Hipira: The Little Vampire
Hipira-kun is different from all the other boy vampires, since he still hasn't learned how to turn into a bat. This makes an object of ridicule for the other children, so he doesn't have any friends. But when a mad scientist's experiment goes awry, Hipira-kun lucks out, finding a unique friend: Soul, a floating, glowing being with a big smile and a bigger heart. These of the adventures of the mischievous Hipira-kun and his best friend Soul in the city of Salta, a world where it's always night.
The appeal of Hipira-kun is that it is about a boy first, and a vampire second. There's a great visual gag in its short opening where Hipira menaces the audience, holding his cape just over his nose and cackling, then throwing open his cape to reveal a potpourri of toys hidden inside. That's his character in nutshell- a rascally young vampire who'd like to think he's a scary monster, but isn't that much different from any other human boy. You can easily see him pulling a girl's pigtails, sleeping in church and refusing to eat his collard greens, or whatever the vampire equivalent could be- perhaps blood collard greens? He's charming in a way only young boys can be.
He lives in a vampire city beautifully realized by Production IG's CG animation, which favors a smooth, hand drawn look that could easily be the CG I've seen in anime. Not far from there is a gloomy enchanted forest ("It's so dark and depressing! Isn't it great!" says Hipira), where fairies and magic frogs live. His best friend is a floating soul, and his mentor is a mad vampire scientist. He may be sad that he still can't turn into a bat yet like the rest of his friends- an obvious but touching metaphor for puberty- but he has a charmed life that any human eight year old can relate to, and fantasize about.
Each episode is limited to five minutes, so nothing is wasted- in fact, you could say it moves a little too fast in the early episodes in its rush to lay out its premise- and many of its short, self-contained stories of Hipira's mischief fit the format like a soft glove. "Cute" and "charming" are words fans use a lot to describe many recent favorites- Croisee in the Foreign Labyrinth, Squid Girl, Hanasaku Iroha- but unlike Hipira-kun, that charm is otaku and feminine, and becoming so common that whatever made it special is losing traction. Hipira-kun is a refreshing kind of charm- a comfortable, happy, and decidedly boyish fantasy.
An enjoyable kid's cartoon with ample charm and inventiveness. — Bradley Meek
Recommended Audience: Perfect for children; no objectionable content.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital fansub
Review Status: Full (10/10)
Hipira: The Little Vampire © 2011 Sunrise
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