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#DRCL: Midnight Children Vol. 1 Review

Updated: Apr 8


The cover of volume 1 of the series #DRCL

Publisher Summary


As Mina struggles to find her place as Whitby School’s first and only female student, a devilish horror is unleashed upon the academy and its unsuspecting students: Count Dracula. However, when this unspeakable evil lays claim to her beloved Lucy Westenra, Mina stands ready to join forces with her fellow students and fight against it with everything she has.


 

Background


#DRCL, published by Viz Media, was a series that wasn't initially on my radar. The art seemed interesting and the mangaka (Sakamoto Shinichi) was well renown in online manga spaces with one of his prior works, The Climber, being one of the most demanded titles to be licensed in English.


#DRCL gave me the chance to see if Sakamoto Shinichi lives up to his reputation!



 

General Thoughts



Mina Murray, one of the leads of DRCL

Out of the leads, Mina stands out from the start. She's out to prove to everyone that women are equal to men in the 19th Century England. She's resourceful and clever but also won't take anything from anyone!


While she's an adaptation of Mina Harker, I like the changes Shinichi made to her from the book. I wonder if she'll become a mix of Mina and Van Helsing as the series develops.



The boys are fine. they start out bland but start to get some individuality as the volume goes on. Especially when you start seeing the discourse between them after a certain event.


I do feel like they will turn this group into the 19th Century Scooby Gang though.


What I found interesting with them was the mangaka changing the ethnicities of two of the boys to be minorities who, like Mina, would have been discriminated against during this time period. The friendship between the boys takes on an extra layer.


What I found interesting was the gender bending of Lucy Westerna into Luke Westerna. I feel like this approach also adds an additional layer to the relationship between the group and gives the mangaka more creative freedom in writing.



the boys of #DRCL. Going clockwise, Quincy Morris, Joe Suwa, Luke Westerna, and Arthur Hornwood

 

What I Liked


I enjoyed the slow burn of dread at the beginning of the story. Similar to how Dracula started, it sets the tone of the work to the reader. You don't know what's going on yet. You're in the dark alongside these characters.


The art is incredible. There's so much detail in every panel! Some pages had me saying, "Did he do all of this by hand? If so, this mangaka is incredible!". The art is reminiscent of 80's comics' art, notably Sandman and Hellblazer.


Bats swarming around Mina and "Lucy" as Lucy tries to draw Mina into a trance

 

What I Disliked


As I mentioned before, I did not like how long it took for each of the boys (sans Luke) to get their own personality. They felt very cookie-cutter until later on in the volume, especially when Mina is introduced having a unique, spunky attitude and Luke is introduced as being art-focused and reflective. I wished the other 3 boys got unique personalities earlier.


 

Final Thoughts


This is my first Sakamoto Shinichi work to read. I'm surprised I and manga English manga publishers have slept on him for so long (Dark Horse has recently released his prior work, Innocent, a few weeks ago)!


I'd recommend this series if you're a fan of horror, Dracula, or just vampire works in general. #DRCL brings vampires back to their horror roots.


P.S., While the series is available on the Viz Media website, the volume has an extra chapter that is not available on the site. I'd recommend buying the volume, if you can, to get the full experience of the series.

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