Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Vampire Princess Miyu TV

Genre: Dark, Occult
Parental Guidance Recommended
Hirano Toshihiro. (director). Kawai Kenji (music director). AIC. Sooeishinsha and Pony Canyon. TV Tokyo.

Vampire Princess Miyu DVDs
Vampire Princess Miyu Manga
Vampire Princess Miyu Music
Vampire Princess Miyu Items

Thundersenshi's Description:
Shinma (God + Demon) are supernatural beings that devour the hearts of men and lead them to ruin. Long ago, they were sealed in the dark. However, there are the stray Shinma that live secretly in the human world. They lurk in the division between night and day. The guardian who sends the stray Shinma back to the Dark is said to be a beautiful, golden-eyed vampire girl named Miyu. But no one really knows the truth of who she is or what she looks like. No one ever lives to tell the tale.

(25 episodes)

A newly revamped Miyu. >>> by thundersenshi
After leaving us with the unexplored mystery of the OAV series, the vampire Miyu and her sinfully beautiful sidekick, Larva, are back. But don't expect to see the same child-woman who played around with a teasing, girlish malice and had a penchant for pretty, young boys (as if having someone like Larva around wasn't enough!). This rendition of Miyu, her story, and the events triggered by her existence take a different turn from the original manga and the OAV.

What do you expect from something like VPM? If you haven't seen any of the previous installments, it is probably safe to assume you were lured in by the vampire myths. But if you were planning to be dazzled by blood, gore, and detailed neck-biting scenes, then prepare to be disappointed; VPM is not your typical vampire flick. It is far different from the likes of Vampire Hunter D or Hellsing. In fact, battles between shinma and Miyu are very short, and not as heart-pounding or as adrenaline-rushing as you would have liked. There is little to no struggle involved and the fight is over in mere seconds. Sometimes it makes you wonder what the whole point to the monster-of-the-day storyline was. But you see, Miyu's role as huntress and her sending the shinma back to the dark are not the focus of this series. Though the vampire is the main character, it is actually the human lives who play center stage. It is not so much a horror story as it is a study of tragedy that befall mortals.

The TV series has taken a lot of liberties from the original story. The characters, for starters. Miyu here is much too quiet, less playful. More mature. She isn't the puppeteer who pulls the strings to amuse herself with the play of human life; rather, she's the lone watcher who sees everything unfold, drinking in scene after scene without qualm. It isn't that she gives everything a cold disregard, though. She simply sees them as they are--sad and miserable incidents destroying lives that were otherwise blissfully happy. She is not entirely detached from the human and shinma lives she comes across, but she rarely interferes with their affairs and inner turmoil. If anything, she is more conscious of her role as the Guardian who seals stray shinma back to the darkness. She keeps a tight rein on her emotions, and only lets loose whenever Larva is concerned. As for him, female fans of the series will be delighted to know that he takes his mask off every now and then and he even talks (his punishment being nonexistent in this version of Miyu's story)! We are also given a glimpse of his past in a few episodes, but it was not as elaborately told like it was in the manga. I find this to be terribly unfortunate because the Western shinma's visit to Japan's shores to take back Larva was the climax of the original story.

Also, prior to watching this series, I was told that it doesn't compare to the other versions of VPM. In fact, as I've come to know over the years, a lot of people prefer the four-part OAV that came before this, because it is closer to the feel of the manga. True, there is that. The TV series has so many differences from the versions that came before it, but this does not necessarily mean it is inferior compared to the manga and the OAV release. I think it was a rather beautiful rendition of Miyu's story, something that shows us a new facet of Miyu's life that is entirely apart from those shown in other stories. At first, the episodes come off-beat, nothing really special to take note of. Exactly in the middle of it, though, the series takes a complete turn. The condescending nature of vampires toward human life are highlighted by the mutual fascination that humans and vampires regard each other with. The stories begin to have more depth, more impact. While the first part of the series tended to be more predictable, its other half totally confuses its watchers. The only thing that remains constant here is the tragedy. If you were looking for a feel-good watch, you should go look elsewhere, as the depression in this series can get highly intense.

So is it worth it? Hard to say. An anime like VPM is obviously not everyone's cup of tea. But when one of those melancholic moods takes over you, when a certain point in time comes where you just want to see a lot of angst...then allow yourself to be whistled in the world of VPM. It's an acquired taste.

(Also notable is this series' soundtrack, usually one of the most recommended ones in anime fandom. The music is beautiful, and it fits the series well. The opening song, in particular, reminds me of tunes heard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Others are reminiscent of old Japanese music. Flying ninja and slashing samurai come to mind.)

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 8; Characters 10; Sounds 8

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