Dance in the Vampire Bund 07

February 23, 2010 at 2:26 AM | Posted in Anime, Episode, Overview | Leave a comment
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Well, being the Shaft fanboy I am, I’ve been watching this show. The premise, of vampires outing themselves in order to establish a human-recognized society, seemed interesting enough. Of course, the economics of them paying off Japan’s entire debt is a bit ridiculous – a sudden injection of that much money into an economy would most certainly lead to hyperinflation, which, even in the presence of real economic growth, would be a very bad thing. With no knowledge of the source material, I found the story to be a bit cryptic. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that are only mentioned in brief. I’ve heard that the manga went deeper into the political intrigue, and I sometimes found myself wanting to see more of that.

I think the first episode deserves mention for its presentation as a regular TV feed. It felt familiar, somewhat reminiscent of the first episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, though not handled as well. Whereas that show’s first episode, while being hilarious, instantly drew you in to the existing story, Dance in the Vampire Bund’s first episode seemed nothing more than a gimmick, not doing anything to move forwards the storytelling.

Since then, I’ve continued to follow the series with my faith in Shaft as the only motivator, and it was only at episode 6 that I felt things were getting interesting. Really, it astounds me to think back just how little has happened until that point. The part that struck me was Akira’s rebellion against Mina. It was nice to finally see some sort of central conflict come about, without dilly dallying about with little hints and character intros/appearances. The malice that had been brewing between vampires and humans were finally coming to a head. And given just how loyal Akira had been to Mina up to this point, the conflict was somewhat unexpected and exciting.

Episode 7 made good on this conflict, bringing about more action scenes, animated and directed surprisingly well for a Shaft production. The ending to it did leave me confused, though. If Mina was against all the violent/elitist vampires, why did she and Akira have to fight? Was it just some sort of abstract “fight because we agreed to fight (even if the agreement was made under a false premise)” thing?

And the way the episode ended of course felt like the end of a season. There are still questions to be answered, particularly regarding Mei Ran, the hard candy girl (VA: Kobayashi Yuu) who played a brief role in the fighting in this episode. I suppose episode 7 signifies the end of an arc, wherein Mina comes clean to Akira, who is now trusting and loyal to her.

Still, it makes me wonder where the show is going next, with 5 episodes left. I’ve found it very hard to get a handle on the pacing of this show. I wonder if we’ll go deeper into the political side of things, now that the state of affairs have been more fully established.

One thing that continues to bother me is the art. The provocative OP dancing and the sometimes present loli nudity are definitely a little off-putting, but I can handle them. It’s something about he color palette that just feels off, as if it’s something from the 70s or 80s. Same goes for the character designs and the effect the oft-moving camera has on the way the characters are lighted. It may be what Shaft was going for, given the style of the OP song (Friends, sung by Aiko Nakano). And even the OP animation is far more traditional than what I’m used to from Shaft.

Then again, there’s something to be said about anime character design these days that doesn’t seem completely derivative. While that alone doesn’t validate the art style for me, it certainly helps this very strange show stand out even more.

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