Dance in the Vampire Bund's opening episode seemed to get a pretty mixed response from those who watched it, but personally I really rather enjoyed what it did, or rather how it attempted to it. An introductory episode is, however, just that, meaning that this series has to try all over again to keep my interest in this second episode.
This particular instalment shifts our focus somewhat towards Akira Kaburagi, who made a brief appearance in the first episode but has his particular story massively fleshed out as we begin the series proper. Come the start of the episode, Akira seems to be a pretty typical high school student (and how many times have I written that on this 'blog before?!), albeit one who gets a strange feeling whenever the topic of vampires comes us - Something which is happening increasingly often after Mina Tepes rather spectacular introduction to the world on national television.
The reason for Akira's unease soon becomes clear as he ends up face to face with Miss Tepes herself, a meeting which leaves Akira with a splitting headache and Mina in tears - Clearly there is a history to this pair, and of course by the end of the instalment we learn properly just what this relationship is. In the meantime however, this episode delights in building this relationship between Mina and Akira, while also interspersing these moments with brief but intense bursts of action, as shadowy forces make clear their intent to kill Mina Tepes; intentions which only serve to hasten the return of Akira's memories and instincts.
It's actually a bit difficult to know what to make of this second episode of Dance in the Vampire Bund in many ways - In some senses it all feels very typical and run-of-the-mill, but at the same time that (thanks largely to some excellent and borderline break-neck pacing) didn't stop it from being utterly entertaining, helped along its way by those occasional but inevitable SHAFT flourishes that gave the episode a visual edge. Of course, with so many questions about the series and the direction it's headed still to be answered, it's too early to make any real judgement on the value of the show just yet, but if nothing else this episode sets out Dance in the Vampire Bund's stall as a series that should at least keep things moving at a fast enough pace to avoid too many long and protracted periods of boredom.