Home > Anime, Manga and Games, Reviews, Television > DVD Review: Rosario & Vampire Capu2 Collection

DVD Review: Rosario & Vampire Capu2 Collection

Contains complete second series!

Rosario & Vampire Capu2 CollectionDue to his failing grades, Tsukune Aono has been unable to get accepted into any well thought of human high schools. Consequently, he has been enrolled at Youkai School, a private school for monsters and other supernatural beings. As the only human boy in the school, he has obviously aroused the interest of several monstrous young girls. Most notably he has taken interest in Moka Akashiya, a powerful vampire who has hidden her full supernatural power through the use of a magical rosary necklace, which only Tsukune seems to be able to remove.

With the current trend for vampires in Western media, it is refreshing to see a series which bases itself in a wealth of supernatural folklore. Though the setting is a simple, taking place in a high school, Rosario & Vampire has a number of supernatural beings besides the popular vampires, witches and werewolves that we are so used to. Among these are yetis, ice women, succubus’, Frankenstein style monsters, were-cats, chimeras and enchantresses. This wonderful mix of classic Western and Eastern creatures is reminiscent of old cartoon shows such as Gravedale High, whilst also showing an understanding of the dangers of these monsters as well as their humanity.

This theme of monster vs. humanity is most prevalent in the character of Moka Akashiya, who hides her true vampiric self from the outside world through her enchanted rosario. The juxtaposition between her sweeter, weaker self and the vampire underneath is played on very well during this series through the introduction of Moka’s younger half-sister, Kokoa Shuzen, who longs for her sister to return to her ‘normal’ violent alter ego permanently. Whilst the first series dealt with Tsukune’s fear of being discovered as a human and consequently hiding his true identity, this series deals with Moka’s problems with her own dual personality.

Rosario & Vampire Capu2 Collection pic 1

Much of the series, however, is based upon Tsukune’s romantic dealing with his fellow classmates, including Kurumu Kurono, a well endowed teen succubus; Yukari Sendo, a prepubescent witch and Mizore Shirayuki, a snow woman who stalks Tsukune relentlessly. These relationships involve much in the way of flirtatious, overtly sexual situations and innuendo. However (despite the emphasis on school uniforms and sexuality) there is surprisingly little fan service for a series that is so heavily reliant of teenage hormonal sexuality.

Those who may find the eleven year old Yukari’s position in this overly sexual romance, awkward, are placated by a considerably mature episode in which she deals with her own self consciousness about her age and development. While the creators of Rosario & Vampire do much to please the fans of Shonen manga, with overly sexual teenage females all being obsessed with one young high school boy, action, adventure and the boy ultimately being the hero; they also play on the personal aspects of growth, friendship and difficulties of puberty that the audience will be familiar with.

The animation itself is gorgeous with beautiful uses of soft lighting for romantic scenes and dynamic animation for action. The styles of the monsters themselves are imaginative and larger than life with some great mixes of Western and Eastern folklores to create unique yet familiar creatures. The succubus , Kurumu, is reminiscent of Capcom’s Morrigan and several characters draw on the Gothic Lolita style, playing to popular culture and fashion very well. The credits are notable for there use of motion capture on the dancing figures, giving them lifelike choreography and flow. The use of catchy j-pop is yet another way that this series manages to connect to a modern, young audience and the soundtrack mixes between classical soundtrack and popular music wonderfully.

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Despite the series focusing on the romance between Moka and Tsukune, it is a shame that it is their romance that seems the least plausible due to Moka’s obsession with Tsukune’s blood seeming to be such a huge factor in her attraction to him. However, the creators deal with this well through Tsukune’s maturity and decision to wait until he chooses a girlfriend due to him wanting to stay friends with the girls. While this may seen as a bold and mature move, it may also be seen as a way to draw out the “Will they? Won’t they?” plot line. Moka and Tsukune’s ‘love’ scenes seem to only entail them bizarrely sighing at one another and repeating their names over and over while the camera closes in on them. Not only does this manage to annoy an audience with its repetition, but it also alienates them from the true romance the characters might feel for one another through awkward comedy.

While the initial plot of the series focuses on the introduction of Moka’s younger half-sister and her destructive endeavors; this paves the way for a far more interesting and deep story-line, resulting in some interesting questions and queries for the next season. The higher powers of the monster world are drawn into the story more, with certain characters acting as undercover agents for these authorities, creating an intriguing and tantalizing finale which entices us into the next season wonderfully.

Overall, while this series focuses on sexuality, romance, action and supernatural adventure, it is essentially a coming of age tale with some valuable lessons on dual personalities, choosing who you are during the formative years of your life and dealing with rampant teenage hormones. While it does much in the way of fan service and overtly sexual innuendo, it still allows the audience to see the characters as vulnerable and growing young adults who are dealing with their urges (whether monstrous or hormonal) as best they can. The addition of monsters and supernatural creatures makes this Shonen a perfect allegory for the fight for control of the overwhelming primal urges that teenagers feel and can often turn them from sweet children into angry, sexual or out of control ‘monsters’.

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Details:

Label: MVM Entertainment

Release date: 8th October, 2012

Certificate: 15

Running time: 325 mins

Genre: Anime

Director: Koji Masunaru

Author profile:

Anastasia Catris is a freelance illustrator, writer and actress based in South Wales. After graduating in English Literature from Royal Holloway, University of London she studied for a year in comic book art and design in The Kubert School where she nurtured her love of Japanese animation and cartooning as well as its cinema, video games and culture. You can keep up to date with Anastasia’s activity via her website www.anastasiacatris.wordpress.com or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/acatris. You may also follow her on Twitter at @acatris. View Anastasia’s showreel here.

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