Round 2. FIGHT!
Dance in the Vampire Bund
Before you read my thoughts on this show, I implore you to watch the actual episode beforehand, especially if you know nothing about it. The surprise was kind of spoiled for me, and as a result my experience was ruined somewhat.
Before I got around to watching the first episode of Dance in the Vampire Bund, I read that it opens with a parody on Japanese TV shows. I simply assumed that the first five minutes would be focused on this gag, and after that the show would be all about rubbing oil on a naked lolita vampire.
However, once the episode made it to the 10-minute mark, I knew they were going all the way. While initially put off by this stunt, I now find that it’s absolutely brilliant. Looking back on it, there’s no better way to open the show and get people acquainted with its world. People with no experience with bad Japanese television probably won’t appreciate this parody, but SHAFT nailed the dynamics of those kinds of shows perfectly.
That said, I am looking forward to when it makes a shift towards the serious. Nice opener, though.
While not as well packaged, interesting, or downright confusing as the first episode of Baccano!, the first episode of Durarara!! catches one’s interest almost as well. It balances its hip Tokyo highschooler antics well with some crazier and darker elements that will no doubt become more important as the show progresses.
The show presents itself very well, boasting some slick character designs, a stylish soundtrack and sharp direction. However, one thing to note is that at this point, the storytelling is very linear. Unlike Baccano’s first epsiode that jumped around a lot, Durarara!!’s stays in one place (namely Ikebukuro). The show is fine as of this first episode, but I hope it finds some way to recapture the same kind of charm Baccano had.
I have faith that it’ll be good, though. The first episode was already above average, even if most of the awesome parts were in the opening.
Hidamari Sketch ☆☆☆
Just the same as the rest, really. Like with most additions to ongoing franchises that SHAFT does, there’s an attempt to refine and try out new techniques. This episode boasts a lot of the same directorial quirks found in Bakemonogatari, and are used fairly effectively. The designs have also been changed a bit to match Aoki Ume’s art a bit more than in previous outings with the material.
I used that screencap because I’d like to assume Hiro is actually wondering about what happened to the opening and ending sequences. The opening they have right now is only 1/4th done and the ending is non-existent. I guess this is what happens when one of your outsourcing studios dies.
Natsu no Arashi 2 and Dance in the Vampire Bund didn’t really have much in the ways of openings and endings either. A shame, since SHAFT is so good at both of those.