Manga Review | Sweet Blood by Nene Shakeda



This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series Sweet Blood. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.

Trigger Warning: There may be references to prejudice, human trafficking, kidnapping, confinement, blood, blood play, blood drinking, coercion, obsession, stalking, violence, and assault, as they appear in the manga.


In a world dominated by , human rights and freedoms have been severely limited. Humans and vampires are segregated, with very few select humans given passes to travel through and in vampire areas without being accompanied by a vampire. Jinosuke is one of those few humans. He's a potter whose work is impeded by the deteriorating relationship between humans and vampires. Unfortunately, his most recent job has just been canceled due to his sponsor pulling out.

Frustrated and unemployed, Jinosuke travels through a vampire district, aimless and trying to determine his next course of action. Even with a pass, it's not easy going through the streets of vampire districts, as all vampires have silver hair, and humans don't. So, Jinosuke is constantly being watched and talked about. He's hardly bothered by the attention until he ends up in a sparsely populated area. There, he is ambushed, confined, and then sold in a human auction for vampires. This is very illegal, but as the product being sold, Jinosuke has no choice but to go along with the process.

In the end, Jinosuke is purchased by a youthful-looking vampire named Noi, a human anthropologist. Thankfully, Noi doesn't want to force Jinosuke into being food but would like to make a trade. In exchange for his blood and knowledge of humans, Jinosuke can continue to work and live under Noi's protection. It's not ideal, but it's better than the alternative, so Jinosuke accepts. What Jinosuke doesn't expect is for the feeding to feel so good. As they share more time (and fluids) with one another, Jinosuke begins to suspect it wasn't a coincidence that Noi was the one to purchase him.


This art is stunning. As with 's other work I've reviewed, Rough and Tumble Hana and His Lovey-Dovey Boyfriend, this is absolutely stunning. It's consistent, which does my heart some good. This isn't as clean as the previous work, though I think that really fits the narrative. This is a much darker and gritty story, something that wouldn't necessarily befit the super clean and bright art style from Rough and Tumble Hana and His Lovey-Dovey Boyfriend. Don't get me wrong, it's still very beautiful, but be mindful that the art isn't necessarily identical. It's still gorgeous, just not the cleanest.

Cover art for Sweet Blood by

I like the idea of this world. Vampires are often depicted as this underground, mysterious, and hidden society. Having the opposite to be true and for them to be essentially the ruling class makes a lot more sense with their hunter, predator characteristics. Unfortunately, with how short this title is, there is only so much worldbuilding that can be done while also building and honing in on the relationship between Noi and Jinosuke. I would have loved to explore more of the underbelly of the vampire society, as well as the living conditions and lives of other humans. Something else I would've liked to have explored was the life cycle of the vampires in this world. Noi explains that vampires can live to approximately 200 years of age, indicating that they naturally die and, in turn, are maybe born as opposed to made. None of this would have necessarily benefitted the main story, which was the , but I was just so interested in this world that I was clamoring for more at the end. I would happily read spin-offs or additional stories taking place in this world.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the big reveal was not that Noi was a stalker who had paid people to capture Jinosuke but that Noi was a stalker who had purchased Jinosuke to rescue him. That might not seem like a huge difference, but it is to me. I had long guessed that Noi was the one who had arranged for Jinosuke to be captured and sold, and that seemed to be confirmed when his office was revealed to be a shrine to Jinosuke and his work. I was ready for Noi to turn out to be an obsessive psychopath, and while he was still obsessive, it was nice to hear he had only purchased Jinosuke as a means of rescue. Granted, he used that to his advantage and to ultimately tie Jinosuke to him, but I can appreciate that this scenario didn't come about because Noi initially had nefarious intentions. It would have been really easy to make Noi a whole red flag, but they didn't go that way, which was refreshing.

However, while I appreciated that they didn't go the full red flag route, I don't feel like this was ideal. I think I would have preferred that they were complete strangers, Noi having purchased Jinosuke just because he was rich and wanted a human to watch and learn from. Having Noi be an obsessive fan and stalker in the first place with no real resolution on that storyline beyond Jinosuke just brushing it off feels a bit halfhearted to me. If they had been strangers from the beginning, Noi, using this moment of goodwill to his advantage and getting closer to a human he falls in love with and whose art he grows to love, would've been much more successful, in my opinion. I think the time spent showing Noi's obsession and then his connection to the police in purchasing Jinosuke would have been better used to build their relationship, such as having Jinosuke teach Noi about his craft and just more fluff in general. I think Jinosuke being captured and assaulted for the second time was enough additional tension without the stalker reveal. Their relationship doesn't feel as deep as it could have been, and I think it could've been stronger.


This is a really interesting one and completely different from their other title, which really speaks to how dynamic and talented this creator is. If you haven't read anything by Nene Shakeda, you have not only this gritty and dark romance but also the bright and lighthearted story of Rough and Tumble Hana and His Lovey-Dovey Boyfriend. It's so unfortunate that they both are so short because I would happily read volume after volume of their worlds. This isn't perfect, and I wouldn't call it a favorite, but it is stunning and worth a read. I recommend it.

Have you read Sweet Blood? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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