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Dance in the Vampire Bund DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 2, 2011 by  



Thrilling and very entertaining! Nozomu Tamaki’s “Dance in the Vampire Bund” one of the better vampire romance anime series out there!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Dance in the Vampire Bunds DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Dolby TrueHD Japanese and English 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

Release Date: June 14, 2011

 

Original Created by Nozomu Tamaki

Series Director: Masahiro Sonoda

Series Composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino

Music by Akio Dobashi

Character Design by Naoyuki Konno

Art Director: Kohji Azuma

Mecha Design: Tomohiro Kawahara

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Aoi Yūki/Monica Rial as Mina Tepes

Yuuichi Nakamura/Eric Vale as Akira Kaburagi Regendorf

Akeno Watanabe/Terri Doty as Nerra

Asuka Tanii/Abigail Hartman as Nero

Chiwa Saito/Alexis Tipton as Yuki Saegusa

Eri Kitamura/Terri Doty as Nelly

Jouji Nakata as Wolf

Ken Narita as Jean Marais Dermaille

Rie Kugimiya as Hysterica

Shizuka Itou as Nanami Shinonome

Yu Kobayashi as Meiren

Yuko Kaida/Carmen Smith as Vera

When Mina Tepes, Queen of the Vampires, suddenly appears in Japan to establish a colony for her blood-sucking brethren, Akira Kaburagi’s world will never be the same. As a boy, Akira vowed to serve the ruler of the night, and now he must fulfill his destiny by protecting Mina from those who would dethrone her!

Are vampires real?

That is the question that is asked by many and in “Dance in the Vampire Bund” and the vampires reveal themselves to let humanity know, they are in fact real and they have a plan.

The 2010 12-episode anime series is based on a manga written and illustrated by Nozomu Tamaki ( ) for Media Factory’s seinen manga “Comic Flapper” back in 2006.

“Dance in the Vampire Bund” is directed by Masahiro Sonoda (“Lamune”, “Scrapped Princess, “Tenchi Universe”) with a screenplay adaptation by Hiroyuki Yoshino (“Macross Frontier”, “My-HiME”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”).  Music is by Akio Dobashi (“Sister of Wellber”, “Yozakura Quartet”) and character designs are by Naoyuki Konno (“AD Police Files”, “Kikaider”, “Rayearth”).  Anime production is by SHAFT (“Maria Holic”, “Hidamari Sketch”, “Negima!?”).

And now the series will be released in the US courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment in a Blu-ray and two-DVD set.

The series revolves around two individuals.  Akira Kaburagi Regendorf is your regular guy who has lost his memory awhile back but lives a normal life.  That is until Mina Tepes, the princess-ruler of all vampires, makes her presence known during a special live TV broadcast on whether or not vampires exist.

Mina, who has the appearance of a young teenage girl, is actually hundreds of years old and for many years, she has been hiding vampires from society.  But now, she wants to end centuries of isolation and create a special district for the vampires known as “The Bund” off the coast of Japan.  The deal is they pay off the national debt of the Japanese government and in return Japan gives them their own bund for vampires to live in.

As she reveals to Japan and the world the existence of vampires and her wish for both vampires and humans to co-exist with one another, tensions start to mount as both sides try to interfere and end any peaceful relation for both vampires and humans.

Meanwhile, Mina Tepes has her eyes on Akira.  It appears that despite his memory loss, she wants him to remember the promise he made her long ago.  That is for him to be by her side and protect her.

The truth is Mina has been in love with Akira for a very long time and she knows that Akira is actually a werewolf with amazing strength.

And as Akira begins to remember his identity, his powers and the promise he made to Mina, outside forces are trying to pit the two against each other.  And with Mina’s love for Akira, although Akira starts to feel emotions towards her, he also fights for humanity and Mina knows that her vampires that are causing problems may lead to she and Akira fighting to the death.

Meanwhile, the True Bloods, the vampire nobles in which one is to marry Mina are now wanting that chance to happen as soon as possible, but Mina who is in her young teen form tries to prevent that from happening (due to her love for Akira), she can only hope that Akira knows that she wants nothing more but to be with him and hopes that Akira will live up to his promise to be with her and protect her at all times.

As problems between humanity and vampires escalate, what will happen to both Mina and Akira?

The main characters of “Dance in the Vampire Bund” are:

  • Mina Tepes – The ruler of the Vampire World.  Despite having the image of a young teenage girl, the truth is that she is a woman that is hundreds of years old and her true form is a woman with vampiric wings.  But the reason why she stays in her current form is because she would be forced to marrying one of the three Noble vampires, “True Bloods” which she doesn’t want to do.  So, she stays in her young form and holds on to her love for Akira.
  • Akira Kaburagi Regendorf – Akira is the son of Wolfgang and is trained to identify explosives.  Due to a memory loss, he is unaware at first of a promise he made to Mina Tepes, that he would protect her and be by her side.  While trying to live a normal human life, the truth is that Akira is a werewolf.
  • Yuki Saegusa – The main narrator of the series and a teenage girl who happens to be in love with Akira.  She begins to be one of Mina’s confidants and is an amateur novelist who has a following in the Bund.  It is revealed that what she writes is yaoi that is based on Akira.

VIDEO:

“Dance in the Vampire Bund DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the good news for anime Blu-ray purists is that this is an HD-native series.  SHAFT did a pretty solid job in capturing the dark nature of the series with red clouds, darker tones for trees and buildings but also showing another side to Mina Tepes when she is in negotiations with the humans with a more colorful pallet.  Because the DVD’s are included with the Blu-ray release, you can see the difference in how the actual Blu-ray looks in terms of vibrant colors and contrast versus its DVD counterpart.

I detected no artifacts, color blemishes or anything that stood out as negative while watching this series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Dance in the Vampire Bund DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series” is presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  One will notice that FUNimation Entertainment utilized the soundtrack for the English dub.  The sound effects are much more immersive, the booms utilize the LFE and good overall use of the surround channels.  Also, I have to add that the English dubbing for this series was also well-done!

As for the Japanese lossless soundtrack, the acting is excellent but there is a difference with the audio as the English dub utilizes the surround channels and LFE much more better than its Japanese counterpart.  But still both are very good soundtracks and whether you choose the Japanese or English lossless track, you should be happy with the overall soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Dance in the Vampire Bund DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Shinbo & Sumomo Chat – (23:52) The episode is consider episode 8.5 (a recap episode). In this episode, Sumomo is low on space and Shinbo must decide what content to erase and thus recalling certain events in the series.
  • Preview – (:41) The preview for episode 9.
  • Intermission 1-12 – (16:18) Twelve manga intermissions with voice acting (Japanese).
  • Original Japanese Commercials– (1:24) Japanese TV commercials for “Dance in the Vampire Bund”.
  • Promo Video – (1:45) Japanese promotional video for “Dance in the Vampire Bund”.
  • Textless Opening Song – Featuring the textless opening theme for the series.
  • Textless Closing Song – Featuring the textless ending theme for the series.
  • Trailers – Funimation Entertainment Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Dance in the Vampire Bund DVD/Blu-ray Complete Series” comes with a cardboard slipcase.

There have been a good number of anime vampire series that I have watched for a long time now.  And within the last decade, there have been quite a number of vampire anime TV series from “Blood”, “Black Blood Brothers”, “Vampire Knight”, “Trinity Blood” to name a few.

And I guess when you juxtapose it to what is happening in the U.S. since the “Twilight” films were released, there are also quite a bit of vampire series out as well.  But in the case of “Dance in the Vampire Bund”, similar to what we see in the U.S. and also in Japan is the focus on romantic series between the protagonists.  In this case, the vampire rule Mina Tepes and a werewolf named Akira.

When it comes to the relationship part of things, I feel that compared to “Vampire Knight” another romance driven vampire series, for me, “Dance in the Vampire Bund” was much more exciting.  For one, there is a good amount of action to coincide with the dramatic portion of the series.

In “Dance in the Vampire Bund”, it’s a complicated relationship that the two protagonists have.  In some way, it’s like a “Romeo & Juliet” type of storyline in which Mina is obligated to marry one of the vampire nobles, but in the effort to not go through with it, she maintains the form of a young teen or older child, so she can continue to be happy as long as Akira is by her side.

And of course, the vampires know this, so they do what they can to destroy that relationship and most of all, seeing if they can eliminate Akira, so one can finally marry the princess.

You also get to see what happens when both humans and vampires are not able to co-exist and we see Akira going against Mina.  Despite the fact that they do care for each other, many people would love to see the vampires vanquished and try to use Akira’s werewolf power to destroy that bond that he and Mina have.

If there is one thing that did bother me about this anime series is the fact that you have Mina, as a young teen often shown naked.  Granted, she is a vampire and several hundred years old but it is a bit awkward to see her nude in that form quite often.  It’s also important to note that the series does have its share of nudity, not just from Mina but also from other characters, so unlike “Vampire Knight”, this is not a series you want your young siblings or children to be around while watching.  The series also has its share of bloody violence, but while not as graphic as other series, its there.

As for the Blu-ray release, FUNimation Entertainment have now been focusing on Blu-ray and DVD combo-releases similar to what other companies are doing, so people can have the best of both worlds.  And I actually enjoy that because as many anime fans are beginning to migrate towards Blu-ray, if they don’t have a Blu-ray player now, they can still watch it on DVD and watch the Blu-ray once they get a player.  And so far, FUNimation Entertainment are offering these releases for the price of their usual Blu-ray releases.

But the only caveat that I can see about this release and a few have been vocal on the Internet is the fact that the releases are in slipcases that house DVD-sized cases instead of Blu-ray cases.  There are hardcore Blu-ray enthusiasts who vow to not buy series because it uses a DVD-sized case.  While I can understand some people getting upset about this, personally looking at my Blu-ray collection and seeing the various cases they have come in, what FUnimation Entertainment is doing is not as bad as few make it out to be.  But considering some like consistency with their display, I do understand their frustration.

Overall, “Dance in the Vampire Bund” is a series that features cool animation, cool background art and is a pretty good romance-based vampire anime series.  It may not be for everyone, especially for those looking for a series much more darker and violent but still, “Dances in the Vampire Bund” is entertaining and definitely worth checking out if you are into vampire anime series.

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