A quiet gothic horror story about a vampire girl, Miyu, whose destiny it is to hunt down murderous demons known as Shinma and return them to their land of origin, the Dark. Miyu is pursued by the Spiritualist Himiko, determined to find out who Miyu is and to stop her from sucking the life blood from helpless humans. Each of the four episodes chronicle one of Miyu's encounters with a Shinma and the humans that it is affecting, from the perspective of Himiko's pursuit of Miyu.
this is a classic 1988 anime in the fact that it has a great story, great characters, but bad voice acting. Miyu is a fascinating character tipe and has been underrated. i found the VHS for all four episodes in a Little miscellaneous store that was about to shut down and i payed $6 for it. If i had know that i would like it so much then i probably would have payed the man more. If you like classic anime and also are a big vampire fan than this is the perfect anime for you.
Vampire Princess Miyu is so well done you forget about the bad voice overs and focus completely on the plot.
Miyu is a Guardian, a vampire whose destiny is to hunt down stray shinma (demons, shapeshifters, vampires) and send them back into the darkness from whence they originated. Unlike the TV Series, the Vampire Princess Miyu OVA has a secondary lead character in Spiritualist Himiko. Himiko is under the impression that Miyu has something to do with vampiric victims, and follows her around trying to find out what is going on and to get proof.
The OVA's strength is that the stories are much more interesting than most of the ones in the TV series. There are only 4 episodes and each is unique. The weakness
is it tends to be like X-Files, here is the mystery of the week and the shinma/monster of the week. It gets predictably boring after a while, but luckily the short 4 episode length managed to keep it from being too boring or predictable. If there were more background or an overarching plot it would have scored higher.
Welcome back, my friends, to horror anime month. This week we'll be looking at an OVA about a vampire. After last week I needed something with a strong and well developed female character who isn't sexualised, so we're looking at Vampire Princess Miyu. Vampire Princess Miyu originated as a manga by a married couple: Hirano Toshiki and Kakinouchi Narumi. You may recognise him as the director of Magic Knight Rayearth, Devilman Lady and many others. Her works are quite a bit more obscure so if you've heard of her it's probably going to be because of this or Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo, which she
did the illustrations for. Vampire Princess Miyu has two adaptations, an OVA from the late 80s and a TV series from nearly a decade later. I might get to the TV series at some point, but right now let's look at the OVA.
There's not a major over-arching story for this. Basically, each of the episodes tells a different story. The first begins with a spiritualist named Himiko. She's called in to investigate a young girl who's been asleep for months. A condition that her parents believe is caused by possession. When she investigates she discovers that women have been being found with all the blood drained from their bodies. She's attacked in the dead of night by a swift moving robed figure and finds herself rescued by a girl in a kimono, a girl who feeds on blood and knows more than she'll reveal. Don't worry, I'm not going to do that for all four episodes. One thing I can say to the OVA's credit is that it has some really good suspense, a lot of which is created through mysteries. In the first episode you're left wondering what exactly is attacking people and what its connection to Miyu is or even if there is any. Every episode has a mystery like that, except for the last which answers a mystery that's been building for the entire OVA. The only real downside is the second episode which isn't nearly as suspenseful or interesting as the rest. A lot of the issue is that its mystery has an obvious solution virtually from the beginning. It's not really scary, but it does have some legitimately creepy moments so it's doing better with the horror aspect than everything I've reviewed so far this month.
There are really only three characters worth mentioning in this. Miyu, Larva and Himiko. The other characters show up for one episode or part of an episode. A few of them do get developed, but most just serve a very specific purpose and never get actual development. As for our three major characters, Miyu is fascinating. A lot of the details about her are left unsaid, but very effectively illustrated. She's a multi-faceted character who's neither a paragon of virtue nor a blood sucking monster. She has a great deal of verisimilitude. Larva is less developed. He's a very mysterious character with motivations that are touched on a bit, but not much. He's mostly defined by his protectiveness of Miyu. Himiko is another interesting character. She wants to find and stop Miyu, but frequently ends up on the same side as her. She's the most relatable character since she's an ordinary human who's trying to make the most of extraordinary circumstances. So there's a lot of character depth for these three. Especially when you factor in the number of episodes.
The art is reminiscent of 3x3 Eyes. The character designs use the same basic style and both feature very stylized and interesting supernatural elements. Vampire Princess Miyu has very atmospheric art. The backgrounds, the character movements, the entire aesthetic really, helps with the sense of suspense. That isn't to say that it's perfect. There are some scenes where the characters mouths aren't in sync with their dialogue but that's a minor complaint. The biggest art issue is that the action scenes aren't particularly intense. They tend to end pretty quickly. Although I'm not going to hold it against the series too much because it does use that time effectively to build suspense and develop the characters.
The voice acting is pretty well done. I really like Watanabe Naoko's performance as Miyu. The laugh especially is just perfect. Which is good since you hear it quite a bit. Koyama Mami doesn't do as well in her role as Himiko, but she still does a good job. Shiozawa Kaneto only gets a few lines, but he gives a good performance. The music in this is amazing. It works with the art to establish and maintain a really strong atmosphere. Kudos there.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There's really nothing homoerotic here.
My final rating for the Vampire Princess Miyu OVA is a 7.6/10. The stories have good suspense. The characters are well developed and interesting. The atmosphere, from a combination of the art and sound, is amazing. If there's one thing that holds it back it's the second episode and even it's okay. If you like 3x3 eyes or suspense in general you'll probably enjoy this too.
Vampire Princess Miyu is among one of the many underground and little known anime titles of the late 1980s. Most people would naturally write off shows like these popping up around this time as a sort of generic, simplistic garbage. I can see why though, one does not need to search far to reinforce the pure late 80's cheese we all know. Yet Vampire Princess Miyu does stand out among many shows and for good reason. While the ever growing theme of vampires have been done over and over again, this anime offers a unique approach to the gothic and vampire aesthetic. Instead of just
shooting for a straight typical vampire story, it offers a lot of difference in terms of storyline and execution. It tells a short tale of a girl named Miyu, whose destiny is to banish demons called Shinma and return them to the land of the dark. She is then pursued by a strange woman who desperately wants to find out about her origin. Already, we have a very unique and engaging plotline. Sadly, despite it's very short length, it becomes incredibly repetitive very fast. Each episode is told from the perspective of the woman who is hunting after Miyu, trying to stop her from taking innocent human lives. It follows an incredibly repetitive and formulaic approach to storytelling, which makes for in turn, very predictable outcomes. Of course, I could not also go without mentioning the main thing that never fails to drag down old school anime: the voice acting. I felt as though if I had watched the subbed instead, I would have gotten a lot more enjoyment out of the show itself. The incredibly laughable and non-emotional dialogue between characters is really what dragged it down so much, but I suppose it's something that was to be expected.
Yet, like with all late 80's shows, I just love the "rough" look of everything. The animation is nothing short of very well down. The mysterious demons and environments are incredibly detailed and add a very great atmosphere. The action sequences, while very few, definetly keep you enthralled. As for the characters themselves, there was a good number of development going on. It delved into all of the main character's back stories without feeling incredibly forced and overdone. It gave a very good insight on each of the three involved. Despite all of this, the very short length, awful voice acting, and very formulaic episodes are what makes it just satisfactory, rather than anything noteworthy. However, the fact that this short little OVA will never see the light of day for most people, it is really worth your time to check out, as it won't take anymore than 2 hours. A very unique and awesome approach to vampire storylines and great use of visuals and atmosphere.