The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Rosario + Vampire

Title: Rosario + Vampire aka Rosario to Vampire
Genre: Comedy/Action
Company: Gonzo
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 3 Jan 2008 – 27 Mar 2008

Synopsis: Aono Tsukune is unable to pass the entry exam for any of his chosen high schools. His parents offer a solution after finding a pamphlet (from a suspicious individual) for one Yokai Academy. He enrolls, but on his first day he finds out that the school is actually exclusively for monsters and other supernatural creatures and he’s stuck there for a month, forced to hide his identity as a human. Things aren’t all bad for Tsukune, as he’s attracted the attention of cute vampire, Akashiya Moka… although that’s mostly because she likes the taste of human blood.

The Highlights
Fanservice: I guarantee you this: you watch this show, you will see panties.
Characters: Main characters are passé, but the side characters are delightfully entertaining.
Comedy: Surprisingly funny for this genre.
Story: More holes than Swiss cheese.
Formula: Episodic battles get highly repetitive.

The girls are cute and the pantyshots are plentiful. We’re in ‘guilty pleasure’ country, and there’s not a speck of intelligence for miles. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy Rosario + Vampire, at least on a superficial level, but it falls over severely when put to an objective analysis. Sure, it has fun characters that are easy enough to like and comedy that was occasionally witty, but the inane writing and general repetitiveness hurts this series in the end.

Knowing that it’s virtually impossible for anime of this genre to be “brilliant” or “inspiring”, in my eyes fanservice anime need to pass two criteria to be at least somewhat redeemable, and these are that the characters must be fun and likable, and the comedy must be occasionally funny. Rosario + Vampire passes these two tests. What works for this anime is the humourous character interactions, but as is generally the case, don’t expect these from the leads. Moka is a fairly passé moé-blob while Tsukune is pure, distilled spineless harem lead (although one can quickly sympathize with the absurdity of his situation). Certainly, it’s the side characters that make this so much fun to watch, particularly Kurumu and Yukari with their competitive antagonism rife with repartee. Ok, most of it is boob jokes, but one doesn’t berate McDonald’s for not serving lobster. The comedy is surprisingly witty and self-aware for something of this genre as well. Gonzo also make the effort to put together a visual effort that’s easy on the eyes (thankfully, since an ugly fanservice anime is the ultimate insult), ignoring one episode which has Gainax’s fingerprints all over it. (Borrowing from the Gainax style seems to have become popular lately, almost as if they did something big between the months of April and September 2007, while I was under a rock on Mars, with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears… must have been another Gunbuster anime).

Unfortunately, Rosario + Vampire is incredibly formulaic. Almost all the episodes follow a set path, involving a new threat and a fight where the group find themselves up against the wall, only for Tsukune to inadvertently release Moka’s rosary, awakening her true powers with a full transformation sequence. Why only Tsukune can release Moka’s true powers is never explained, but the whole thing is a convenient deus ex machina anyway. Also, this is the only example of vampire lore I’ve come across where vampires are supposedly weak to water… yes, common tap water. Why Moka’s opponents don’t come at her with a hose or a bottled spray can only be explained if her opponents (or the writers) aren’t too bright. Sometimes characters suddenly recover from mortal wounds for no reason, rendering the few cliffhangers this had completely pointless, while other times characters materialize out of nowhere to save the day, such is the case in the last episode.

As enjoyable as it is, Rosario + Vampire is an average fanservice anime, and a below average anime, considering where the fanservice anime bell curve sits in comparison. I had fun with this, but even after turning off my brain, my intelligence was still insulted. Pretty girls, excessive pantyshots and a few humourous exchanges of insults are the highlights, but if that’s not your thing, avoid this like the plague. Hell, even if this is your thing, you might do better looking elsewhere.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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