Thursday, 21 January 2010

Dance in the Vampire Bund - Episode 3

Come the end of the last episode of Dance in the Vampire Bund, the amnesiac Akira finally remembered a rather important part of his life, that being that he's actually a werewolf, which is always handy to keep in mind I would imagine. Anyhow, with Akira saving Mina Tepes from her attacker, we're all set for episode three... and Mina deciding to join Akira's school.

Yes, that's right, the old transfer student cliché has come to pass once again, with Mina joining Akira's class at the school much to the shock of all and sundry - In particular, the school's student council, who protest long and loud about this development. However, what they don't know is that Mina actually owns, and indeed founded, the school within which they stand, which rather makes any of their points somewhat moot. Despite this, Mina still offers a deal with the council, agreeing to leave the school if they can manage to capture Akira during the course of the afternoon' a bet which sends the whole school into a frenzy trying to find and catch him.

Of course, the first thing I thought of at this moment was "didn't Code Geass do this sort of thing a couple of times?", and sadly Code Geass' takes on this kind of romp around the school were more amusing and downright fun than this rather stale affair which really lacked any kind of excitement. Thankfully there were at least some new plot points to mull over, from the appearance of what seems to be another vampire within the school, some suggestions as to Akira's relationship with Yuki prior to his memory loss, and some wider glimpses of Mina's plans for the vampires moving forward. It's perhaps the last of these points which might well make or break this series - At the moment Dance in the Vampire Bund feels like a bit of a jumbled mess with no coherent structure to hold it together; it's almost crying out for some major plot points to be revealed to glue things together somewhat, and whatever plans the vampires have in store is the obvious candidate for that. I'm still hoping that this kind of shift in focus will turn this series into something special, and right now it really needs it - When an episode of anime leaves you counting the things you've seen done better in other series before, then it clearly needs an injection of something fresh above and beyond SHAFT's animation tricks alone.


JW said...

Lelouche's squeal of terror never fails to make me smile.

Perhaps it would have been better to establish the characters in a brief plot line first and then let loose with a little silliness.

This episode feels like it should be farther up in the series somehow...

Lazarus Drake said...

It isn't as simple as you made it out to be, Hanners.

Yes, seeing Lelouch the Demon King run like a scared schoolboy was hilarious. But this scene isn't intended to be funny, not in the same way. I think it's more like, let's say, a visual aid; think of the scene running in parallel (the one between Mina and the Japanese Government) as a game of cat and mouse. That should clue you well enough.

I consider this scene as a more subtle version of the usual artifices SHAFT uses, a metaphor if you will. While there is humor, it's more like the dry wit that thrives in "Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" or Bakemonogatari. In fact, quite a lot of things in this anime remind me of the latter.

Also, comparing this to Code Geass is a mistake. Forget the fact that comparing ANY two anime is in bad taste. This and Code Geass are totally different. Other crew, other genre, other demographic target (DIVB is pure seinen, while Code Geass is shounen). It's quite normal that they would represent the same scene from two different perspectives. And I can assure, you, the "chasing someone throughout the school for kicks" motif isn't original to either of them. Hell, if I remember correctly, that is even older than Ranma.

Yes, it is of a jumbled mess, I agree. That is the original mangaka's fault. I like the way Nozomu draws, but you can feel he is originally a hentai author, God bless him. He wrote what "Twilight" should have been, but the guy didn't manage to grasp the concept of consistent, multi-chaptered storyline until the end of volume 2. From what I understood, he gave SHAFT carte blanche and encouraged them to be original; this may have just been the reason.

Personally, I like what SHAFT did with this anime. They took an excellent (if slightly jumbled in the beginning) story and made it even better. They managed to give it a coherent beginning and added their own spin, while keeping the original style.
All in all, this is what I consider to be art. You can't say that about many animation films, I think, and SHAFT managed to pull it off pretty much every time

greykarasu said...

Why this series is not as good as Bakemonogatari?

Maybe these are answers:

1)Shaft's over the edge...

The stuff themselves admit that they have too many projects in parallel and struggling to maintain the quality.

I could not find how many animes they are making this season but obviously too many: recruits need training.

2) The original Manga being a character intensive work:If a play is about a boy saying "I love you" to a girl, then the attention of the audience should be veered away to the plot.

Plot sometimes can be a hindrance for creating a good fiction.

Making an atmospheric amine takes a different sort of skills from animating a plot and dialogue intensive novel, and sure it would be time consuming.

As to Mina transferring into a high school, it would be the most sensible and realistic action, if there were any real vampires and they were trying to desensitise us about their presence. Shaft could have done a better job though.

Anyway, I wish Mina stop calling herself Warawa... it's wrong and sounds stupid to me. It meant "child" in archaic Japanese, not befitting to a queen!!