Vampires and anime go together like wine and cheese. The blood sucking monsters have long endured in various forms of media, portrayed as heartthrobs and terrifying beasts alike. Yet, despite the flexibility involved in the vampire’s integration into a story, the use of the creature in the form of a half naked child is more than enough to turn off most audiences. Sadly, Dance in the Vampire Bund not only relies on this attention nabbing plot device, it exploits it for everything its worth, making this one of the most uncomfortable mainstream releases in recent memory.
Dance in the Vampire Bund began life, as so many anime do, as a manga. Written and illustrated by Nozomu Tamaki, the series gained a cult following and was eventually brought stateside by Seven Seas Entertainment. An anime was later produced by Shaft and Funimation grabbed the rights. There was originally some controversy surrounding the release, as the series was believed to be in line for edits upon reaching US shores, but heavy backlash by American fans swayed Funimation in releasing the unedited version instead.
Dance in the Vampire Bund drops viewers in the world as we know it with one key exception being that vampires are not merely creatures relegated to fantasy and folk lore but rather are creatures that live and coexist with humans. However, there are some that would seek to jeopardize their uneasy alliance. In an effort to keep the peace the vampire queen, Mina Tepes, sets up an island refuge for her blood sucking brethren. The result is called a “Vampire Bund.”
The story progresses with a few different clans trying to establish dominance over one another in a political game of chess along while a romance between Mina and a werewolf blossoms. This opens the series up to multiple plot arcs that feel rushed with the writers cramming in as much as possible in a twelve episode series. This leaves little room for the several arcs to find their own identity and breathe.
The other problem with the series lies in the presentation of Mina. The vampire queen is designed with a 12-year old body despite being older, but the attire she wears is usually sensual. Her motivations for doing so aren’t entirely inconceivable, as she uses her appearance to protect herself from those who would seek her hand in marriage. Still, there are multiple scenes in which Mina is dressed proactively or just not dressed at all, creating discomfort for viewers who aren’t into half naked pre-teen girls, animated or not.
The set comes in a cardboard box holding a pair of DVD cases that contain both a Blu-ray and a DVD version of the series. The bulk of the extras come in the form a set of Intermissions that act as episode recaps in the style of manga. These aren’t anything special and are best considered throw away material after a single viewing. Filling out the extras are commercials, a promo video, the usual textless songs and trailers.
Sadly, when taken as a whole, Dance in the Vampire Bund is average at best. There’s too much cluttering the story in too short of a span to invest in any of the character’s arcs and the revealing clothing of Mina only serves to distract from the story further. If you’re a diehard vampire fanatic you might get more out of the series than the typical anime fan but otherwise your energies are best spent looking elsewhere.