The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess Vol. 1, written by Kotei Kobayashi with illustrations by riichu and translation by Evie Lund, is a light novel about a vampire princess named Terakomari Gandesblood. After something occurs when Komari is twelve, she withdraws from the world, hiding in her room reading and writing for three years. Now, thanks to her father, she is not only forced back into the world but appointed as a Commander with 500 warmongering soldiers who favor strength. The problem is that Komari is weak, no good at magic, and does not drink blood. The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess Vol. 1 drags near the beginning, but Komari and her world are hilarious, stressful, and page-turning as the story unfolds. 

A Lead That Inspires Irritation and Concern

Introverts have it rough when forced to engage with the world. It is challenging for adults, and Komari is still a teen with all the angst that entails. One moment she is cocky; the next, she has no confidence. Add on her elite bloodline, and you have a vampire teen that annoys you even as you feel sympathy for her circumstances. Often, I had to remind myself this was a teenager and, regardless of what I may like to think of my teen years, I was as annoying or worse than Komari. They picked the right narrator in The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess Vol. 1 because Komari does not bore with her responses. 

Komari is both lucky and unlucky. As Crimson Lord to the Seventh Unit, a unit comprised of members thrown out from other divisions for their violent natures, Komari is unlucky. But with her new lecherous maid, Villhaze, Komari has someone in her corner. She’s also lucky because her accidental murder of an angry soldier for her first meeting with her soldiers staves off the masses. That, combined with Komari’s beauty, shields her at first, but her character and grudging kindnesses are what bring this ragtag group to her side. 

The World/Characters Are Unique & Just Getting Started

The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess Vol. 1 cover art of Komari in red military outfit sitting on a throne
The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess Vol. 1 cover courtesy of Yen Press

The tale of the person with no abilities learning they have a significant ability is well-trod; however, The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess Vol. 1 works because of the characters in the story. There are exciting characters. It was hilarious reading her rap battle with Captain Mellaconcey. The fight with Yohann left me howling. Overkill is an understatement. 

The Dark Core adds a fascinating aspect because when people die, as long as they are near the core, they will resurrect in a short time. At first, I wondered why Komari would care if she died since she would just come back, but coming back does not stop the pain of dying. Nor is Komari Happy Death Day-style accepting of death. The story builds tension on multiple fronts, from Komari’s fear of discovery to what happened at Komari’s school to the Inverse Moon.

Please Retire Groping As A Comedic Vehicle

The issue I have with the light novel is the groping at the story’s beginning. Despite this attempt at comedy, women and girls touching Komari without permission do not become funny because it’s another girl doing it. I hope they do not include this in later volumes because it does not aid the story. In fact, it harms it because I struggled to continue reading at the beginning. I kept going because of Komari’s first-person narration, which has humor, fear, and bravado. 

If they continue to focus on the story, with Komari’s narration and flesh out her soldiers and captains, The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess will get better. There are a lot of possible directions the story can go with Komari, the Empress, and the other nations that we know little about. And for Komari, who is not only weak but opposed to violence, it will be fascinating to see where it goes.