HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Dance in the Vampire Bund They're coming out of the coffin
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 SeriesBuy from Amazon
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 2969 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: