Vampire Sphere (shortened to "VS" at times) is a Chinese comic or "Manhua" (the Chinese version of the Japanese "Manga" style of comics).
The series is loosely based on elements from White Wolf Publishing Role Playing game Vampire; the Masquerade ("VtM" or "VTM"), with elements of other areas of the Classical World of Darkness ("cWOD") franchise included to broaden its concept. Names, such as clans, are often directly borrowed from the franchise itself. The storyline uses VtM's two most major factions, the Sabbat and Camarilla, as well as the neutral clans, along with between them the main 13 clans of which the franchise is based on.
The comic itself is a dark romance which includes sexual undertones and violence, though the majority of these events occur off screen. This is most likely to stop the comic becoming too mature for its audience, as comical moments also are added to lighten the comics tone.
The comic is sold only in Mainland China and is a series by AKI.7, at one stage it also ran alongside another of AKI.7's works called "Butterfly Plan" (蝶计划, Dié jìhuà).
The released collective volumes often have side stories that cover concepts and side stories. These are either aspects that did not make it into the storyline or were added alternative sides to the stories that did make it into the storyline to give an alternative approach to the same storyline. A few additional "what if..." scenarios that are done purely as entertainment for fans. Therefore the nature of the side chapters can vary greatly.
The result of these side chapters is some are "canon" while others purely entertainment, with some even border lining being both. One such example of a side chapter appearing both canon and non-canon is Side Chapter 2, which can be both canon due to how it fills gaps in regards to what happens in Fan Le Lao's Perspective. Yet it could be also considered non-canon because of its silly aspect with Fan Le Lao appearing super deformed at times, something the comic rarely features except in its silliest moments.
The storyline focuses mostly on the struggles of the Nam Gong sisters Zhao Yan, Xi Yan and Yue Jian and that of the power struggle between the Sabbat and Camarilla. The general story of the Manhua is that Set is reborn as a human with the eventual destiny to reclaim his lost power as sealed by Osiris long ago. This causes events to move and both the Sabbat and Camarilla to react to his return.
Two of the Nam Gong sisters, Zhao Yan and Xi Yan were born to fulfill a purpose as the last hope of humanity. Yue Jian, on the other hand, was a fluke creation of the cloning process. Because she was born, however, their creator Professor Nan Gong accepted her none the less, despite having displayed flaws with being a mistake in the cloning process as a child.
Since there was only meant to be two of them, the three had to under go a selection process. The Demon Hunter's Organisation, who paid for their creation, would send two off to become refined ladies and Hunters imbued with Mei Yue Yin. Since Yue Jian was an accidental creation, Xi Yan decides to cause her to have an accident to remove her from the process and increase her own chances of being selected. When the serum is injected into the two girls, Xi Yan had been unaware of her father knowing about what she had done; her serum was switched for a fake. Instead, Yue Jian was given her dosage in secret, the serum being restricted by medicine her father gave her to hide what he had done.
As a result, when the Sabbat infiltrated their school a number of years later, Xi Yan was not protected from becoming a Vampire. She is then force to betray her friends and family by Yi Sai. And thus this sets off the events of the current storyline.
Humanity; one of the continued themes of the storyline is the struggles in regards to values that mortal humans invest in. Vampires, being demons and not human, have different perspectives then those of humans. For example, the Demon Hunter's Organisation is generally believed to represent good intentions and are taken to be likened to heroes and saviours of mankind. However, it becomes apparent as the storyline goes on, that they themselves are corrupt and their seemingly pure intentions are not. This is further still explored by the Deities Set, Isis and Osiris, to which whom "evil" and "good" have lost all their meaning and instead philosophy becomes the replacement for morality.
Destiny; Another theme is destiny, that while events happen as destiny expects within the storyline, there is always an unexpected element that the said destiny didn't take into account. The first time this is seen is early on. Originally there was intended to be 2 Nam Gong sisters, but a third unexpected sister is produced. Zhao Yan and Xi Yan were both expected to fulfil the role of having Mei Yue Yin inside of them, yet due to Professor Nan Gong's choice, Xi Yan's was given to her sister Yue Jian instead. Ge Chen is destined to kill his lover, generally understood to be Yue Jian, but he believes its his destiny to also fight the enablable, as he notes when talking to Yue Jian that experiences means a person sometimes does not act as they should.
Love; as the comic is a dark romance, the theme of "love" is an underlying tone. For example, Fan Le Lao is obsessed with Zhao Yan, but she does not return it. He goes to great effort to prove that the only one holding back their relationship is her beliefs. This leads to the situation wherein even though Zhao Yan wishes her freedom, she ends up relying on his power.
Suffering'; another theme the comic explores is suffering and the trials the characters go through which shape their experiences. As mentioned before, Yue Jian puts value on life due to her near-death experience. Xi Yan also goes through suffering to the point she looses hope, becoming just a pawn for Yi Sai. Ge Chen himself has to suffer as a leader. In all aspects, the comic pushes the idea suffering is part of the process of getting stronger, as the characters see the stakes raise as time progresses.
Power: The storyline constantly concerns itself with the aspect of gaining power to progress forward and get even more power. The idea of giving up said chance of gaining power puts an individual at a huge disadvantage later. For Fan Le Lao, gaining power is a stepping stone to getting what he was denied once as a child, but notes at the end of it he has to find a place for him. For Ge Chen, gaining power is about protecting his peers and keeping the Camarilla together as a leader. However, it is noted by Fan Le Lao already that the end of all the events of the storyline, the biggest issue he will face is simply finding his place in the world once he has everything he wants.
VS and VtM differencesEdit
Vampires can venture out in the day without fearing being impacted by Sunlight, removing the most major weakness of Vampires. They can eat food, something only Thin-Bloods can pull off successfully in VtM, but more powerful Vampires cannot. However, they have limits in VS and cannot eat the same as a mortal can.
Vampires also have a "human form" and a "Demonic form", the difference being noted that in their true Demonic form they have glowing red eyes.
In addition, while the VtM series states that Vampire can only reproduce via Embracing a mortal, in VS, a bite that does not kill a mortal will leave them a Vampire. This is more in-line with Vampires made popular by the media in general. However, one of the elements of Embracing from VtM that has been kept is the result of the transformation, wherein for a period of time the new Vampire hungers for Blood. The act of the sire giving blood to its childe, however, is done afterwards to control the young Vampire, who will becoming a blood-thirsty demon purely if they do not do this. This is demonstrated by Zhen Mi, as well as Vampires used by the Sabbat early on in their firt attacks.
Though the Vampires of Vampire Sphere have access to spells, the abilities are not as defined as the VtM "Disciplines". Further more, the Demon Hunter's Organisation were shown to be able to pull off some spells that Vampires themselves have access to, such as Flight and "Invisible Space".
For more information on VS Vampires see "Vampire".
The Sabbat only have their core clans the Tzimisce Clan and the Lasombra Clan, and all the other Allied Vampires from other clans are left out entirely. As VS occurs mostly in a modern day setting, in terms of some clans like the Cappadocians, they were extinct long before the modern era. This removed the need to even mention these clans at all.
For the most part, Clan Weaknesses don't exist, save those of the Nosferatu Clan and Gangrel Clan, as apparent by their appearances. Others like the Malkavian Clan use merely the name of the clan and do not suffer from Derangements, despite its importance to their clans very nature.
In addition, some clans do not behave the way they should do as expected in VtM, such as the aforementioned Malkavian clan, though this is a result of their lack of clan weakness. Other clans, such as the Assamites maintain their links to their role as assassins. Two more examples are notable as the Brujah Clans nature as philosophers and activists are noted, though implied into 3 beliefs, and the Gangrel Clan links to Nature along with their behaviour thereafter.
The storyline mainly focuses on the modern day part of the VtM storyline, which is considered the default setting of VtM, as featured in "Modern nights". In fact, the earliest recorded time period by the VS storyline itself merely notes that the 13 bloodlines became known in the 14th century. It currently leaves out the franchises other two settings "Dark Ages" and "Victorian age" which cover several of the interlinking parts of cWOD, including a number of VtM supplement books.
Though Cain made it into VS, he is barely touched upon and known only that he created the first Vampire bloodline. However, Corpse Hand is said to be his own hand, so unlike VtM, his existence is without doubt. However, the Camarilla, who in the actual VtM franchise doubt his existence, own this Sacred Weapon resulting in the Camarilla not doubting at all of hi existence. Cain, however, does maintain a strong influence on the VS storyline, as the Corpse Hand reveals the truth of the VS world due to its strong links with Cain himself.
While the Antediluvian are technically not part of the storyline, Set is the VS counterpart to Set. Cain himself exists in both VtM and VS as aforementioned, despite most of his storyline being removed and what is included being reworked. In addition to Set being based on Set, Osiris' conflict with him made it into the storyline, though is made more of an important event. Isis, Osiris' wife and sister, has a very minor role in the VtM storyline, but receives a major one in VS as the donor of the Nan Gong sisters' DNA.