Katt: Is this how I’m going to get to start all of my weekends? Coming home and watching Dance in the Vampire Bund? Awesome. Last week I was really shocked to find that I was completely in the minority of manga fans because I so thoroughly enjoyed the first episode; it was only after making my post that I browsed forums and found that most fans were very, very pissed. Some will be more open-minded than others, I suppose? On that note, my open-mindedness was tested a further in this second episode and I’ll admit that it’s starting to crack. But I’ll bring that up later on as I run through this more appropriate beginning to Dance in the Vampire Bund.
First of all, we have an OP now! I barely remember the music. All I remember is thinking, “Ahaha, Mina’s dancing in the vampire bund!” …Yeah. That’s probably a statement on the music, but it certainly didn’t make me cringe or anything. The episode itself serves as an introduction to the second storyline of Dance in the Vampire Bund–the first being vampire society and the bund itself, and the second being the relationship between Mina and Akira. For this, we for some reason got a narrator, so lemme take a moment to introduce her:
Yuki Saegusa–Simply put, that chick who has a crush on Akira. What a cruel, cruel thing to do, making her narrate the tale of Mina and Akira; though it is suitable to make her this story’s narrator for a reason that I’ll assume will be touched on later. As of now she has nothing to do with the vampire world and just serves as a figure to tie Akira to the drudgery of reality, a.k.a. school life. She really is a sweetheart but absolutely pales in comparison Mina (paling next to a vampire? Oh irony).
So since this is an Akira/Mina-centric episode, I will make this an Akira/Mina-centric post and see what the past, present, and future look like for these two protagonists~
Their past: the promise
It took a while to reach the point of understanding Akira and Mina’s past together thanks to the spontaneously added plot element of ‘oh by the way Akira has amnesia’. For anime-only fans this is probably all well and good, but as a manga fan this was where my open mindedness failed me. I just cannot grasp the purpose of Akira having been in an accident and lost his memories a year prior to the series’ present. Is this a way to el!aborate on the past with justification? A way to waste an episode because there is evidently soooo many episodes to spare (yes, that was sarcasm)? Agh, I just don’t get it! Akira’s awakening was absolutely unnecessary! …But wait, how did I get into a rant on the present? I’m supposed to be talking about the past.
See, Akira and Mina met many years ago, back when Akira was the age that Mina looks now–and also looked back then. Akira happened upon Mina while she was crying and, in his childhood innocence, tried to comfort her and get her to stop crying even though he had no idea why she was upset. He did cheer her up, too, although we have little access into Mina’s thoughts at this point so we don’t know why she was distressed and what is was about Akira that changed that. Right now, all we know is that in his attempt to cheer Mina up, Akira made a promise to protect her that has carried over into the present bond that these two feel.
Their present: naked loli time
The nature of Akira and Mina’s relationship at this point is a little ambiguous. It is a bizarre, bizarre combination of innocence and overt sexuality. Wait what? Those two can be combined? Apparently so. Even before Akira’s memories come back, Mina uses that loli body to its fullest and plays around with the implications of nudity by having Akira take her clothes off and rub sun-resistant gel on her skin; it’s made extremely strange thanks to the fact that Mina appears as a child. In a sense it reminds me of Gary Snyder’s poem “The Bath”, which is sort of an ode to the human body as it describes a family bathing together–not odd at all, to have parents wash a child, but the details bring an element of sexuality to it too. In the context of Dance in the Vampire Bund, the sexuality is brought in by the fact that Mina might look like a kid, but she has the mind of an adult. Having Akira undress her and rub her down was less about having someone ‘take care of’ her like it would be for a child, and more about titillation.
There’s an innocence to their interactions too, though. In Mina’s most serious moments when it comes to Akira, she drops the facade of her teasing games and reverts to sweet actions: crying out of joy from seeing Akira in person after so many years, or giving him a light kiss on the cheek as a goodbye. It’s genuine and on a deeper level than her grown-up attitude in a kid’s body; Mina’s character is great for marrying the rationality of an adult with the emotionality of a child, which we really all do possess. Akira’s attitude after he overcomes his amnesia are also demonstrative of the purer side of his and Mina’s connection. He might be naked when he’s holding Mina in the final scene, but it’s easy to forget because that isn’t made into the focus. There are more important things at play here when these two characters finally have the same memories and feel the same attachment to one another.
Their future: queen and her bodyguard
My psychic powers tell me that Akira’s going to become Princess Mina’s right-hand werewolf from here on out. That’s right: I can see into the future. Now that our two protagonists have united we will hopefully get a unified way of looking at things and finally get to see the inside of the bund, not to mention more of Mina’s other followers that we were introduced to in the first episode. Oh, and perhaps a little elaboration as to why Akira is suddenly a werewolf? Whatever we learn next, there will definitely be a newfound inseparability between Mina and Akira as the plot moves forward.
And yes, I went through this entire post ignoring the appearance of the ridiculous giant spider vampire(?). I know that people are going to be freaking out about that one just like they did for the chameleon in the last episode, but I will just except them as the plot devices that they are. It’s the main characters that should be focused on because their greatness overshadows the monster-vampires’, um…stupidity. From here on out, I am anticipating that this series will get back on track with where it should be (i.e. with Akira having all of his memories) and everyone will be happy. Yay? Yay.
Katt sunk her teeth into Dance in the Vampire Bund episode 2…7/10
Katt’s blood craving for Dance in the Vampire Bund episode 3…8.5/10