Dance in the Vampire Bund is based on a manga series by Nozomu Tamaki. The anime was directed by Akiyuki Shinbo and Masahiro Sonoda and was produced by Shaft. The 12 episodes of the series aired in Japan from January 7-April 1, 2010. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American rights for Dance in the Vampire Bund. However, with the merger between FUNimation and Crunchyroll, Crunchyroll could now potentially hold the North American rights for the series.
This is another series that I watched the first episode of years ago, but then dropped and didn’t pick it back up again until now. I was curious to see if, or how, my opinion of the series might change after watching it in its entirety.
Dance in the Vampire Bund is a series about the emergence of vampires into the human world. It also shows how fear on both sides changes the world as vampires and humans come into contact with those who want peace. The main character of the series is Mina Tepes, the princess of all vampires. Mina appears in the guise of a prepubescent girl, but she is actually much older than that. Mina wants to establish a special district for vampires called “The Bund,” and offers to pay off Japan’s national debt. However, for most of the first half of the series, Mina’s efforts are thwarted both by frightened human politicians and extremist vampires.
A high school student named Akira Kaburagi Regendorf lost his memory a year earlier and can’t recall anything prior to the accident that caused his memory loss. After Mina appears at his school during the second episode of the series, he begins to slowly regain his memories, with the first thing he remembers being the fact that he’s a werewolf and is supposed to be Mina’s protector. Akira has a friend at school named Yuki Saegusa, and it’s obvious that she’s interested in him. As Akira’s memories return and he realizes he’s in love with Mina, Yuki becomes upset. But as Yuki gets to know Mina and goes through a harrowing situation with the extremist vampires, the two girls become friends. It should be noted that when there is narration being done in the series, it’s being done by Yuki.
Another girl named Mei Ren is introduced, and it turns out she’s also a human who can transform into a beast. She’s a rather mysterious character for most of the series but plays an important role near the end. From what I’m seeing, it appears that she’s an anime-only character. And as I think back to when I was watching the series, Mei Ren never felt as if she naturally fit into the story. If she is an anime-only character, then having this feeling about her would make sense.
During the first half, it’s revealed that Mina is the chairwoman of the school that Akira and Yuki attend, and Mina herself will also sometimes attend class with them. Because of this, the school serves as an important setting for the series.
The second half of the series sees Mina establishing “The Bund,” as well as the resistance she continues to get from the extremist vampires. Mina has an adult form that she hides, because if this form is revealed, Mina would be forced to marry one of the Three Nobles, who, like herself are “True Blood” vampires, and bear their child. The final few episodes see Akira regaining all of his memories and having to make an important decision on how to move forward with Mina.
With this series having a focus on vampires, you can expect to see the tropes associated with them. And since the series includes these tropes, the depictions include blood and nudity. Crunchyroll has given Dance in the Vampire Bund a mature rating on its service, and after seeing it, I can completely agree with this decision.
There were some things about the animation that, for me, at least, were a little off-putting. First, there was just something about the design of several of the characters’ faces and how they were drawn would make them look a little “plastic” at times. And, in Episode Two, there was a blue tint in much of the footage. The worst of the blue tint was seen as outlines around the characters, and this was highly distracting.
When the anime was released, it was controversial because of the depiction of Mina as a prepubescent girl and showing her nude or nearly nude in the series. In the second episode, there’s even a scene of Akira applying a special gel on Mina while she’s mostly nude. Story-wise, I understand why Mina appears to be prepubescent, but it does make for uncomfortable viewing. There is also a depiction of one of the female high school students who is turned into a vampire having an interest in a younger boy (a 13-year-old), which viewers can also potentially find disturbing.
I thought there were some interesting ideas in Dance in the Vampire Bund but knowing that at least one character in here is anime-only, it makes me wonder how many changes were made to the story between the anime and the original manga source material. And the way the anime ends, the stage seems to be set for the story to continue. But, as of this writing, it’s been 12 years and there has never been a follow-up anime to Dance in the Vampire Bund. Because of this, the ending isn’t as satisfactory as it could be.
When it comes to this anime, mileage is definitely going to vary. Some viewers will have issues with Mina being depicted as a prepubescent girl. Yes, Mina is technically much older than she looks, but some viewers will still have problems with the sexualization of a character who looks prepubescent. Other viewers might have problems with the amount of blood that appears.
Dance in the Vampire Bund is a series I can truly only recommend for viewers who are 18 years of age and older, due to its “Mature” rating. Obviously, viewers who don’t care for vampires aren’t going to find anything to enjoy in the series, since it revolves around vampires. The series will appeal to fans of vampire stories who have a high tolerance for blood and nudity.
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