SOME recent anime I've watched:
Vampire Princes Miyu, TV episodes 1-11. I bought the first three DVD's of this show, and watched them, but I'm unlikely to go back and re-watch them, and unlikely to buy any more. The OAV's, of course, are classics: dark, mysterious, threatening, atmospheric. I think most people hoped the TV show would be the same, and my main disappointment is that it isn't.
For one thing, it's just too damned bright. The VPM OAV's have some sun-lit scenes, but these are contrasted with shadowy churches and night scenes in forest or park. One of the best things about them, to my thinking, is the gorgeous, ethereal, watercolor backgrounds that are used to convey the sinister mood of the series. VPM TV is exactly the opposite: everything is bright and cheery, almost all the time. Even in the evening scenes, when Miyu and her posse sit on top of the torii, watching the sunset over her cemetery, the sunset and the cemetery illuminated by it are brilliantly lit.
Which leads to another criticism: the art just isn't very good. The character designs aren't as sophisticated or interesting as they are in the OAV's, and the problem with over-bright backgrounds in what is textually a very dark series may be a reflection not just on poor judgment by the director, but lack of competence by the staff. The backgrounds in general are very poorly painted: simple shapes, devoid of detail or texture, and sometimes even basic things like perspective are bungled so badly that they are distracting even to the casual viewer.
The show's staff seems to have tried to graft all the mahou shoujo furniture onto Miyu: she has acquired a cute pink cabbot/demon-thing mascot; Larva sheds his mask now and then to reveal himself as a standard-issue bishounen; and Miyu has a ditzy human sidekick, Chisato, who doesn't seem to serve any more purpose than 'Molly' in SM. The episode plots are pure boilerplate, whose climax and resolution usually can be seen coming a mile away.
Strong points? Reiha the snow demon is an interesting continuing character, and I wish we were learning more about her and Miyu and what kind of relationship they have. Are they rivals? Enemies? Or just different departments of the same company? The dark text I mentioned is also interesting: most episodes end in the death of an innocent, or almost innocent. Miyu is not responsible for the deaths, but Reiha sometimes is. Reiha doesn't set out deliberately to kill people, but cares nothing for collateral damage. At moments like this, Miyu sometimes expresses irritation with Reiha. Just irritation, not shock, outrage, or anger. I wish there were more moments like that, but there aren't. All the deaths in what is nominally a kid's show guarantee this will never make it to American TV.
I'm not going to buy the rest of the series; I'm just not enjoying it enough. I'd probably rent it from Netflix, just to see how it turns out, but they don't stock it.
meaning: Western, ocean
洋食 == youshoku == Western-style food
西洋人 == seiyoujin == Westerner
|Left radical is 'water'; right radical is 'sheep'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Ocean of white sheep, not white horses'.|