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Rosario + Vampire: Season One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

December 23, 2011 by  

If you are an anime fan craving for something a bit perverse, crazy but also a series that is full of action, you can’t go wrong with “Rosario + Vampire”!

Image courtesy of © Akihisa Ikeda/Shueisha Rosario*Vampire Project. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Rosario + Vampire: Season One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 17+

Release Date: December 20, 2011

Originally created by Akihisa Ikeda

Directed by Hiroshi Yamaguchi

Screenplay by Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Ritsuko Hayasaka

Music by Kouhei Tanaka, Shiroh Hamaguchi

Character Design by Mariko Fujita

Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Chief Animation Director: Satoru Kiyomaru

Mechanical Design by Hiroyuki Kanbe

Sound Director: Takeshi Takadera

Director of Photography: Ayumi Ushijima

Anime Production: Gonzo

Featuring the following voice talent

Daisuke Kishio/Todd Haberkorn as Tsukune Aono

Nana Mizuki/Alexis Tipton as Moka Akashiya

Colleen Clinkenbeard as Inner Moka Akashiya

Kikuko Inoue/Jamie Marchi as Shizuka Nekonome

Kimiko Koyama/Monica Rial as Yukari Sendō

Misato Fukuen/Brina Palencia as Kurumu Kurono

Rie Kugimiya/Tia Ballard as Mizore Shirayuki

Saeko Chiba/Leah Clark as Rubi Tōjō

Shuuichi Ikeda/Jason Douglas as Kuyou

Takehito Koyasu as Nazo Koumori

Tomokazu Seki as Ginei Morioka

Tsukune looks to be a typical high school student, but his grades are bad to the bone. Rejected by school after school, he finally gets accepted by an academy that’s more than a little out of his neighborhood. Unfortunately, it’s a school for monsters and Tsukune is the lone human! While forced to hide his secret, along comes a cute – but hungry – vampire girl named Moka. Beneath her cute and clumsy exterior, she too is not exactly as she seems…

In 2004, mangaka Akihisa Ikeda (creator of the 2002 fantasy series “Kiruto”) created a new series titled “Rosario to Vampire” published in “Weekly Shonen Jump” and lasted from through 2007, followed by a new series titled “Rosario to Vampire Capu2″ which is currently ongoing in Japan.

With the popularity of the manga series, in 2008 a 13-episode anime series was created and ran from January through March.  A second season followed and aired in Japan from October through December that same year.

The series features anime production from GONZO and is directed by Takayuki Inagaki (“Desert Punk”, “”Indian Summer”, “Jewelpet Sunshine”), series composition by Hiroshi Yamaguchi (“Bastard!!”, “To Heart”, “Gatekeepers”), character design by Mariko Fujita (“Galaxy Angel”) and art direction by Shigemi Ikeda (“Ikki Tousen”, “Gantz”, “Inuyasha”).

And now both seasons of “Rosario+Vampire” (the American title) will be released by FUNimation Entertainment in Dec. 2011.

“Rosario+Vampire” is a harem anime series which focuses on protagonist Tsukune Aono, a normal high school freshman who is unable to get into any private school because of his bad grades.  But his parents enroll him into a private school called “Yokai Academy”.

But when Tsukune arrives at his new school, he realizes that it’s a school for monsters disguised as humans and because it’s a top secret school in which humans are not to know about it, if he reveals that he is human and knows about the school, he will be killed.

One day, while thinking about leaving the school, he accidentally runs into a beautiful pink haired girl named Moka Akashiya.  Moka turns out to be a sweet vampire and is attracted to the taste of his blood (she takes small nibbles instead of large bites).  Moka had lived in the human world at one time and does not like them for some reason.  She also wears cross that is fixed upon a collar and can not be removed.

But because she has made friends with Tsukune, she instantly bonds with him, not knowing he is human.  And because this normal teenager is able to catch the attention of a beautiful girl at school, others become jealous and one decides to confront Moka of why she would be with a weakling like Tsukune.

And through circumstances, he reveals to Moka that he is actually a human and she is shocked to find out that someone so kind, is a human being.  But one day, while trying to defend Moka from a male monster trying to make her be with him, somehow he is able to remove her cross from her collar which activates during a time of need and Moka transforms to a Class S vampire (the most powerful vampire) and the true inner Moka is revealed.

Needless to say, she defeats the male monster and from that point on, both begin to become great friends and fall for each other.

But along the way, other female students (supernatural) also begin to fall for Tsukune and all start to hang out as a group, but at the same time, each girl knows they are rivals in gaining Tsukune’s affection.

The main characters of “Rosario + Vampire” are:

  • Tsukune Aono – The main protagonist. A normal human teenager who is mistakenly enrolled into Yokai Academy.  Because it is illegal for humans to attend a high school for the supernatural/monsters, Tsukune tries to keep his human existence a secret (only Moka knows he is a human).  He really cares for Moka, but also cares for his other friends and tries to protect them.  And because he is courageous and willing to befriend them, these female characters fall for him.
  • Moka Akashiya – The first student that Tsukune befriends.  She is a sweet and kind vampire with a rosario (cross) attached to her collar.  It is sealed and no one can remove it but when things get tough, Tsukune is the only person can break off the rosario and reveal the cold “inner” Moka who is an S-Class monster.  She cares for Tsukune deeply and loves the taste of his blood.
  • Kurumu Kurono – She is a succubus who sees Moka as a rival because of the attention she gets from guys.  Kurumu also has G-cup breasts that she tries to seduce Tsukune with and can use her hypnotizing spell on males. She chooses Tsukune to be the guy she will try to win over and marry.
  • Yukari Sendo – The smartest student of Yokai Academy at young at age 11.  She is a witch and because witches are seen as half human, she is discriminated against by her fellow schoolmates and has moved school to school because she didn’t not get along with anyone.  But because both Tsukune and Moka accepted her and want to be friends with her, she has interests in both Moka and Tsukune.
  • Mizora Shirayuki - A depressed girl with freezing supernatural powers.  Because  Tsukune became friends with her, she became infatuated with him.  She is known to be quiet and always sucking a lollipop.
  • Ginei Morioka – A werewolf and the president of the Newspaper Club.  He is also a mega pervert and tried to get Tsukune in trouble at one time.  But despite his pervertedness, he has helped the group at times when they are in a bind.

Here is a basic spoilerless summary of each episode included on the two DVD’s of “Rosario+Vampire: Season One”:

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 1 – Tsukune Aono meets Moka Akashiya for the first time.
  • EPISODE 2 – A succubus named Kurumu Kurono tries to beat her rival Moka by getting close to Tsukune.
  • EPISODE 3 - Tsukune, Moka and Kurumu meet a troublesome young witch named Yukari Sendo.
  • EPISODE 4 – Three fanboys are upset that Tsukune is getting all the attention from the hot girls at school and now they want him dead.
  • EPISODE 5 – The students must choose an activity and Tsukune considers joining the swim club (but water drains the powers of vampires, so Moka is reluctant in joining).
  • EPISODE 6 - Tsukune along with Moka, Kurumu and Yukari join the Newspaper club and meet the president Ginei Morioka, a high class pervert who tries to pin his pervertedness on Tsukune.
  • EPISODE 7 – Tsukune and friends meet a depressed girl named Mizore Shirayuki.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 8 - Tsukune is failing in math and his teacher Ririko Kagome tries to take things into her own hands in teaching Tsukune math.
  • EPISODE 9 – The Newspaper Club takes a field trip to the human world.  Meanwhile, Yukari encounters a witch named Ruby Tojo.
  • EPISODE 10 – Ruby has second thoughts about Tsukune and friends.
  • EPISODE 11 – The Newspaper Club is working on a story to show the Public Safety Committee’s corruptness at Yokai Academy.
  • EPISODE 12 – When the attempts by the Newspaper Club to collect evidence on the PSC’s corruption, Tsukune is under arrest for suspicion of being human.
  • EPISODE 13 – Tsukune is sentenced to execution for being human.

VIDEO:

“Rosario + Vampire” is presented in 16:9 widescreen.  As one would expect from a TV series, the picture quality on DVD is soft and there is more detail that can be seen on the art backgrounds which are well-painted.  Character designs are good at times, while not as detailed for far shots, close-ups look good and there is good shading on the clothes and hair of the characters .  But overall, the picture quality looks good on DVD and the fact that locations are constantly changing for the series, there is a good amount of background scenery used.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Rosario + Vampire” is presented in English 5.1 surround and Japanese stereo.  While the Japanese voice acting is very good, I found myself watching the English dub quite a bit because of the better spatial use of audio.  The voice acting for the English dub is well-done and for the most part, fans of the series should enjoy both soundtracks.  While those with home theater systems may prefer the English 5.1 for the better use of channels, you can also set your receiver to output stereo on all channels for the Japanese track for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Rosario + Vampire: Season One” comes with the following special features:

DISC 2

  • Textless Closing Song – Dancing in the Velvet Moon
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailres

“Rosario + Vampire” is a harem anime series which is fun, a bit perverse and features a good amount of action and fan service!

While “Rosario + Vampire” does fit into the banality of harem anime series, with the world’s fascination towards vampire films and television series, “Rosario + Vampire” being adapted into an anime series was good timing and while the series does feature a female vampire and a human male (which is the opposite of many TV series and movies featuring vampire and human relationships), the positives that I have found of the series is that the characters are fun to watch, each have their own distinct styles (considering one is a vampire, one is a succubus, one is a witch and the other is some snow entity) and also you get the mix of fan service that will surely attract fan who can’t get enough of perverted situations.

And of course, it helps to have fan service and action in perfect balance and “Rosario + Vampire” does provide both.

Despite having a series being featured on the main protagonist attending a school full of monsters and supernatural beings, “Rosario + Vampire”, while not adding anything new to anime harem series, I did enjoy the series because of its underdog mentality.  Tsukune is not exactly the bravest of people, but somehow he respects his friendships and in turn, because he does step into to protect those he cares about, we get to see female characters who become attracted to him and thus everyone wanting to be with him.

While the majority of all episodes are upbeat, you do get an emotional season finale which was definitely entertaining!

While I’m not sure if mangaka Akihisa Ikeda provided a final definitive storyline as the manga series is still ongoing in Japan, the first volume does play it safe by focusing on the adventures of Tsukune and friends as they take on various supernatural beings/monsters and eventually get more deep into their newspaper club which leads to a season finale which is to be expected.

As for the first season of “Rosario + Vampire”, I was hoping to listen to audio commentary from FUNimation Entertainment aside from the single textless ending theme being the sole special feature.  And the picture quality for the series, it’s good for DVD but because it is soft at times, not sure if this series would be upgraded and released in the near future on Blu-ray.

Overall, “Rosario + Vampire: Season One” was an anime series that I enjoyed!  I’m used to watching harem anime series and for the most part, the rivalry and the camaraderie that comes with these anime series is similar what you would find on “Rosario + Vampire”, but I will say that having something take place at a school of monsters is rather intriguing.  And once again, those who love fan service and action-themed anime series will definitely enjoy “Rosario + Vampire”.

If you are an anime fan craving for something a bit perverse, crazy but also a series that is full of action, you can’t go wrong with “Rosario + Vampire”!




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