Thursday, May 10, 2007

Karin (An Anime in Review)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This was quite a surprise. An anime series that has yet to hit the United States, has only been produced here in manga form, and has little-to-no fanbase. The surprising part.. the show was actually good! Sure, it isn't the next Eureka Seven or Fullmetal Alchemist, but it isn't trying to be. What you have here is a cute romantic comedy about two teenagers falling in love and dealing with the inevitable complications that there relationship will lead them to. It doesn't help matters that the girl just so happens to be a vampire capable of roaming about in the sunlight, while everyone in her family (not counting her younger sister Anju) must live the rest of their lives in the shadows. Actually.. calling Karin a vampire is technically incorrect. She's a special breed of vampire whose blood increases, a blood-maker. Being a blood-maker means that she can live outside in the sunlight and participate in social activites like most normal teenage girls.. with a catch. Her surplus blood must be injected into humans through vampire bites, otherwise an ungodly amount of plasma rushes straight out of her nose like a rocket! What's a girl to do?

Despite how crude the show sounds by my brief description above (I try my best), it's actually really really cute! The relationship between Karin and the mortal Usui-kun makes for great entertainment, and the situations don't fall prey to the typical anime cliches that often plague this kind of animation. Sure, you still have the usual character archetypes and guidelines that are usually connected to romantic stories, but the fantasy/vampire angle helps to keep the show from striding into "been there, done that" territory. It is a story about a blood spewing vampire after all! How much more creative can you get?!

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This show knows that vampires are cool, and even though the cast is generally lovable, there are still several vampirc horror moments. None of it is particularly scary or even threatening, but it adds an extra 'bite' to the series. Get it? Bite! xDD I'm so clever.

The episode quality is rather consistent when compared to other animated comedies, which have the tendency to be a bit more 'scatter gun' as far as script quality are concerned. Here, every episode is just about as good as the last, making the whole package very engaging and often hysterical. Of course, there is one exception... the dreadful and completely out of place Episode 18! I don't wanna discuss what happened in that episode, I don't wanna remember how it ruined my perception of possibly the coolest character on the show, I'm just going to pretend it DOESN'T EXIST! Get it, got it, good!

There are just soo many cute and memorable moments sprinkled around this little candy bar, that it's hard to imagine anyone who could truly hate it. Sure, it doesn't have the mind-blowing impact or lasting value of a show like Fullmetal Alchemist, but its characters feel so fresh and true that I couldn't help but fall for it. The story won't change your life or the view of the world around you, but that's not what romantic comedies are about. Comedies are about kicking back after a hard day's work and laughing at someone else who's in a deeper and more amusing pit of hell then you're currently in. Observing it for what it's meant to be, the show is top-notch entertainment. But that doesn't mean that I don't have a few issues with it.

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Flaw 1: It isn't genetically possible for someone's eyes to be that freaking big! Did she get eye implants or something?

*sigh* Those Japanese anime writers and their dirty minds. This is one of the cleaner anime comedies I've seen so far, but don't be surprised when you slam into the inevitable "how'd you get so stacked" one-liner. In another show, I would have accepted such dialouge, but when it's used here it just feels contrivied and out of place. It was funny the first time they commented on her bra size.. but after that it gets old. Not to mention the two rather awkward bath conversation scenes near the end of the series. There is nothing here that's particularly offensive (especially for anime fans), but it takes away from the overall class of the show. 0_0 Don't even get me started on the show's intro.

Another thing to note is that, and this doesn't happen often mind you, sometimes the series' fantasy elements feel a little out of place. One particular note is a swashbuckling Highlander-ish fight that unfolds a few episodes before the show's conclusion It was just too much for me to take! I can accept all the other crazy stuff that happens, but when it comes to a nearly Matrix like swordfight, you know that section needed a rewrite. It just doesn't fit with the overall tone, and feels just a little tacked on. There are a few other scenes that I can vaguely remember, but I think you get the idea. There is some camp invovled (surprise! It's animated! duh!).

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Flaw 2: Why oh why do the anime characters have it so easy in terms of love! It's not fair! *sniffle sniffle*

On the whole, this is a fine choice for your anime viewing attention. :) If you're addicted to sweets like me, make that about an hour every night before you go to sleep. It's that cute! Long live Karin, and pray that there'll be a second season (it has been hinted at)!!

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Rating: B+

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I shall be the first then! Absolutely briiliant review my friend. Ive just fiished watching the sereis and thought it was great!Ive not seen too many anime yet (im working on it lol) but this was the best so far. I loved the relationship usui and karin had, and her family were hilarius. I totally agree with your comments on the out of place sword fight, it didnt need to be put in, and in fact detracted from the overall tone of the show. The love story between usui and karin also seemed to take second place to this newer but less in depth story line. Heres hoping that they make a second season though, i for one would certainly buy it!!