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Vampire Princess Miyu TV Vol. 1: Initiation

(return to disc)

Content rating: 6
Posted 2001-12-31 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by Cacophanus on 2002-01-01 18:00:00

Many years ago, before I knew much about anime at all, I stumbled across a videotape of the "Vampire Princess Miyu" OAV. Since I have a weakness for cute young Japanese girls with strange powers, and vampires, I purchased it. I remember the episodes as really creepy and satisfyingly wierd.

Alas, not so for the TV series.

spoilers follow

I recently acquired a copy of the first DVD of the "Vampire Princess Miyu" TV series, subtitled "Initiation." After viewing all 3 episodes on the disk last night, I ended up feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. What's the difference? Bearing in mind that I haven't seen the OAV in a decade or so, I think the main problems are

  1. The quality of the animation is poor. The characters often stand still, or move in jerky fashion on a stationary background. At one point, a woman's upper torso and face are shown as she recoils in horror: her eyes and mouth jiggle slightly over a fixed background face. Ick -- it reminds of me of Saturday morning cartoons by Hanna Barbara.
  2. After even 3 episodes, I'm already getting tired of the unchanging episodic nature: a new villain appears, kills someone(s), Miyu tracks it down, Miyu destroys it. No surprises or much character development yet.
  3. Unlike the OAV, in this show, Miyu's companion Lava not only speaks (which immediately lowers the his creepiness quotient), but removes his mask! (on the cover of the DVD, no less!) -- utterly destroying his air of mystery. Bleah.

It appears that Miyu acquires a small troupe of friends in these first few episodes, but they aren't given any chance to develop past the "nerd", "jock", "pretty girl" phase. Perhaps they become more interesting in later episodes, but they just don't grab me enough in the first 90 minutes. It's not clear to me how the series can maintain an air of gothic horror if it continues to feature ordinary schoolgirls as well as Miyu, either.

The menus are nothing special. I didn't bother looking at the gallery of still images in the "Extras" section. I was surprised that there don't seem to be any real breaks between the episodes: the show's beginning titles are shown only once, at the very start of the disk, and the ending titles only once, at the very end of the disk. The music was okay, but not great.

One point in the show's favor: a number of the characters speak relatively slowly and clearly, which makes them easy to understand in the Japanese.

Overall, I was disappointed, and doubt I'll continue with this TV series. I will go back and try the OAV again, though, just to see if it really was as good as I remember.

Equipment used when writing this review:
Cheap Sony DVD player, ancient 21-inch Panasonic TV, stereo speakers.

Content: 6 Video: 6 Sound: 6 Packaging: 8 Menu: 6

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