It’s been a few weeks since the end of the winter 2010 anime season, and I’m finally getting around to writing some final impressions posts on the series that I watched but didn’t blog. Blame the lateness on my laziness and my finals. As a “Final Thoughts” post, this post just contains some loosely organized (or unorganized thoughts) I had for the show, so don’t expect to see a well-structured review. Anyways, this post is about Dance in the Vampire Bund, a Shaft production that didn’t turn out to be what I expected.
Even though it’s based on a manga series, the Dance in the Vampire Bund anime has a very different story than the manga (at the mangaka’s request I believe). The story is still about Mina the vampire princess trying to set up an island off the coast of Japan for her kind, but the details are different from the manga. The problem with the story is that it didn’t accomplish much. The character and relationship developments were okay as Akira regained his memories and reunited with Mina, but not much happened when it came to the conflict between Mina’s forces and their enemies. Mina, Akira, and allies killed a couple of minor villains and that was about it. There was the significant revelation at the end of the series, but that just came out of the blue and only had some connections to the battle in the last episode, and in the end nothing was explained about the motivation of the bad guys. I suppose the same can be said for many shows that are based on currently running mangas, but I was hoping the story would have made better progress given that Shaft had creative freedoms with the story.
Moving on, the action in Vampire Bund was also a little disappointing. For one thing, I distinctly remember Mina fighting and killing some commandos in the trailer, but that never happened in the series (I was informed that it was a scene in the manga). The series just wasn’t as gloriously violent as I thought based on what was in the trailer.The quality of the action was also inconsistent. A lot of the fights are fast movements without much detail. The fight between Mina and Akira was decent, but the final battle between Akira and Mei Ran was not that good. For much of the fight we had Akira and Mei Ran as a blue and a yellow streak clashing with each other. The rest of that fight wasn’t impressive either as it consisted of simple unidirectional movements and slow-mo close-ups. It looked like they were running low on budget for detailed animation.
Although the action and story weren’t that great, I did like some aspects of Vampire Bund. The characters designs and art were quite nice, and I found the Vampire Maid skits at the end of the episodes to be very amusing. The maids were probably the best part of the show. The music wasn’t bad either, and I liked both the opening and ending songs. As for Mina’s much talked about nude scenes, I’m rather indifferent to those. I don’t really see a problem with them, but at the same time I’m not really into nude little girls either.
There is nothing especially bad about Vampire Bund, but on the other hand there is nothing especially good either. Everything about the show hovers around the average mark. I had somewhat high expectations after seeing the trailer for the series, and the series didn’t really deliver (mostly in the action department), and so I found the series to be a bit disappointing. The ending has the series set up for another season, and I might watch it in hopes that it will be better than this first season.