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Killing Me! Manga

Killing Me! Volume 1 Review

A first volume becomes a one-off

killing me Cover
Release Date
August 6, 2019
Publisher
Yen Press LLC
Story & Art
Akiyama
Translator
Leighann Harvey

What would happen if:

  1. A vampire hunter fell in love with the vampire she was assigned to kill?
  2. Both the hunter and vampire were high school students, and both were girls?

If those questions have been on your mind, Killing Me! has the answer. And as it turns out, the answer is absurd, hilarious, and surprisingly touching – and over far too soon.

Characters

The story revolves around two classmates: the studious, serious Saki, and the free, fun-loving Miyako. From the outside, they look like a pair of close high school friends, but in reality, they’re mortal enemies. Well, vampire hunter Saki thinks they are mortal enemies. Vampire Miyako finds their relationship incredibly amusing.

As the story opens, we learn that Saki and Miyako have been battling for a while, and that their battles typically turn out the same way: with Miyako drinking Saki’s blood.

However, Miyako isn’t just interested in Saki’s blood. She very much wants something else. And since this is a yuri (girl’s love) manga, Saki feels many of the same things…which is something that she can’t admit, even to herself.

Killing Me! Yuri

Story

Killing Me! is all about forbidden love, played out in the most absurd way but still touching nonetheless. On the surface, most chapters revolve around Saki’s attempts to kill Miyako, but what they’re really about is Saki’s struggle to understand the feelings she is developing for her vampiric target.

it’s an interesting metaphor for the kind of pain someone may feel when they realize their desires don’t match society’s expectations

She is understandably confused – why does she feel such attachment to someone she is supposed to kill? – and goes through every explanation she can think of, avoiding the obvious (but painful) truth. Vampire hunter or not, it’s an interesting metaphor for the kind of pain someone may feel when they realise their desires don’t match society’s expectations.

Miyako, of course, has no confusion, but then she’s one hundred and fifty years old and has had plenty of time to sort out her feelings towards girls. Saki, whose whole life revolves around killing vampires, finds her world thrown into chaos by her increasingly complicated relationship with her target.

Aren't you going to kill me today? Killing Me

Screwballs

However, this isn’t a just a teen life drama disguised as a vampire tale. It’s also an incredibly funny screwball comedy, featuring golden moments like this, where Miyako drops in on Saki, casually wondering why Saki hasn’t tried to kill her recently:

Every chapter – nine in all – is a mix of comedy combined with touching moments as every once in a while Saki allows her feelings to bubble ever so close to the surface. It’s a wild mix that would be disastrous in the wrong hands, but author Akiyama pulls it off perfectly.

More characters are introduced in the book (for example, we get a brief glimpse at Saki’s domineering, vampire hunter mother), but the story never leaves its two focal points.

There is one part of the story, however, that does get slightly disturbing. Since Saki and Miyako spend much of their time fighting, their relationship at times starts to look abusive. You have to remind yourself that one of the characters is an immortal vampire, but even then, I wasn’t a fan of some images. There’s nothing even remotely extreme, but even the idea of two potential lovers physically hurting each other isn’t a pleasant thought.

Killing Me volume 1 spoilers!)

The Plot Thickens

The plot develops slowly, taking a step forward with each of Saki’s failed attempts on Miyoko’s life. But what starts as a battle between two natural enemies typically ends with Saki acting more and more like a jealous girlfriend.

And while it the plot may seem repetitive at first – how many times can a fight end in a nighttime snack for Miyoko? – each encounter brings the girls a little closer together, to the point where they’re doing non-murdery things like shopping for clothes.

A shopping spree in Killing me

The fighting between them continues, but even when Saki gains the upper hand, she can never bring herself to deliver the final blow.

This dance between them goes on for so long that it attracts the attention of another vampire hunter, the axe-wielding Chiharu.

Chiharu wonders – and rightly so – why her fellow vampire hunter hasn’t been able to take out her target. The tension between the three of them sets up the volume’s final confrontation, where Saki has to decide whether she really does want Miyoko to die. Chiharu’s arrival adds tension and menace to the story, and serves as a reminder that there is more going on here than the flirtation between two teenage girls.

Chiharu Reizei, another Vampire Hunter in Killing Me

Art

Killing Me Face Expressions

The art looks like very conventional manga style at first, with exaggerated eyes and stereotypical anime girl body types. However, where the art absolutely stands out above just about everything else I’ve read is its masterful use of poses and facial expressions.

Author Akiyama is an absolute master of conveying thoughts and feelings through body language. So good, in fact, that after reading this volume about a dozen times, I began to notice how the body language in other manga lacks this level of detail. The incredible pose and face work in Killing Me! only comes through with multiple readings, which is good, because this is the only book in the series you will ever see.

The Final Chapter

This volume of Killing Me! is meant to serve as an introduction to the series. Unfortunately, there will never be a volume 2. According to manga website Amino, the series was cancelled after the first book, and there are rumours on the web that the author’s circumstances caused the cancellation. I have no idea what those circumstances are, but I hope they are all right. Either way, this volume of Killing Me! will be the last one for the foreseeable future.

Killing me - Looking in mirror Heat beat

Is Killing Me worth reading?

Yes, but with an asterisk. If you get this volume, you have to be okay with the fact that you might fall in love with the story but never see the conclusion. The end of the book is a continuation, but luckily it isn’t a cliffhanger, so the book works as a stand-alone volume, even if it wasn’t meant to be. If you’re in the mood for yuri action/comedy, this is your ticket.

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