's especially apparent in the Vampire Lord Tournament arc, which brings us the likes of Rang, Poison Ash, Isabel (the emcee), and Heel-turned vampire Millenear.
  • Older Than They Look: The head of the vampire council is several centuries old and is the oldest vampire in existence. And she doesn't look a day over 8 years old.
  • One-Word Title
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Despite being an expert at Judo, Remi really doesn't match up to the likes of Desh, Rett, Millenear, or Beryun. Neither does Eiji, despite being a ninja. Remi eventually gains shamanic powers, but it doesn't really help her rise up the power hierarchy all that much.
  • Physical God: Kalituka Maybus and Millenear, though her powers haven't fully awakened yet.
  • Portmantitle: Prefix: "Re" + "Birth".
  • Rape as Drama: Suffered by Danube while she was imprisoned as a heretic. Sadly, the raping scene was happening at the exact same moment where Kalutika was talking to Desh about marrying her. When Kal sees what happened to her, he... doesn't take the news too well.
  • Rebellious Princess: Lilith.
  • Replacement Goldfish: When Kalutika gains his godly powers, one of the first things he does is make three followers that are based off people he knew in real life. Rheth plays the huge muscle, just like Rett. Dan-el plays the quiet scholar, just like Father Daniel. And then there's Danube, who's based off... his sister Danube, but apparently In Name Only.
  • Sinister Minister: Bishop Bernard in the present. Father Josimov in the past.
  • Stripperific: Even if pretty much every female vampire dresses skimpily, the one most qualified for this trope is Poison Ash, who basically wears one long roll of black cloth over her torso. It really doesn't cover much.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Millenear once teamed up with Remi and Eiji to fight Desh to prove that they were worthy of being on the team. He promptly curbstomps all three of them effortlessly. Fast-forward to the semi-finals of the VLT, where we see vampire Millenear not only holding her own against Deshwitat, but almost defeating him in the process.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Deshwitat. Tall? Second in height to Rett, so check. Dark? Uhhh... hello? Vampire? Check. Snarky? Judging from the way he reacts to Rett and Remi's arguments, Rett and Eiji's perversion, Millenear's optimism, and Master Tae's advice, I'd say that's a check.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: Every time a level of celestial security gets blown to smithereens by Kalutika's "computer" whiz.
  • Unsettlinggender Reveal: During the flashback arc, the group gets attacked by a group of demonic bandits known as "The Swamp Clan". While it originally appears that there's five guys and one girl, Rett recognizes the "girl" of the group to really be a guy, which likely explains why he wasn't acting as pervy as he usually does despite the "girl" being hot and fanservice-y.
  • Yandere: Millenear was already known to have liked Deshwitat, but this aspect seemed to have come with the package in her Face–Heel Turn, where she decides that since Desh won't love her, she'll kill him instead so they can be together in death. Kalutika is another example which really becomes prevalent during the public execution of Danube and Lilith.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: At the climax of the Vatican arc, due to Bishop Bernard's extremely potent regeneration, Desh figures that only one giant explosive force can completely wipe him out. They achieve this by combining two extremely powerful light and dark spells, namely Deshwitat's Demon's Baptism and Erika's Saint's Judgment.