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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dance in the Vampire Bund vol. 1 DVD Impression

Vampire, human and more living side-by-side; will peace or trouble follow?

With the popularity of creative works such as the Twilight Saga there’s no shortage of vampire tales surfacing but not every tale is a copy-cat. As vampire stories go, FUNimation’s Dance in the Vampire Bund does an excellent job of mixing action and intrigue along with solid character design and animation. It’s anything but a copy of the formula seen in Twilight but fans of vampire stories should definitely checkout this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look why.

Story – A series of mysterious attacks in Japan prompt the population to believe vampires do exist. As the debate rages the revelation is made by the queen of the vampires, Mina Tepes, that the mythical figures are real and in society. The beast of legend are very real and want to establish a colony of their own in Japan, their very own bund, land to live and be free. Mina reconnects with her long lost servant, Akira Kaburagi, who has lost his memory yet as he begins to recall these lost memories he works to serve the queen in body, heart and soul. Mina may look young but she is a fierce leader who plays the political games of both humans and vampire with cold and calculated moves. Her only undoing lies in the lost memories of Akira and a blood legacy she has yet to learn. Will Mina be able to maintain control of her kingdom, protect those under her care while remaining with Akira or will the rival royal clans succeed in their conquering of Mina and all vampire?

The story centers around Mina and Akira, both personal and political (for Mina) and while there are other rivals, conflicts and adventures these two are front and center. The story packs a ton of action but the real joy is the mystery, the curveballs thrown at the viewer. Some assumptions can be made but there are many twist and turn not seen. As much as I’d like to revel more I sadly cannot because the true joy of Dance in the Vampire Bund comes from the story. Vampire clans, earth clans and secrets galore, what a joy … especially given the twisted ending.

Animation and Art Style – The gothic look expected is present in Mina’s dress with traditional school uniforms also present, the rest, well its modern day Japan. As the various vampire clans make their appearances, viewers are treated to a collection of period looks and dress. Dance oozes style and class which is also present in each characters design. The core design is nothing new or spectacular in its originality from anime that have come before but it is solid. Characters look good even if they fit some of the personality stereotypes seen throughout anime. A haunting style that is gothic and enchanting, this is a vampire anime to savor in many aspects.

Voice work and Music – Mina has a childish voice that fits during her transformation with a well delivered mixture and range of emotions. Akira pulls off the same excellence with just a lack of surprise you’d expect from a human missing his memory and thrown into these situations. The trickle down in voice work is equally as solid thanks to what many anime fans will recognize as some established voice actors. The intro and ending sequence are excellent for the theme, very solid sound anime.

Miscellaneous – The fact Mina wears such a young look makes this a unique vampire tale. Her purpose is legit as revealed but seeing a vampire tale that takes this risky approach with such a mature child is refreshing when compared to so many pretty and mature vampire tales on the market.

Overall, Dance in the Vampire Bund is a solid vampire story that anime and vampire fans alike will enjoy. Some viewers may have a hard time dealing with Mina at first but she will grow on the viewer as the story does. There is much to this anime, a deep and detailed world that’s only hinted at in these episodes. There is much more than seen but what is revealed is worth savoring.

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