Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Review: Rosario + Vampire

When Tsukune fails the high school entrance exam his academic future looks bleak; fortunately, despite his lacking grades, he’s accepted into Yokai Academy – a strange out-of-the-way school he’s never heard of. And there’s a reason for it…Yokai Academy is a school for monsters! 

Realizing that his acceptance was a mistake, Tsukune tries his best to blend in and hide the fact that he’s a human. The situation improves when he runs into Moka, a beautiful classmate who happens to be a vampire. The two quickly become friends, but Moka’s blood-sucking tendencies aren’t her only secret. Tsukune soon finds out that if the rosary seal around her neck is removed, Moka’s innocent demeanor vanishes and she transforms into a gorgeous, yet frightening ‘S Class super monster’ always eager for a good fight.

The series consists of two seasons, each rounding out to thirteen episodes. The beginning of the first season can become repetitive but, in its defense, it serves as the introduction(s) to many of the series’ supporting characters including Kurumu, a lustful succubus, Yukari and Ruby, a pair of witches, and Mizore, a snow fairy. The show goes on to adopt a standard ‘harem anime’ formula, with all of the main female players declaring their love for Tsukune, leading to often humorous situations. 

The second season introduces Kokoa, Moka’s delinquent younger sister, who gets the group into all sorts of trouble. Season two has some great character moments and there are a number of standout episodes to be seen. In short, Rosario + Vampire is played more for laughs than anything else and, in that sense, it delivers. 

 There’s plenty of innuendo between the girls and ample displays of fan service – whether that’s a good or bad thing depends solely on the tastes of the viewer. Based off a manga series, the anime differs from the source material’s more subdued tone, but there’s still enough action, plot development, and intriguing characters to validate a recommendation. At times the series does take a serious turn, like in the last few episodes of the first and second seasons, and these moments serve as a welcomed change of pace.

Rosario + Vampire is not an anime for everyone, but it has some truly great characters and is a fun supernatural romp. By the way, the voice acting in both the Japanese and English versions are equally well done, so it’s worth giving each a listen.


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