With Ruka and Mito developing stronger feelings for each other, how does the author stall them from getting together?
A. Lose the boobs.
B. Lose the memories.
C. Lose the girl.
Trick question — it’s both A and B. But judging from the story’s direction, there’s a greater than 90% chance C will happen within the next volume or two.
Ren’s power transforms the disguised Mito into a real guy. While this makes Mito’s job of hiding her identity much easier, this makes it much harder for her to suppress her feelings. Meanwhile, Ruka tries to push any attraction for Mito to the side, as he needs his destined partner in order to ascend the throne. Mito, of course, believes it’s her, but who should appear but a female Mito look-alike!
As I mentioned in my volume 3 review, one potential downside of secret gender benders is that they tend to look like boys’ love or girls’ love stories on the surface, but of course they’re not. A love interest who finally gets over the idea they may be LGBTQ+ is “rewarded” with an “acceptable” love. While the goal is to show love regardless of gender, I think Vampire Dormitory comes up short. Ren is willing to marry a male-Mito, but he knew the truth and turned her into a guy. Ruka is attracted to “Miko”, a fake who somehow knows of girl-dressed-Mito’s meeting with Ruka, yet he can’t stop thinking about Mito, who soon doesn’t remember him.
But while fangirls in the real world and in the manga-world squeal over vampire BL during a haunted house, the real BL story also comes to a head with Juri’s confession to Takara. The latter is left bewildered and unsure of how to react. Despite this happening in volume 5, this storyline is still unresolved as of volume 6 and is pushed into the background in favor of a new character.
As the covers suggest, volume 5 centers around the love triangle while volume 6 features a lot of Ruka x Mito. Just as Ren literally rides off into the sunset, Toyama introduces Ruzeé, a transfer student. At least, Ruka and Mito think he’s a typical transfer student, but readers know he’s under orders to draw Mito away from Ruka. (Again, bet on option C happening.)
The addition of Ruzeé, who looks like a pirate version of progenitor Komori, is completely forced. He’s basically Ren but only Ren-ier — serious, mysterious, and falling hard for Mito’s natural charm. I’d rather have Ren around even if he wasn’t actively pursuing her. Ruzeé just screams to me that Toyama can’t do much else with the story without someone trying to woo Mito away from Ruka, interrupting their sweet time together. I didn’t want to see Mito be completely naïve and not recognize that she’s drawing Ruzeé’s attention or the strange things happening when they’re together. I mean, she runs into him while dressed as a girl, and she doesn’t even try to hide the truth! She can’t trust Juri with this secret, but she hopes someone she just met will?
I welcomed a further look at the vampire world in Vampire Dormitory. The fact others aren’t happy with Komori’s appointed successor makes sense, and I enjoyed learning why Komori has been a sort of wild card in the manga. I wish Toyama had focused on vampire society (or, heck, how an otaku is supposed to rule his entire race) instead of yet another love triangle on the heels of the first.
The two do get some peaceful days before Ruzeé’s first appearance, and even afterward, Ruka wants to be all lovey-dovey with his girlfriend. But those who thought Vampire Dormitory would ratchet up the sensualness after the main couple gets together will be mostly disappointed despite the cover.
Seeing Ruka embrace Mito in their room or sneaking a kiss in an abandoned classroom is probably still enough for younger readers, as well as spending time together with an amnesiac Mito. But he was already rather affectionate despite denying his feelings, so even as the first arc wraps up, Vampire Dormitory‘s new phase is too much like the old. But if you have been in love with the series as-is, then that might not be too bad.