Vampire Princess Miyu
Until a month ago, when we started writing our list for “12 days of Christmas”, Vampire Princess Miyu was not even on the map and, at first, it seemed as if she had no chance to get it, mostly because the four OVAs we watched were rather bittersweet -not lame, but not great either. And that’s when we started the TV series that aired during the late 1990s and I found myself in love with yet another great retro series.
For starters, VPM is one of those titles that does not treat its characters as if they were made of glass. Rather, most of them have a very standard fate; they either die, die painfully, lose themselves in an eternal dream or they have to keep on fighting and suffer until the end of their existence. From the first to the last episode the series does not try to pretend there is the slightest bit of hope for the people involved with Miyu -and it’s not as if they is an amazing plot twist for most of the stories. I’d say that the complete opposite is what’s true; most of the stories are predictable and you can see the way things are going to unfold, so there is little tension.
If that sounds as if the series is boring then it shouldn’t, because VPM has one shining element that fixes all these errors; characters. Awesome characters, with great background, humane behavior and weaknesses. People and shinma alike, filled with sin and pain, bitterness and anger and much more. There are many characters here that one could use to write new awesome stories, yet, all we can do is simply watch them for those few minutes each episode lasts and then see them reach tartarus. Exactly because the various side characters are so likeable, their stories managed to touch me emotionally. (1)
Of course, there is Larva, who is by himself a reason to watch the show. Miyu is also worth mentioning since she might be the most contradicting anti-hero in the history of anime, the guardian who appears in the scene of battles only after everything is determined. She is an interesting, exceptionally designed, character and in no way do I wish to degrade her as a protagonist. I really like Miyu and I sympathise with her pain and loneliness, but unfortunately she is not well written. Sometimes she seems indifferent, other times she seems to care for people and Shinma deeply. On the one hand she seems to have accepted her fate, on the other hand she does things that feel like she is opposing it. There is really no consistency here.
Beyond the character/story part of the show, I must admit I really liked the series’ design and Kenji Kawai’s soundtrack, one of the best -and most fitting for the story- I have come across not only in anime but any kind of film as well.
In the end of the day, what makes VPM great is not that it has less flaws than strengths, but that the latter are so amazing that the viewer can go on ignoring all the weaknesses. I believe that every anime fan who wishes to watch something different from the kind of titles that are released nowadays, should give Vampire Princess Miyu a chance.
1. That is my way of saying they I ended up depressed after the end of each episode.