Dance in the Vampire Bund is a short anime series that follows the reemergence of the queen of vampires, Mina Tepes. With the help of her faithful werewolf servant Akira, Mina leads the vampires out of secrecy and builds a bund as a haven for her people. At the same time, the two discover their intertwined past and their love for each other.
The most notable point about Vampire Bund is, of course, Mina Tepes. I have written a bit about her loli form before, but it is worth mentioning again. Despite being controversial, the loli factor actually plays extremely well into the series. Vampire Bund attempts to draw us into this fictitious world. By challenging our mindsets about age, social norms, and the female form, the anime compels us to accept the realities of the anime. As the main character, Mina leads this crusade against conventional truths. Her childish appearance is in stark contrast to her maturity and her sensuality. When Vampire Bund boldly shoves this inconsistency in our faces, it forces us to experience and accept the vampire world and its rules. There were several deliberate points that truly push the boundaries of sexual norm, such as the infamous oil rubbing scene and the sexual attraction between a shota and his onee-chan. Once we come to terms with the sexual taboo, “pedophilia,” and other unconventional factors, it is not that difficult to be immersed in this incredible society where humans and vampires coexist openly.
Indeed, Dance in the Vampire Bund succeeds in building a believable world, especially considering how fantastical its approach to the vampire lore is. I am especially impressed with the creation of the Bund in the first arc. The anime pays special attention to various aspects of nation building, including the economics, politics, nationalism, and terrorism. These details add a layer of intricacy that makes the story credible; if there were truly vampires in this world, this would be how I envision their coming out might look like.
Unfortunately, the wonderful story and premise is killed by shoddy execution. The subpar animation is inconsistent and even ugly at times. Characters would be drawn in one style in one frame and a different way in another.* Furthermore, this is worsened by awful directing. Vampire Bund overuses dramatic effects, pauses, and slow motions, such that the emphatic moments lose any effect. Instead, they just seem cheap and over the top.
This is unfortunate because Vampire Bund truly has a lot of potential, not only because of the world, but also because of the characters. Mina Tepes is one of the most intriguing characters I have ever seen in anime. Besides the disconnect in her appearance and age, she also has a deeply layered personality. Teasing, domineering, elegant, weak, compassionate, empathetic, cold, naïve, sexy… There are just so many conflicting yet compatible aspects to Mina’s character. She is an exploration in of herself.
Furthermore, I love the awkward sexual tensions built around Mina and the other women. Seduction, pedophilia, gang rape, and even virginity exams make this a rather dark watch. These scenes serve more than mere gratuity or fan service though. Instead, they complement perfectly a story about vampires. The classic vampire lore has always been inundated with sex and perversions. Perhaps it has to do with the penetration, or the exchange of fluids, or maybe the idea of complete seduction of mind and body. I think it is especially appropriate for Vampire Bund to incorporate this sexual aspect into its core plot.
I really enjoyed Dance in the Vampire Bund. It has so many strong elements. The wonderfully intricate plot is perfectly tied together by Mina Tepes. My only gripe is with the execution. The sloppy animation is just too distracting and disappointing for such a fascinating story.
One last note, I love Mina’s various elegant outfits and sexy lacy lingerie.
*The linked screenshots in this comment show some examples of careless animation.
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