Friday, 5 February 2010

Dance in the Vampire Bund - Episode 5

After awakening from a dream (or was it merely a memory?), Akira finds Mina in his bed... again. There's no time to dwell on that however, as it's time to join the vampire queen for some high school hijinks!

Thankfully, the slice of life school stuff (well, as slice of life as you can get when it involves a vampire) doesn't last for too long in this fifth episode of Dance in the Vampire Bund, but it does give us a glimpse of Mina's intellect as well as the odd juxtaposition of popularity and fear her presence instils within her classmates. As she undertakes a cooking class, it's left to Yuki to partner with her - A decision which seems to lead to a bit of good olf-fashioned love rivalry when she spots Mina sporting a ring given to Akira by Yuki herself.

Aside from all of this, Mina also has some political problems to attend to, as Japan's Prime Minister announces that he'll be turning down the vampire's "offer" (if you can call it that considering it's far closer to blackmail) as an opportunity to inscribe his own place in history and leave a legacy for his family. With any possibility of compromise severed, it's perhaps no surprise to see Mina and her band of merry vampires turning to less savoury tactics to get their way, in a plot point which I'm assuming will continue to develop beyond this episode alone.

If Mina is having problems, then the same can be said for Akira, as he finds himself set upon by a group of vampires boasting the uniform of his school - An assault he seems unable to fend off (most likely because he doesn't want to reveal his true werewolf form to Yuki) until help arrives from another quarter entirely.

You know, the more I watch Dance in the Vampire Bund the more it confuses me - There's nothing wrong with it per se, and it seems to be pretty solid in more or less everything it tries to do, yet despite all this it's simply unable to grab me. I'm not sure whether it's the characterisation, the voice acting or the story itself (or perhaps a combination of the three) but there's nothing here which manages to excite me or draw me into the world it's trying to depict. It almost feels at times like it's trying to be a jack of all trades and thus ends up as a master of none - It does school drama and romance but without any real feeling, political intrigue but in far too shallow a fashion, and action too sporadic to really get your fangs into. All things said, maybe the series just needs a more definite direction from the viewer's perspective, something which I suspect is sorely lacking at the moment. Considering my hopes for this series (despite having never read the manga) I have to confess that I'm disappointed.

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