Volume: The Complete First Season
Distributor: FUNimation Entertainment
Genre(s): romance, comedy, horror, harem
Age Rating: TVMA
Runtime: 325 minutes
Release Date: 12/20/2011
Is it not every young man's dream to have a personal harem of beautiful young maidens that launch themselves into their arms, each vying for his affection, willing to go to any lengths to ensure his happiness?
I say "young man" because as any male with more than a few years' experience with women could tell you, such a scenario would be an absolute nightmare. We can hardly handle the ups and downs of a single relationship; to take on several at once would drive us insane.
But that doesn't stop the harm genre from booming in Japan, mostly since its target audience consist of those blissfully ignorant teens and young adults who have yet to truly partake of the joys of pair bonding. However, the genre sometimes struggles to keep itself propped up. There are only so many ways to tell the same story over and over again, save for those few that self-analyze the tropes within themselves (such as Ouran High School Host Club). So what's a good way to pump some vitality into this waning market? Monsters!
The story follows a young man named Tsukune Aono, who recently transferred to Yokai Academy, a seemingly normal school that happened to be the only one he could get into. It isn't until he arrives on campus and well into his first class that he realizes the whole school is populated by monsters of myth and legend, all of whom maintain a human form as they learn to blend in with the social norms of human society.
Just as Tsukune is ready to get the hell out of Monster Mash 101, he meets the beautiful vampire named Moka Akashiya, and falls head over heels in love with her. Moka falls for him as well, if only because his blood tastes so sweet that she just can't let him go.
Over time, Tsukune gains the attention of a smorgasbord of monster girls, like Kurumu, a succubus with breasts the size of Texas, Yukari the genius witch girl, and Mizore, a mythical ice fairy with a penchant for lollipops. He also struggles to keep his identity as a normal human a secret, since humans are forbidden at Yokai and are (supposedly) killed on sight. It's not easy, since several students, teachers, and other outside forces are constantly at work putting Tsukune in danger, only to have his wannabe girlfriends swoop in to save his ass every time.
If you take the sex and the boobs and the panties away, does the show still hold up? Not really. Animation is decent, but nothing stands out as amazing, even during the fight scenes that occur in almost every episode. Moka can have her rosary removed, giving her a Super Saiyan style power up, but the fights rarely act as eye candy and are usually over way too fast, something the show itself comments on a lot.
This is perhaps the one silver lining about Rosario+Vampire: It does not take itself seriously at all. Very frequently there are snide asides about the ridiculous nature of the anime and characters, directly addressing the camera about some matter or the other. And that's good. If the show tried to play itself off as an actual dramatic romance or serious fighting anime, I would have simply tossed out the DVD and be done with it. But it keeps a sense of humor and that makes the audience laugh as a means to keep them engaged.
But at the end of the day, Rosario+Vampire is just a stupid, stupid show. It relies too heavily on the sex jokes to carry its weight, and really offers no dramatic insight into anything. I know not everything has to revolutionize the human condition or anything, and that it's all for fun. If you want a show to become your new guilty pleasure, by all means take a look at this one. You'll be glad you did. But for people looking for depth they can sink their teeth into (heh, vampire pun), look elsewhere.