Monday, December 20, 2010

Dance in the Vampire Bund – review

Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

First aired: 2010

Contains spoilers

Dance in the Vampire Bund was another vampire orientated anime series, based on an original manga, from 2010.

The opening episode, I have to say, was stunningly done as a concept, but thereafter, for me at least, the series began to fall flat. There is also an element that perhaps felt a little unsavoury.

news report
The opening episode has a TV report of a woman being attacked by a vampire killer – though this woman survives. We cut to a studio and we are watching a kind of cross between a gameshow and crimewatch – for want of a better description. A huge scales of justice tower above the set and balls fall into the scales dependant on the attitude of the panel of experts, the studio audience and comments gathered from the streets. The question – “Do vampires exist?”

in the audience
The panel is divided and mainly made up of actors/actresses with a vampire manga creator and a professor. Various bits of evidence are given and a girl, in the studio audience, asks some searching questions. There is footage shown from a so called vampire queen, who appears in studio.

arm regeneration
She has the arm of the killer (a none human looking thing) encased in a protective shell that will prevent it from burning in the sun. The entire reason for being there is to lure the vampire out and it happens to be one of the stars of an upcoming vampire film who is on the show as a panellist.

vampires revealed
He has replaced his forearm with a cybernetic one but grabs the real one and reattaches it. The monstrous thing merging with his own flesh. He then bites an actress before the girl in the audience reveals herself as Mina Tepes (Aoi Yūki) the real vampire queen. The vampire takes his ‘true form’- a reflection of the state of the vampire’s soul – in this case a giant lizard. He is quickly defeated. Vampires have publicly revealed themselves and Mina means to establish a homeland, of sorts, on a bund of reclaimed land off Tokyo.

In episode two the students of a school are abuzz with talk of the vampire Mina, bar Akira (Yuichi Nakamura) who seems non-plussed by events. Suddenly Mina enters the class – she is now a student there. When Nanami (Shozuka Itō), the student council chairman later complains about the presence of vampires in the school it is revealed that the school is Mina’s, she actually established it originally and it is designed for use by vampires.

student council leader turned
We discover that Akira has amnesia and later we discover it was a mission that caused this as he is actually a werewolf, sworn to protect Mina – though he cannot remember that at first. There are an on-running variety of storylines where various vampire and human extremists try to interfere with the school and/or the bund but to be honest I felt little attachment or peril and it felt a tad disjointed to me, as though there were much bigger storylines bubbling behind the surface but nothing of them was revealed.

Mina's true form
One of these storylines might have been (but again I felt no buy in) the fact that Mina has to marry one of three True Blood princes as she is the only female head of a True Blood family line. This ties in with the Akira/Mina romantic subtext and this is where the unsavoury element comes into this. Though chronologically older, the body form of Mina is pre-pubescent. There was a degree of sexualisation that, whilst it was countermanded by the purity tests she has to take once a decade (proving her virginity), was still beyond the pale. She keeps her soul’s true form secret as it is a voluptuous version of herself and it is capable of becoming pregnant – if that were known she’s have to marry a Prince.

The animation was of a quality one would expect but this left me cold, despite having some interesting moments. 5 out of 10. The imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

Would you agree Dance in the Vampire Bund is anime's answer to True Blood?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

No, not really - there are many better vampire anime out there... Hellsing or Hellsing ultimate (I have to get around to reviewing them, I realise), Trinity Blood or Shiki...

Of them all Shiki is probably more the anime answer to True Blood

Thanks for comment though, appreciated :)