Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Anime Review: Dance in the Vampire Bund

Watched an anime recently called "Dance in the Vampire Bund." Still not sure if I liked it, hated it, or got creeped out. Let me explain.

The Good: Let me start by saying this show does a lot more things right than it does wrong. The plot unfolds in a logical and compelling manner that will keep you glued to the television set almost to the very end. Almost; we'll get to that part later. The show also manages to avoid a common pitfall in anime where the characters have superpowers, where the powers eclipse the story in importance; an extreme example would be a show like "Bleach," where a 5 minute fight gets stretched out to 4 or 5 episodes just to show off how flashy all the superpowers are. In "Dance," the superpowers of each character stay where they belong: subservient to the story. The characters themselves are all fascinating to see in action; yes, even the annoying flirt has something of value to contribute to the story. If you stick to this show all 12 episodes, this is what will keep you going.

The Bad: That ending. It wasn't bad so much as it just came out of nowhere. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who wants to watch the show, but suffice it to say I still can't fathom why Akira's final fight was against this character. To put it in perspective, it felt like the Mass Effect 3 ending of anime. The other complaint I have is how cheesy Mina's lines can get at times. The ending scene of the first episode is just her giving us an info dump about how she's going to set up a home for all vampires; on national television no less. For being the leader of a species for whom secrecy is next to breathing, she is surprisingly lacking in subtlety. This isn't Mina's only problem, which leads me to...

The Creepy: Mina seems to have a problem staying dressed, and I'm not even talking about her superpower-form. The super-form is at least a grown woman who isn't that hard to look at. Mina is... oh, how do I put this? Whenever Mina strips down in her normal form I expect Chris Hansen to walk into the room and ask me to take a seat. Mina, for whatever reason, stopped aging at around age 10. Since these shots usually don't last more than about a half a second I was able to ignore this and continue watching... except for the second episode. I ended up skipping about five minutes of that one for reasons of "what the hell, Japan? What. The. Hell?" I understand why they made Mina such a tease, and let me clarify that it does tie into the plot and her relationship with Akira. It just could have, and should have, been handled in a way that doesn't make the viewer wonder "OH GOD WHY!?"

I'd give this show an overall 7/10, two points above average. I want to stress again that the plot and storytelling are excellent, and in spite of the mishandled ending, some cheesy dialogue, and the animators making you want to call the cops at times, I still highly recommend seeing this show.