What They Say:
After the world was infected by a mysterious virus, a pair of orphans named Mikael and Yuichiro find themselves being enslaved by vampires. One day they try to escape alongside the other orphans and all end up being slaughtered by vampires leaving only Yuichiro to escape. Upon reaching the outside world, he joins a group dedicated to defeating the vampires and swears to one day have his revenge.
Content (warning as some portions of this review may contain spoilers):
*ssssiiiiiiiggghhhhh….* I guess I spoke too soon. Last week’s episode offered a chance at a much needed reprimand to Yu’s character through the introduction of Mitsuba who’s entirely against his usual antics. It was something the show really needed but as I said before, how well it would actually work depended on how the show chose to make them understand each others point of view. Unfortunately in typical fashion, the show chose the option that best validates Yu, and does so in the laziest way possible.
The gang continues their operation to rescue the captured citizens from vampires and Yu rushes in head first to take one of them out. Mitsuba reprimands him for being reckless but he claims he “really wasn’t” since he waited for the order to attack technically (the first of many “technicalities” with this episode’s writing) and she’s impressed by his fighting abilities when he saves her from a surprise attack. It’s already pretty clear where this is headed and it’s pretty much confirmed when Mitsuba gets caught by one of the vampires and relives the trauma she faced when she watched her comrade die before, as she orders the others to leave her behind. Yu of course decides not to listen and saves her anyway. To really hammer in the cliches here, Yu even gives a ridiculous speech on human nature concerning their desire to protect family and while it’s clear we’re supposed to take it seriously, it just comes off as extremely silly. It doesn’t help that the animation takes a step down and the fight looks mostly average with the end of the vampire raid happening off-screen.
After the raid goes down, Mitsuba decides to ask Shinoa why Yu acts the way he does and Shinoa decides to tell her about Yu’s past. What we’re supposed to buy from this is that she’s starting to see things from Yu’s standpoint and understands his behavior even if she doesn’t fully agree with it. In truth however, it’s obvious that she now has a crush on him and that’s allowing her to start handwaving his usual behavior (even the words “you didn’t do anything wrong” are actually uttered after this, although at least in context it’s justifiable, albeit groaning). The former’s not terribly surprising given the kind of show it is and it’s also not surprising it would lead to the latter but given that the show really needed someone to make Yu’s character back down a little, it’s a bit of a shame(the saving grace of all this is that Shinoa at least has the decency to point out the obvious love comedy tropes).
Sadly that’s not quite the end of this week’s Yu validation as after a few good gags at his expensive concerning his mad (horrible) driving skills, the group heads to Shinjuku. Before they can quite get there though, they’re stopped at the entrance by a vampire noble named Crowley, and things seemingly take a turn for the worse when two more vampires show up. Thankfully for them, the vampires were only there to retrieve the noble as they have business else where and the gang is spared for now. Yu’s none too pleased about being underestimated and wants to get stronger to defeat them but Shinoa tells him that it’s no good if he gets stronger on his own since they have to function as a group and it’s why teamwork is essential.
This would actually be a pretty good reprimand for his usual behavior except that Shinoa almost immediately takes it back by thanking him for considering the notion to retreat at some point since it shows he’s making a step in the right direction despite it not clicking well with his earlier behavior. It’s like the show wants you to believe Yu is developing as a character without going through any of the actual motions of character development. Obviously it isn’t something that’s really detrimental to the kind of show this is but I wish it would try a little harder.
After dishing out a surprisingly good episode the last time, this one almost completely takes back all the good will that gave it by going back to square one with Yu’s character problems. I guess at least on the bright side we at least have some action to distract from that but given this didn’t quite deliver well on that front either, it’s kind of frustrating. Hopefully there’s a little improvement in at least the latter of those two things for the next time because I have the feeling the former’s going to stick for a long, long time.
Streamed By: Funimation, Hulu