Watch Anime Online Anime Wallpapers naruto psp ads

Create a Meebo Chat Room

Dance in the Vampire Bund 12 – Dance in the Vampire Bund

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Lolicon, Manga Review, Shaft, action, dance in the vampire bund, drama, lvlln, supernatural, vampire | Monday 5 April 2010 3:05 am

That’s right. The final episode of Dance in the Vampire Bund is titled Dance in the Vampire Bund, and (spoilers!) it ends with a dance in the Vampire Bund. Story-wise, this episode had to explain a lot, and it managed to accomplish that, tying the series together nicely, even while introducing new plot points that remain as mysteries to the viewer.

Finally, some dancing!

To quote M. Night Shyamalan on Robot Chicken, “What a twist!” I didn’t see that one coming. The true vampires’ inheritance being that there are multiple Minas? I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this. It was nice to finally have that gap in Akira’s memories filled. I enjoyed the grotesque imagery in the scene when all the Minas were being burned. The music in that scene reminded me too much of the underworld theme from Super Mario Brothers, though.

But even though Akira and Mina are the protagonists, Meiren really stole the spotlight this climactic episode.

Finally, we see her transformed form in full

As joker76 had theorized, Meiren was indeed the 3rd assassin, and beyond that, she’s also a part of Telomere. That explains why she stopped Mina’s final strike in episode 7, and how she was on the other end of the phone in episode 9.

"To be in love with someone means to be crazy for them, right? That's right, you and me both, we're crazy. As butterflies in love with flowers, we don't regret for a moment sacrificing our bodies, our minds, or even our very last droplet of blood!"

She explains to Akira pretty much everything. She was a slave who was given freedom and a purpose by that other Mina from the first scene of the episode. And she wants that Mina to be the queen of the world. That’s why she joined Telomere, that’s why she was undercover this whole time until all the vampire heads were gathered under one roof, and that’s why she now has the same kind of bomb inside her as was featured in episodes 8 and 9.

"Hey Akira, why couldn't have our two princesses been one and the same person?"

But of course, Akira doesn’t see things the same way. Their fight had its moments, but it was overall underwhelming. Mostly just bright flashes of light flying around the city. The best moments were those before and after the fight, when the tension between Akira and Meiren builds and builds, and when it is all finally released. Meiren had some very poignant things to say in these scenes, which made her into a tragic character, a real foil to Akira, instead of a simple villain.

Most of the fight looked like this.

"You won. But still, I'm a little happy. To get to die while being held in someone's arms, I never dreamed that it would happe..."

But she still was the villain, and Mina was the heroine. She had her moment as well. When Akira was clearly overmatched by Meiren and down for the count, and Yuki was already beginning to mourn his coming death, it was Mina who sat with confidence. She firmly believed that Akira would keep his promise to return to her, against all odds and evidence. And in the moment of truth, he does defeat Meiren, even though he loses his arm in the process.

Once the action began to die down, Mina was great as she put the clan heads in their place. I loved the call-back to episode 10, where Mina had seemingly joked to Yuki that they could fill any room in that building with sunlight. Turns out she wasn’t lying. Thanks to the magic of fiber optics. And she was adorable when she was walking away from the meeting room and couldn’t help herself from breaking into a run to meet Akira.

The denouement was fitting, though it felt somewhat rushed. It was nice to see Mina and Akira honoring Meiren’s death, as she had proved to be a great and very likable character in these last few episodes. In the end, the story came back around to end with another promise, as Yuki’s narration had alluded to throughout the show. I didn’t like how they conveniently had Akira’s arm reattached. I wanted Akira really to lose something, to put a greater permanence and sacrifice to the battle he fought. I like it when the hero has to lose something in his journey to success, like, for example, Mikiya and his left eye in Kara no Kyoukai (or, on the subject of eyes, Snake and his right eye in Metal Gear Solid 3).

That other Mina doesn't seem particularly perturbed.

There’s still the unaddressed issue of the second Mina. There was just a quick little scene showing her at the end, so even though the current story had wrapped up neatly, there is still a thread open for a possible sequel.

A new promise, to be kept by Mina this time.

And I think I’d like that. I can’t honestly say the show was great. The first half was aimless and, to be frank, pretty boring at times. Though the show got very strong in the second half, the ending didn’t blow me away. Which is pretty much what it needed to do given the first half. But the whole build up to the ending was so strong, and it got me so interested in the story enough that I’d like to see more. And the way Meiren’s character and story were handled was brilliant throughout.

This show leaves me with mixed feelings. Being an action/thriller, it was a very big departure from Shaft’s recent works, which have either been talk-heavy comedies or romance dramas. I was a little skeptical about how they would handle the action, and I was right to be skeptical; though the action exceeded my expectations and was even great at times, it was inconsistent and the climactic action scene wasn’t directed very well at all. And I’ve already gone on too much about how the story was weak until the second half.

At the same time, there were parts of the show that Shaft handled very well. When the action was good, it was GOOD. The stories of the main characters, including those of Yuzuru with Nanami and of Meiren were excellent and left me feeling… something when each of their stories ended. And Shaft tied the overall story together very well in the last 2 episodes, neatly wrapping up something that seemed to be in complete disarray halfway through.

I can’t heartily recommend this show to everyone, but if you’ve got the patience to sit through the whole thing, I think you’ll see those flashes of brilliance that made the show enjoyable. Here’s to hoping for a second season, in which Shaft has a better budget and has learned from what worked and didn’t in this season.

Anyway, this series is now over, and I’ll be moving on to Shaft’s Arakawa Under the Bridge in this coming season. The first episode actually airs today (don’t know the exact time, so it may have already), so look for impressions on that soon.

Dance in the Vampire Bund 11 – Underworld

There was more talk and less action in this episode than I expected, but I found that to be alright, because the talk brought back that very important issue that had been ignored for the last many episodes: Akira’s continued amnesia. And it ties it together with Telomere; what Akira still doesn’t remember is what Telomere wants. And Telomere comes back in this episode to get it from him. With just 1 more episode left, all the loose story ends have come together, for one last Dance… in the Vampire Bund (sorry, hate me if you want to for that).

The plot thickens! It seems that the 1st assassin was with Telomere, which means that one of the 3 clans, or all of them, are in bed with Telomere. It did put her in an awkward position, as it was her job to kill Akira for her master, but she also needed to get information out of him before doing so (explains why she didn’t kill Akira outright when she ambushed him at the border to the Bund). It really saved Akira’s butt a few times, as he got repeatedly stabbed due to his inability to transform. That was a nice little plot point, as it showed how much he really loved and was in love with Mina, despite him being in denial about it.

Speaking of impossible love and saving Akira’s butt, Meiren was pretty phenomenal in this episode. I found it humorous that she came in with a shotgun, and it had predictably little effect on the 2nd Assassin, managing just to knock him away for a little bit. But she took care of him using melee in the end, which gave us a chance to see that she was a wolfman – or rather, wolfwoman – as well. Her confessing to Akira – for serious this time instead of her usual playful flirting – was very sweet. I wonder how much of her emotions were driven by the fact that she’s supposedly the last of her kind, though. She’ll have to come to terms with her feelings just like Yuki did halfway into the show.

This had me d'aaawwwwwing

I enjoyed most of the action, seeing the 1st assassin’s true powers, her ability to shapeshift to really insane proportions. She was really the star of the episode, and I liked how some of her personality shone through, through her speech, her facial expressions, and her choice of attacks, making her a more complete character than just another enemy. Which is kinda what the 2nd assassin ended up being. Given his awesome weapons from the previous episode (naginata and claws), I was hoping for some good fight scenes involving him, but he was taken out very quickly by Meiren. Pretty disappointing, though it did emphasize what a badass Meiren is.

Without Transforming, Akira doesn't stand a chance

Both of the 1st 2 assassins were dispatched in this episode, which leaves the 3rd as the only obstacle lying between Akira and a happy ending. I wonder if Meiren is indeed the 3rd assassin, as joker76 posited in his comment on my post on the previous episode. Would make for a very interesting fight, especially with Akira finally having regained the ability to transform due to his anger at seeing Mina’s image dirtied by the 1st assassin.

But once he does... watch out!

And Mina has put everything on the line now. It puts an even greater weight to the outcome of the finale, but at the same time, it pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of whatever doubt you might have had that Akira wouldn’t pull through. I mean, I think it was pretty clear from the previous episode, but they won’t really have Mina lose everything in one fell swoop at the end… will they?

As for the creepiness factor, they showed again the final scene of the previous episode, and also some short clips from the actual verification ceremony itself. We also learn that Mina knew Akira since his birth 17 years ago, which puts a whole new twist in the creepiness factor of their relationship. She’s the one who’s “robbing the cradle” – almost literally. It reminded me a lot of the very unhealthy relationship between Buster and Lucille 2 in Arrested Development (“She changed him as a baby!”).

I’m looking forward to seeing what Akira’s still hidden memory is, and why Telomere wants it so badly. There were some hints that he was starting to regain this memory towards the end, but I found the flashbacks to be confusing. They brought back imagery from the nightmare at the beginning of the previous episode, and the flashbacks did seem to imply that Mina might be dead or something. And what Alphonse said to Akira implies that this was a piece of information that could change Akira’s behavior drastically, to the point of making him an enemy. It would be great if Akira’s remembrance forces him to make a Sophie’s choice in the next episode. But at this point, I just have no idea, and my approach is just to let it come to me, let the director tell me the story without theorizing needlessly. And so it’s with great anticipation that I await the finale of this show. There’s a lot that has to happen, but this show’s pacing has proven to me that 23 minutes is more than enough.

An aside:

I went to Pax East today for the final day. There wasn’t much in terms of cosplay, but I’ve added what I took to the Picasa album. I attended a panel by members of OverClocked ReMix, a site in which people upload their own remixes of video game music. I was a big fan of the remix “Save Me,” a remix of the save-point theme from Ico (the only parts in the game that actually had background music), which is why I attended. But that whole community reminded me of the microcultures that were mentioned in the Memes talk yesterday.

Speaking of which, I also saw Alex Leavitt, the researcher from that Memes talk, cosplaying as Ash from Pokemon attending a panel on geeks. He also made a comment on my post from yesterday!

Besides the panels, I spent a lot of time on the show floor. I got to play The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile and talked with its sole developer. Turns out he was a big fan of DMC3 and Bayonetta, which I figured from playing his game. I also got to play some DeathSmiles for the XBox360, and that game just might get me into shmups like Touhou.

Dance in the Vampire Bund 10 – Walpurgis Night

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Lolicon, Manga Review, Shaft, dance in the vampire bund, fantasy, lvlln, military, supernatural, vampire | Monday 22 March 2010 1:33 am

After getting 3 consecutive action-heavy episodes, we get one that is slower paced and more subdued. We learn a bit more about Meiren’s past and the clans that make up the vampire world. The episode also brings to the forefront the impossibility of the relationship between Mina and Akira in this class-based world and clearly sets up the conflict that will be the focus of the last 2 episodes.
The episode starts with Akira having a nightmare that Mina is killed, a silver stake through her heart. The silhouette of someone who appears to be Meiren appears and says, “I’ll kill you!” before he is awakened by Mina who is watching him sleep. Now that things have settled down and the railway in the Bund has started going up, she invites him to hang out that weekend. Unfortuantely, Akira has another appointment and must refuse. It turns out he had promised Meiren that they’d meet.

So the first half shows the main characters enjoying some down time. Mina, Vera, her maids (including Nanami, who became one after last episode), Yuzuru, and Yuki play around in an indoor pool, while Akira takes a long walk with Meiren. This gives us a chance to earn a bit more about the past of Akira, Mina, and Meiren, though we still don’t get anything concrete.

He gets to do this for all eternity.

In the opening scene, according to Mina, the flowers that keep showing up in the flashbacks are apparently cleome. When Meiren and Akira are talking, Meiren mentions the flower and tells him an old story regarding the flower: because the flower looked so much like a butterfly, a butterfly fell in love with it and flew around it constantly, trying to mate with it, until it finally died from exhaustion. She alludes to how Akira’s relationship with Mina is very similar to this story. Meiren also mentions how the cleome is the favorite flower of the person most precious to her, and we are shown a flashback that suggests that she may have been saved by Mina in the past.

Everyone is enjoying their relaxation when they’re interrupted by the visit of the “3 clans.” Mina explains to Yuki how besides her own royal bloodline, there are 3 clans that serve as subordinates to her own, though she calls them simultaneously her “blood relatives, vassals, and old enemies.” They’re named Li, Ivanovic, and Rozenmann.

Mina in her battle uniform.

Mina gets into a very princess-ly dress (which she calls her “battle uniform”) and meets with the heads of each of the houses (these are the same 3 who were talking over video at the end of the previous episode). It’s immediately clear that these 3 don’t have much respect for her authority. They quickly turn the subject to the fact that according to ancient orders, it is their duty to continue the pure vampire bloodline, and the only ones qualified to do that are the 4 present in the meeting, with Mina being the only female. They grew tired of waiting for her to pick one of them, so the 3 came that night with a contest: they each brought over their best assassin, and whichever one kills Akira wins its master the right to marry Mina.

Meanwhile, Akira, who was informed by Yuki that Mina needed him, is ambushed as he tries to re-enter the Bund, by one of the assassins (who looks very similar to Lady from Devil May Cry 3). He runs away, but each of the other 2 assassins comes at him. And because it matters which of them kills him, the assassins fight one another as well, which gives Akira enough of an opening to run away and back towards headquarters.

The 3 assassins, in order of appearance.

Obviously Mina is very upset over this situation, but she can’t fight back, because as the vampire princess, she can’t admit that her romantic interests lie with a wolfman like Akira and that she likely has no plans of choosing any of the 3. The episode closes on a pretty wicked note: an old lady enters with a chair with restraints at the wrists and ankles while saying that she must perform the verification of Mina’s virginity. The last thing we see is Mina voluntarily having her “battle uniform” ripped off her by a couple of guards.

Mina will have her virginity verified in this. Yeah...

So, one thing that’s clear is that I was mistaken in the last episode; I had assumed that the man with the eye patch was using the royal “we” when he called Mina “our” fiance, but he was actually talking about all 3 of them. The turn of events regarding them should make for a nice way to close out the show. The issue raised by the difference between Mina’s and Akira’s statuses in society had been in the back burner for most of the show, but they’re dealing with it head-on now. One way or another, it’s going to be resolved before it’s over, and I’m excited to find out how.

I’m not sure where Meiren sits in all this, but I’m glad we got to learn more of her past. The nightmare at the beginning seemed to suggest that she might be someone against Mina, but her flashback and the way she talked with Akira suggests that she’s on their side. I wish Akira had been more inquisitive in their conversation. I wonder if, like some other characters in this show, Meiren has responsibilities that go against her personal wishes: i.e. that she wants to help Mina, but whoever she’s working for has its own separate agenda.

The amount of action was minimal, and the quality of what was there was okay . Knowing what Shaft did in the last few episodes, I’m greatly looking forward to seeing the action unfold in the next 2. I think they’re setting up for a series of one-on-one showdowns, as it was just the 3rd assassin who was shown ominously watching over Akira at the end of this one. I’m sure Meiren will get involved as well. Each of the assassins fights a little differently, with the first one using what appear to be wind-based projectiles, the second one using a naginata and claws, and the third one just fighting without weapons. A lot of potential for good eye candy there.

I’m finding myself enjoying the creepiness factor that this show just keeps up. It was bad enough that we have 3 fully grown men discussing mating with a loli while alone in a darkened room, but the show took it over the top with the bit with the chair and the virginity at the end. Instead of letting it be just a shock factor, the show exploits Mina’s perceived age to create a real feeling of discomfort and unease that add to its already high tension scenes.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni – Battler…Brethren he is!

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Lolicon, Manga Review, Random, Umineko no Naku Koro ni | Friday 11 September 2009 6:22 am

Read Manga Online | Osaka Hotels - Large range, many locations - Save up to 70% on Osaka Hotels.