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[R1 DVD box art]
AKA: ヴィーナス ヴァーサス ヴァイアラス (Japanese)
Genre: Supernatural action/drama.
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation.
Content Rating: TV 14 (Mild violence.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Chrno Crusade, Vampire Hunter D, Fate/Stay Night.
Notes: Based on the manga by Atsushi Suzumi, published by Mediaworks.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars
 

Venus versus Virus

Synopsis

Due to her ability to see Viruses -- which are basically demonic beings able to infect people who have the ability to see them -- Sumire is caught up in the battle between said Viruses and the Venus Vanguard, the group fighting them. Store clerk by day, Virus hunter by night; sumire's life will not know calm anytime soon.

But, of course, there are darker powers moving in the background, and the plans that are made and set in motion may very well spell the doom for all.


Review

You can tell Venus versus Virus is vying for originality, because Sumire and Lucia aren't fighting demons, see? It's the ol' "fighting evil" with a brand new suit on.

It's actually rather amusing just to bear witness to all the different, yet incredibly common elements Venus versus Virus incorporates while trying its damnedest not to look like most other slightly gothic, demon-hunting shows out there. You have one character clad in black, frilly clothing and sporting light blue hair right above her eyepatch. And no, her patch isn't hiding battle scars. Lucia is basically a dichromia, one eye a spectacular golden yellow, complete with powers and all. She's also a total badass who shoots her vaccine bullets with a six-shooter while spouting one-liners that would make Ahnold cringe. And she ALWAYS dresses in the same clothes, save for the halftime break, where she looks like this:

Ohoho, they're holding out on us.

As irony would have it, it's our main character, Sumire, who brings most of the angst to the show. She is, naturally, gifted with abilities she never wanted, and you might want to refrain from making a drinking game out of her saying something along the lines of "I never wanted this!" or "Why is this happening to me?". Things hit the fan, though, when Sumire accidentally takes a vaccine round in her arm and goes straight into berserker mode. (Just roll with it.) While in this mode, Sumire gets Virus eyes and a penchant for manical laughter and attacking everything in sight, friend or foe.

Thankfully Lucia's warden, Souichirou Nahashi, is a keen professor in everything magical and demonic (and he looks like an olde British gentleman to boot), so experiments are undertaken in an attempt to find the right amount of Virus vaccine that'll help Sumire go into berserker mode without actually going berserk. (Again, just roll with it.) Rounding off the team is Lola, a cute little blonde girl who also seemingly shops her attire in their store, and she's mostly there to be the weapon tech-head and remind us that she really likes chocolate. That, and she rounds off each next episode preview by promising to "kill you gently, tee hee".

I wish I had some good news to impart at this point, but Venus versus Virus is just such an unmitigated disaster. The whole thing with the Viruses are never really explained in full, though there are some hints that the first Viruses were created from humans who had their "light" drawn out of them. More often than not, though, Viruses are shown as relatively formless masses of jello with eyes all over. Once they infect a human, they basically just alter them by turning their skin somewhat blue/grey-ish and giving them gargoyle wings and feet or morphable body parts. (And sometimes a tongue that would earn them an envious glare from Gene Simmons.) The most telling sign is their new eyes, though, which takes on a red hue with a star-shaped pupil inside.

And did I mention the bad one-liners? Well, once the villains enter the scene, things just get worse. Unlike the Viruses themselves, the villains in the show can actually talk, so instead of action sequences with lines delivered, we now have line exchanges. Who the hell WRITES this stuff?

Also, about halfway in, we learn a bit more about the past of our older gentleman Souichirou and his friends. There's Souichiro's sister and her bethrothed, Lucif, who will surely not betray them all due to his hunger for power. Nope, not seeing that coming, naming convention. No, siree. Why couldn't they just have named him "Steve"? (Or "Takeshi" in the Japanese version.) That way, the imminent betrayal would at least be somewhat of a surprise.

Venus versus Virus also makes this big deal out of the Viruses at first, and how they can combine with human beings, but only those who can see them. (Which aren't many, to put it that way.) The show also hints that Viruses can be created when a human has its light (presumably their souls, contained within a small, colorful crystal of sorts) taken away, but that doesn't explain the formless Viruses. Lucia also has a sad past, which makes her hate her birthdays. When she finds out that Sumire and Lola are making her a cake, she angrily chastizes them for it, saying she's not the least bit interested in celebrating. And yet, in the very next scene, she's clumsily trying to make a cake herself. The villains, on the other hand, suffer heavily from having to leave right before dealing killing blows, often complaining loudly about it before leaving. Later, Sumire has this big "who shall I trust; Lucia, whom I've worked with for months and months, or this cute guy I've met maybe three or four times?" moment where she questions Lucia's opinions about the guy during a confrontation. Naturally, to build drama, it's important to have everyone act as irrationally and paranoid as possible, preferably with no small amounts of monologues afterward. Sumire breaks all records, though, when she shows even less survival abilities than Fate/Stay Night's Shirou and sets herself up for a trap that just hurts me in the common sense.

Venus versus Virus even got a dub, if not a particularly good one. (Though the horrendous dialogue should probably take some blame for that. I mean, who would be able to say all these lines with a straight face?) The whole thing even came in a nicely designed box with some nice character art on the sides. The show's art is pretty decent, which is about the only thing I can think of that would make it worth the money you're expected to pay for it. That said; I picked up this show for a tenner through one of the online outlets I use, and I still feel like I paid through my nose.

The character of Lucia earns an extra star, but only barely. This is one to avoid.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Violence is relatively mild and fanservice is even milder. It is, after all, written for teens in mind. (I'm tempted to also say "also written BY teens", but I don't want to insult our teen readers.) The only inappropriate part in this show is how lazy and dumb it is.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Venus versus Virus © 2007 Studio Hibari, Venus Vanguard.
 
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