Now, I know that this particular series veered over into a sub-genre I am tired of…vampires. It’s not that there aren’t good or interesting vampire animes out there, like “Black Blood Brothers” or “Hellsing”, but it is the sheer amount of them that gets overwhelming to the point where I run away. The other genre I am tired of is Giant Fighting Robots, so if they have a Giant Vampire Fighting Robot show, I can avoid it. (And if it is voiced by Chris Ayres, it’s everything I hate in one spot!)
The one under the microscope is “Rosario + Vampire”, which got a lot of positive spin in things I saw. Many girls liked it, as it was sooooooooooo romantic. Well, I was between shows and it came up, so I gave it a test run. I didn’t crash and burn, but it got really old really fast.
This is a shame, as it started out so good. Our hero, Tsukune Aono, is a ronin. This is a term used for a student who has left one school, but is not attached to another one. (It is a samurai term for a swordsman who has no master, but roams the countryside). He is a bit of a brick and is having a most difficult time getting accepted anywhere. His father magically finds an errant admission packet (dropped in an alley, after dark, by a strange hooded figure. Man, things have got to be rather weird and desperate if you are willing to grab an admission packet, dropped in an alley, after dark, by a strange hooded figure) and gloms it, scampering away. Hooray! Their son is not a total dweeb dork dingleberry dognice! Now, get to school!
He rides the bus to the Youkai Academy, but that driver is as creepy as it gets and Tsukune is dropped off at a location that would send shivers up anyone’s spine, save for Jack Skellington’s. As he walks to the school, through a graveyard, (and what are these tombstones for? Is this the retirement program?), he meets Mochachino….I mean Moka Akashiya. She finds herself curiously drawn to him and ends up taking a small nip from him, as she is a vampire. In the process, she makes her first, true, real friend EVER. In class, Tsukune then learns the horrible truth: this is a Monster School. More importantly, humans are not allowed on campus. Well, even if one managed to get through, they would DIE INSTANTLY! (So how come Tsukune is alive?)
There are two BIG school rules: do NOT tell people of your secret monster identity. Do NOT transform into your secret monster identity. (Rule One: we do not talk about Monster Club. Rule Two: we do NOT talk about Monster Club). This is like telling people not to speed while doing the Indy 500. Well, there is trouble right from the get-go, as one of Tsukune’s classmates, Saizo, smells a human in the room (it doesn’t help that they sit next to each other). We also learn that Moka is basically a schizo. She wears this cross from a collar on her neck (or arosario). She cannot remove the cross herself, but if someone else does, she becomes Dark Moka, the great and powerful Oz….I mean a Class S Monster Vampire. This happens when Saizo/Beast Boy tries to eat Tsukume and Dark Moka kicks his booty. Kicks? She punts him! She could replace Janikowski from the Raiders!
The problem with this is that this happens in almost every show! Some new horrible monster comes up (a succubus, a witch, a werewolf, a lizard guy, a politician). Tsukume couldn’t even fight his way out of a wet paper bag that is open at both ends AND if you gave him directions, so he must be rescued. And rescued. And rescued. And….
To make matters worse, there is unrelenting fan service. The skirts seem to be cut a skosh high, so you can see everyone’s panties all the time. Whenever the ladies walk, we get wobble wobble wobble. Now, it would make the best sense on Kurumu Kurono. She is a succubus (for those unfamiliar with demons, she comes to men in their dreams and steals their seed; the blue-haired one above with the really big…..bow), so it makes the story work best that she is busty (and yes, she is ever, attacking the boys with her boingies). But I mean ALL the ladies are in constant up-skirt shots or falling down shots, or having to deal with errant winds shots or changing out of your clothes for gym class shots. PS, the president of the Newspaper Club is a hopeless pervert, taking candid photos of the ladies changing and he has acres of the snaps ON HIS PERSON! It would be smarter to have a flash drive, but a lot less humorous when he gets exposed.
And when Moka transforms, not only does she get a bigger butt (and it looks like her hips tilt up as well, so it gives a very provocative appearance), but her bustline increases. Man, yank that cross off more often! But you are flattened by the overuse of it. You are flattened by Dark Moka’s callous attitude. You are flattened by the retreaded story line, which is more or less the same every episode, just some new monster to get flattened by Moka. You are flattened by Tsukume’s pathetic nature. If I get knocked any flatter, I’ll only have one side.
And the faculty! If I was paying this caliber of money into the school, I would like to know that my children are not being terrified and bullied by upper classmen, or monsters that contravene the ‘do not reveal’ policy constantly to torment others or that the admin staff sits around all day, doing nothing (except drinking mochachinos). Excuse me, but you have a student that is going to be publically executed and the president of the school pronounces “That is his fate.” Let me read that Student Guide again.
All in all, it is a most frustrating series. There is a second season (which I have not addressed), but the first season wraps up nicely enough for all that, so you may not feel the need to pursue further. I know I didn’t care to. What you want, we don’t have (a truly compelling storyline), what you don’t want, we’ve got plenty of (tiresome fan service.) The only character worth anything is the narrator bat (which looks more like a Hamtaro with wings).
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (It is a good-looking show, and with those up-skirt shots, it better be!)
Plot 5 (Feels sadly familiar)
Pacing 5 (Bogged down by the fan service)
Effectiveness 6 (It runs hit and miss, especially near the end)
Conclusion 8 (It ends)
Fan Service 8 (A similar show would “Sekirei”)
Overall 5 (It’s been done much better)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Although seeing just one episode means you HAVE seen it.