Fans of K-pop band Enhypen must be delighted as Ize Press is bringing the Hybe x Enhypen manhwa collaboration in the English language in print format. Dark Moon: The Blood Altar is the latest title released by the publisher in which the main characters represent the seven members of a Korean band.
In a world similar to ours, vampires exist and Sooha has been considered one for a long time just because of a gift she possesses: super strength. No matter where she goes or what she does, she’s always looked at with disdain. The only person who attempted to be her friend when she was just a little kid was Chris. However, the friendship didn’t last long as Chris was killed by a vampire. From that moment, Sooha started to hate vampires with all her might.
Fast-forward a few years and Sooha is transferring to Decelis Academy as a sophomore. She couldn’t be more excited as it’s one of the most prestigious schools, and also because everyone knows that to be admitted, one cannot be a vampire. She’s finally free from baseless assumptions… at least if she can keep her gift a secret. She fully intends to do so, but just a short while after she enters the academy, someone finds out about her.
Heli is a senior at the academy and also hides a special power. Soon after, Sooha gets to meet Heli’s friends—Shion, Jino, Jaan, Solon, Noa and Jakah— all of whom have powers. All seven of them can’t explain the attraction and the feelings they start showing for Sooha, but they know they can’t stay away. Well, all except Solon who tries his best to keep his distance, unsuccessfully. Sooha might finally have friends and a ‘normal’ high school life but there is just one little problem… Sooha’s new friends are all vampires, and she doesn’t know it. When werewolves start sniffing around Sooha as well, Heli might not be able to keep his identity a secret anymore.
Dark Moon: The Blood Altar gives off supernatural and shojo vibes. At the beginning, our female main character, Sooha, looks cold and distant after what happened to her friend Chris. She’s super excited to have entered the academy and when she finds new friends almost right away, she couldn’t be more happy. She’s also a cry-baby as everything, both good and bad news, makes her burst into tears. Her expressions are easy to decipher, both for the readers and for the guys.
Heli, Shion, Hino, Jaan and Solon are the ones who have the most interaction with Sooha right from the beginning. Noa and Jakah get to meet her toward the end of the volume, after Sooha starts getting closer to their friends. Especially to Heli. While he looks out for Sooha, she also seems to look out for him. None of them knows why, but the boys are aware of Sophia’s hatred for vampires, so they have to keep their real identity a secret. But it’s not easy because werewolves from a nearby school and a murderous vampire keep coming on their turf to start problems.
The story reminds me a little bit of Vampire Knight in terms of the academy with the night classes and the main female character having mysterious powers but not knowing where they come from. However, the storytelling is more upbeat and uses comedy to make the readers smile. The narrator is omniscient, so we know the characters’ secrets right from the beginning, albeit the characters themselves don’t know them yet.
The boys and Sooha have this inexplicable feeling (which from the way the story is going I assume is supernatural) that makes them become closer and trust one another almost right away. Once Heli accidentally finds out about Sooha’s power, he almost immediately reveals his own power, and his friends follow through soon after. They don’t worry about the possibility of betraying each other, which seems a little bit unrealistic after having met someone for the first time five minutes earlier.
The cover illustration shows Heli, and having taken a look at the cover from Volume 2, I assume that each volume will represent one of the boys. The publisher gives a nice touch by using foil on the cover and a gloss finish, which makes it look all shiny and smooth. In Volume 1, we can also see some extra illustrations of the boys, and a comment from Heeseung about Heli, the character who represents him.
Dark Moon: The Blood Altar is a collaboration between Hybe and Enhypen. It started as a digital comic on Webtoon and is released in print edition in the English Language by Ize Press. Volume 2 is slated for release in March 2024.
Our review copy from Ize Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.