Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Manga Review: Cirque Du Freak

Manga: Cirque Du Freak
Story: Darren Shan

Art: Takahiro Arai

Distributor: Yen Press
Number of Volumes: 6 and counting . . .
Price Point: $10.99/volume USD

I was able to get this at my local library by chance. I had seen it at Border's, but it was not really on my read list. I am not really into horror themed Manga, but since I could read it for free, what the hell. This must be a big story because in Oct of 2009, they released a movie about it called Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant.

This looks like a good read for all you horror manga fans. It was adapted from a book written by acclaimed author Darren Shan. Takahiro Arai's artistic adaption breaths life to this story as it really brings home the imagery from the book.


If you have a love of vampires, spiders and all things that go bump in the night, this is the story for you. You follow a teenager named Darren Shan (yes, same as the author) and his best bud Steve. They are hard to separate and can be seen kicking ass ion a soccer game during lunch. They make a good pair of friends as they both have "interesting" hobbies. Darren loves spiders to the point of obsession and Steve loves anything related to monsters.

One night, Darren is racing down the street when a stranger gives him a flier. From here everything ends up going down hill at an alarming rate. Out of the group of 4 kids that wanted to go, it seems that Darren and Steve only get to go. What they experience at the show is just short of dramatic when one person getting mauled to death. What ends up peaking both boys interests is when Mr. Crepsley and Madam Octa come out to do their show.

At the end of the show, both of them are on their way out when Steve stops. He tells Darren to go ahead and he will catch up. Dareen double backs in time to see Steve confronting Mr. Crepsley on stage. It seems that he is actually a VAMPIRE and Steve wants to be transformed. As Mr. Crepsley grants him his request, he pulls back saying that his blood is nasty and he will not turn him. I guess he should of hung out with Tsukune from Vamp+Ros to see what sweet blood is like.

Later in the book, Darren decides to "rescue" Madam Octa from that Monster, Mr. Crepsley. what a dummass move on his part to "save" a highly dangerous and poisonous spider. It turns out that Steve is very good with the flute and can control the spider quite well (which also loves pizza by the way - go figure). Steve comes over and Darren shows him the spider. While it is crawling on Steve, Darren's sister comes in and startles the spider which of course bites poor Steve.

You can guess who of course steps in from here to "save" Steve with an anti-dote. From here lines will be drawn between friends and family.

Page Excerpts


I think the artwork very much matches the story. Takahiro does a great job in communicating the scary parts of the story. He really brings out the torment that Darren is feeling as he is beginning to transform into a vampire.

The Story does progress well as we get an introduction to the key characters in the first volume. You even get a good foundation for what will be happening later in the story. This make a fine first volume as you get a feel for how the rest of the series will flesh out. I am sure however that I am wrong, as you can sure bet Darren has a few twists to this story to keep you guessing.

I have to say though, it is not my cup of tea. It is not a story I can get into right now as I can sort of predict the outcome. I personally do not spiders either. This may be hampering my interest as it give me the hibbie jibbies just thinking about that thing hanging in my mouth - ewwwwwwwwww.

Overall: B


  1. Never heard of it, sound interesting, Vampire and all well there are more and more of them now, looks Bakemonogatari, DitVB, so i might want to give this a go.

  2. This one has been on my to read list for a while, I'm just torn between the book itself or the manga.


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