Anime Review 26: Vampire Princess Miyu, Moribito, and Fate/Stay Night
Vampire Princess Miyu
Vampire Princess Miyu
This show was a little confusing at first, but after a few episodes it becomes more clear that Miyu is one of the "good guys". Miyu is your everyday vampire-killing vampiress, who looks elegant in a kimono and fights monsters with poise, determination, and most importantly, fire magic. With her is a cute sidekick that looks sort of like a lop-eared bunny or hamster or something that's white and has one cute little red eye and one big yellow monstrous eye. She also works with a pretty boy in a cape who wears a mask, named Lava, and sometimes her comanion Reiha shows up, creepy talking doll in tow.
This show plays out how you'd expect in a Magical Girl show from the late 90's, but it has a dark, horror genre edge to it as well. It reminded me in terms of general art style of Yuyu Hakusho and Sailor Moon, but the show was a bit more skewed toward the YYH side of things. The reason it was like Sailor Moon was mostly in Miyu's flame attacks that looked a lot like those of Sailor Mars. Since I'm a fan of both Sailor Moon and YYH, I enjoyed this show. It also has a good female lead character, she's as awesome to see in action as Buffy or Xena, but quieter and more reserved than either of them. I liked this show but at the same time, since I've seen a lot of things like it, not a whole lot happened that I didn't expect.
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Another show with a great strong female lead, Moribito is a beautiful piece of fantasy storytelling. Set in a magical fantasy kingdom resembling ancient Japan, the story is about Balsa, a female bodyguard. She's excellent at fighting with a spear, and her reputation causes a queen to seek a favor from her: to guard her son and keep him safe from assassins for the rest of her life. Since she has some kind of emotional baggage and wants to save at least 1 more life, blah blah blah, she accepts. She escapes from the palace with the boy prince as they set his bedroom on fire to fake his death. However, her mission to guard the boys' life is complicated by an unfortunate fact: nestled in his body is a water demon egg. When the egg hatches, the water demon that comes out is prophesied to bring drought and ruin. It creates a moral dilemma for Balsa because she is essentially, by being his body guard, agreeing to protect from harm the egg of a water spirit or demon who could end up killing lots of other people. However, she does accept this mission, attempting to secretly aid the prince in escaping to new lands and hide him from his attackers, who as it turns out were largely unconvinced by the whole fire thing.
The storyline also encompasses the relationship between Balsa and Tanda, her male childhood friend. Tanda became a skilled healer because Balsa was always getting herself bruised and cut, and Balsa has a tendency to check up with him when she needs his skills and then run off on another adventure, forgetting him, and that hurts Tanda's feelings. He even says "I feel like some soldiers' wife", reinforcing the feeling that their relationship is kind of a gender-reversed one, at least in terms of old-school Japanese culture.
I own the first DVD in this series, but I was a little disappointed because it has only 7 or 8 episodes but the packaging would have you believe there were more, in other words, it looks like they could have fit more than 2 discs into the boxes they used. I have a box set of another series that is roughly the same-size box and contains 6 discs.
I remembered my first experience with this show was watching it on Adult Swim, but it was kind of late at night when it came on and I never paid much attention to the story. I would encourage you, if you saw it on AS late at night, to check it out and watch these episodes in a row, because the story is mystical and intriguing.
This show is about an all-out war for the Holy Grail that has been fought 5 times now over many years by generations of powerful magicians. And one unlucky teenage boy, Shirou, with some small magical talent but no formal training ends up being caught up in it when he's attacked by a magician and accidentally summons a weapon-person (it's a lot like in Soul Eater) with his magical hand that he can barely control.
Now this girl, who only gives the name Saber, demands that he become her "Master", that is, order her in combat against other magicians for the Holy Grail. When everything gets explained to him about the war, at first he says he doesn't want the Grail or anything to do with it.
However, the one who controls the Grail is granted a free wish, and the winner of previous Holy Grail Wars have sometimes been cunning and ruthless psychopaths, because the nature of the Wars is that they reward cut-throat tactics. So Shirou decides to step up to the plate and try to learn all he can about magic in order to win the Holy Grail, if only because he wants to stop anyone else from getting it because there's a good chance, it seems, that whoever does will cause horrible destruction.
This show was a bit confusing in the first 2 episodes but gets better over time, as more gets explained.