Vampire Princess Miyu
Himiko is a spiritualist who investigates the supernatural (well, duh). One day while on a case involving a girl trapped in a mysterious coma for over a year, Himiko encounters Miyu, a vampire who looks to the world like an innocent schoolgirl. Miyu hunts the Shinma, a breed of demons who have wandered into the mortal plane and who often terrorize humans (a Shinma was responsible for the girl's coma). Of course, being a vampire, Miyu also has the habit of sucking people's blood, but only (as she insists) when they request her to do so in return for eternal life.
Is Miyu friend or fiend? Himiko follows Miyu as she encounters case after case of bizarre supernatural occurences, vowing to put a halt to Miyu's preying on victims for their blood. Each time, Himiko learns a little more about Miyu's nature, until ...
This isn't your typical vampire flick, and the general cliches of vampires don't apply in this anime. You will not see the Pretty Female Victim get Jumped Upon by the Evil Vampire while in the Dark Room. Nor will you meet the Handsome Vampire Slayer armed with the Wooden Stake and Crucifix.
This series is much more cerebral in its style, and is disturbing in its own subtle way. The elements that make up the main premise of the series are each hidden within every episode, slowly weaving an intricate and involved story that you will need to pay close attention to fully understand. It goes without saying that you'll need to watch BOTH tapes before you pass judgment on this one. Part of the fun in watching this series for the first time is slowly grasping the larger picture behind Miyu's actions.
The art and animation are done remarkably well, although the backgrounds are a bit on the sketchy side. The sparse action scenes are wonderfully done, skillfully revealing the extent of Miyu's power and the Shinma she hunts with only a little action. The soundtrack is nice and spooky without being cliched (you know, the string dissonant chord, or the keyboard melody with cha-cha-bah-bah breathing sounds). Of course, the subtitled version is quite a bit better than the dubbed (Miyu sounds all right, but Himiko is kind of grating).
All in all, a quietly spooky series that will make you think while you enjoy it. A worthy watch.
Recommended Audience: Although the actual violence is pretty scarce, the themes behind this series may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Vampire Princess Miyu © 1988 Soeishinsha / Pony Canyon
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