Last month, while celebrating Vampires of the Scarlet Order’s tenth anniversary, I was checking my memory on a few facts and I searched the terms “vampires” and “scarlet order” on Google. I discovered not only posts about my novels, but posts about a Japanese Manga, or comic book, called Scarlet Order: Dance in the Vampire Bund II. I had to investigate and learn more, so I ordered a copy.
Dance in the Vampire Bund was a manga that ran in fourteen installments from 2005 to 2013 in Japan. Scarlet Order is a sequel that has so far run from 2013 to 2015. There’s also an anime series of Dance in the Vampire Bund that ran in 2010.
So far, I’ve seen a couple of episodes of the anime and read the first installment of Scarlet Order. In essence, Dance in the Vampire Bund tells the story of a group of vampires led by Mina Tepes, who inhabit a man-made island, or Bund, off the coast of Japan and seek peaceful coexistence with humans. Of course there are plenty of humans, vampires, and other monsters who don’t want to see that happen.
As Scarlet Order opens, Mina has been invited to preside over the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Olympics in Japan, but terrorists have taken over the stadium. Mina and her werewolf boyfriend Akira must find a way to stop the terrorists from killing all the humans. After this first adventure is completed, we get into a more complex story. It turns out that several “fangless” vampires were stranded under Mt. Fuji some years before. These are vampires who deliberately removed their fangs in order to better coexist with humans. Somehow they have escaped, but not required blood during the seven years they were trapped. Mina wants to understand the process as a way of helping vampires coexist with humans. In addition to this, a vampire-like creature is terrorizing Tokyo. All in all, it’s quite good adventure.
One element that’s a little unsettling is that although Mina is over 300 years old, she takes the form of a pre-teen girl. As an elder vampire who has no problem with her sexuality, we occasionally see Mina dressed quite scantily or being flirtatious. I found it hard to read these sequences without feeling a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately, they are relatively brief in Scarlet Order. Also, it’s not as though themes of young people turned into immortals isn’t something that’s been explored in fiction before—including in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and my own Vampires of the Scarlet Order.
It’s probably natural to ask whether I feel ripped off in any way by having a popular comic share a title with my novel series. Of course, I was taken aback to see another “Scarlet Order” title featuring vampires, but titles can’t be copyrighted and “Scarlet Order” is a phrase that seems natural to associate with vampires. Unfortunately, in the first volume of Scarlet Order: Dance With the Vampire Bund II, I never saw what the “Scarlet Order” in the title referred to. Of course, in my books, the Scarlet Order is the band of mercenaries founded by Desmond Lord Draco, Alexandra the Greek, and Roquelaure.
Another interesting point, is that most of the episode titles in the anime are deliberate homages to famous vampire books or movies such as: “Interview with the Vampire,” “From Dusk till Dawn,” “Shadow of the Vampire,” “The Lost Boys” and so on. It makes me wonder if the Scarlet Order vampires have more of a following in Japan than I’ve known about!
I’ll likely continue to read Scarlet Order to see how the series turns out and watch at least a few more episodes of the anime. At this point, the naming appears to be a complete coincidence which has led to a happy discovery of some interesting reading. Maybe some Dance in the Vampire Bund fans will also be pleasantly surprised to encounter my Scarlet Order.
My Scarlet Order Vampire novels are: