Vlad Love is one of those comedy shows that makes you wonder what is about. It’s basically a girl meets vampire girl. Yes, it’s starting to sound like a similar premise with Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san. The only difference is that while there is not as much yuri, its 100 times crazier. Not to mention, it’s the first anime series that Oshii Mamoru made in over three decades. The answer is, does it live up to its name?
Note: An audio version of this review is now available.
The story focuses on a high school girl named Mitsugu Banba. She has an unusual interest in donating her own blood. When she tried to donate her blood, the nurses refused. A beautiful blond hair girl appeared who seems like she is about to collapse. When the nurses tried to take her blood, she punches them, grabs Mitsdugu and some blood packs. Shortly afterwards, she detonates the van.
After escaping, Mitsugu eventually finds out that the vampire girl, Mai just wanted blood. She accidentally went into a shipping container and found herself in Japan. Mitsugu takes her to her home and give a packet of her blood to Mai.
Since Mai won’t bite and suck any human’s blood, Mitsugu finds an alternative not only to find her a supply of blood but find protection for her. She eventually forms the Blood Donation Club with Chihiro, the school’s bodacious nurse being their advisor. After a few members, most notably the leaders of their respective clubs: Nami, a captain of the dance club, Maki who manages the Cinema Club, Kaoru who is into Cosplay. Along with the Discipline Committee Chairman, Jinko, they joined as well.
As with most random comedy shows, the milage will vary as some might not find all the jokes funny. Still, I must admit that the slapstick comedy and humor are surprisingly enjoyable. Yes, I find some of it hilarious such as Mai letting lose all the zoo animals and befriends them. Believe it or not, Mai would fit in well with the Animal Liberation Front.
Also, there are a lot of funny moments besides this one. This ranges from a crazy play version of Castlevania to Mai wrecking up a gyoza shop, and of course, turning to a dragon after drinking its blood and setting the city ablaze. The funny thing is that the city and the restaurant return to normal the next episode like it never happened at all.
Talking about Castlevania, this show has a lot of references to popular media, primarily western film, Japanese politics, video games, and more. Believe it or not, there are even references to Konami, Super Mario, Chihiru playing Fallout 4 on her PlayStation 4 (just don’t mention the abomination known as Fallout 76, Bethesda’s worst Fallout game so far), Street Fighter, and Virtual Fighter to name a few. Yes, Kaoru even dresses up as Chun-Li from Street Fighter. From this, Jinko gets so upset at her for almost committing copyright infringement. Despite all the references, I feel that they work well with the comedy.
Of course, this leaves us the relationship between Mitsugu and Mai. Yes, there is yuri in this as Mitsugu is protective of Mai, especially from danger. She is also willing to have Mai suck her blood. Not only that, she has some feelings for her as she wants to protect her from harm. Of course, the relationship didn’t go beyond from this stage, which is not surprising given the various experimental storytelling they want to do.
Overall, Vlad Love Is an interesting take on comedy. Yes, the animation studio experimented on various animation styles such as the usual to hyper realistic shots. This of course adds to some of the stories they want to tell, especially in the 8th and 9th episodes. Not to mention, this show had a fun beach episode as well. Overall, I think Vlad Love worth a watch if you enjoy slapstick comedy and humor along with lots of pop culture references. ¶