HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Dance in the Vampire Bund They're coming out of the coffinBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Masahiro Sonoda, Akiyuki Shinbo
Stars: Aoi Yuki, Yuichi Nakamura, Akeno Watanabe, Asuka Tani, Chiwa Saito, Eri Kitamura, Joji Nakata, Ken Narita, Shizuka Ito, Yu Kobayashi, Yuko Kaida, Nozomo Tamaki
Genre: Horror, Animated, Fantasy, TV Series
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rumours of vampire attacks in Tokyo are tonight’s topic on a tacky talk show where celebrities vote whether the story is true or false. The show goes spectacularly awry after a little blonde girl in the audience named Mina Tepes (voiced by Aoi Yuki) unmasks celebrity panel member Seichi Hirai, teen heartthrob and star of a new blockbuster movie about vampires, as the real bloodsucker behind those murders. A live audience watch in horror as handsome Hirai morphs into a hideous monster and splatters his fans until he is destroyed by young Mina who reveals herself as the immortal queen of the vampires. She then announces her intention to co-exist with human beings by founding an autonymous vampire state on Japanese soil!

Vampires occupy a small but significant subgenre in anime including fan-favourites such as Vampire Hunter D (1985) and Vampire Princess Miyu (1988), the videogame derived fight-fest Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge (1997), wacky comedy Master of Mosquiton (1996) and the eccentric Marvel Comics adaptation Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980). Oddly anime genius Osamu Tezuka made a live action/animation hybrid called Vampire (1968) that wasn’t about vampires at all but werewolves. Go figure. On the other hand Tezuka did dally with the most famous fictional vampire of them all in his comedic Don Dracula (1982) whilst Bram Stoker’s creation also played a significant supporting role in the charming Dororon Enma (1973) made by that other pioneering anime auteur, Go Nagai.

Dance in the Vampire Bund holds an array of ideas intriguing enough to eclipse these earlier stabs at the vampire genre but is tragically, if not fatally, flawed by its relentless pandering to the so-called lolicon or lolita complex market. Its none-too-subtle fetishization of pre-teen heroine Mina Tepes and her quasi-paedophilic flirtation with teenage werewolf hero Akira Kaburagi (Yuichi Nakamura) is unsettling even for anime fans accustomed to the more salacious aspects of the medium. Granted, some would argue that as a centuries old immortal being Mina is not really a child and the series hints that an “adult” incarnation lurks somewhere beneath some sort of curse or magic spell. Nevertheless the constant images of Mina either scantily clad, subject to leering camera angles or naked whilst engaged in sexually suggestive behaviour, are likely to annoy those less patient with lolicon anime’s excesses or at worst, outrage those who believe all anime are aimed at sexual deviants.

Which is a crying shame because otherwise Dance of the Vampire Bund has a fair few good things going for it. Based on a manga by Nozomu Tamaki, who cameos as himself on the celebrity panel in episode one confronting his own creation (!), the series draws episode titles from famous vampire movies - e.g. Interview with the Vampire (1994) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) - and offers novel twists on vampire lore. Here, vampires are able to walk in daylight thanks to a drug called Shade Gel that prevents the sun destroying their cells for a limited time, whilst some choose to become “fangles”, creatures who have removed their fangs so as to live in peace and interbreed with humans.

The bulk of the plot concerns Akira, whose courtship by demure schoolgirl Yuki (Chiwa Saito) is complicated when he discovers he belongs to a clan of werewolves sworn to safeguard Princess Mina, whom flashbacks imply has a romantic history with our hero that for mysterious reasons he can’t quite recall. Akira’s ongoing attempts to protect the princess from rampaging spider-men, would-be assassins - including, in one episode a CNN news broadcaster turned into a vampire suicide bomber - and other vampires that don’t want to play nice, lead Mina to enrol as at his school which, the student council is aghast to learn, she herself founded decades ago! Thus foiling their attempt to have her expelled. Mina’s toxic presence leads to an outbreak of vampirism among the students, driving Akira to organise his classmates into protecting themselves. Even Akira’s abilities prove ineffectual against certain vampires, which is where the series introduces the mysterious, candy-sucking Mei Ren (Yu Kobayashi) who, besides being a kick-ass vampire slayer and the show’s most enticing sexpot, drops hints Mina is not quite as benevolent as she appears.

Dance of the Vampire Bund is most compelling when it delves into politics. As with the US television series True Blood, when vampires “come out of the coffin” they bring a whole host of socio-political issues with them. The series is closer to science fiction films such as Alien Nation (1988) or District 9 (2009) in posing the question what would society be like if an alien species demanded the right to occupy native soil. Mina manipulates Japanese politicians by offering to use her vast resources to single-handedly erase the national debt, then resorts to kidnap, blackmail over the course of the increasingly darkening storyline. She is an intriguingly ambiguous anti-heroine. Like Akira, the viewer is never certain her actions are laudible or not, even though the shows insistence on maintaining her kawaii cuteness results in frustratingly inconsisent characterisation.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1823 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: