In one of SHAFT's latests, Dance in the Vampire Bund, there is actually very little to dance about. SHAFT usually has a knack for finding strange source materials and then adapting them in interesting new ways that break the troupes of their genres. Usually is the key word in that last sentence. I'm trying to write a non-bias review, but it's inevitable to say Dance in the Vampire Bund is not a good anime. But! At the same time it isn't a terrible anime. But what Bund is, is absolutely average. There's nothing this anime does to set it apart from other second-rate anime about vampires or political conquest. At first, everything that happens you'll feel like "Hey well I kind of thought that was coming" and by the end you'll be like "Wait? Was that a plot twist?" Note that is a review on the anime only and from what I've seen of the manga, this is a poor adaption of what could have been a much better experience.
Mina Tepes, the vampire princess has decided to establish a safehaven for all vampires. Through various means she gains political ground for the establishment of "the Bund." Of course, exposing to the world that vampires exist and that they will be Japan's next door neighbor is troublesome and the events told in this story are about them. I think. Mina also happens to own some fancy Japanese High School where our protagonist attends and our protagonist also happens to be a werewolf whose dad works directly under Mina who also happens to attend her own school. Huh? I'm confused too. The story becomes derailed whenever Akira, the protagonist, is focused on, because to be frank, the anime isn't about him. It's about Mina Tepes, but SHAFT decided to make the back plot some nonsensical love story (which only resolves with loli-rape - I'm dead serious). Oh, and be warned, there's most likely a sequel coming.
Oho. SHAFT is one of my favorite animation companies because they always do interesting things with their anime and try and tread new grounds by playing with color or 3D elements or optical illusions. SHAFT is also one of the most underpaid and overworked studios in the current anime market and thus they have an incredibly low budget. The only reason I can make sense of why Bund's animation quality was so low was because at the same time SHAFT had been working on the eye-candy "Hidamari Skecth Hoshimittsu." Almost everything about Bund in comparison animation-wise fails. The character movement is repulsive and over-dramatic. Every time a character does something they have a strange angle placed on them, then a zoom onto a random body part, followed by a slowed sentence that it wouldn't matter if it was even said or not. The only time you really see SHAFT's personal touch is when they zoom in on the eyes of the characters talking, which by the end of the anime was more of a nuisance than a pleasure. The clarity was also a huge problem. I started watching this anime in low quality TV rips, and then moved up to bigger and better looking files. There was no difference. The entire first episode had this weird green tint to it that made it unpleasing even to look at. The clarity fluctuates too (how fun!), so it's hard to enjoy when you have to up the brightness of your media player to view the episode normally. Oh, and other than Mina, every character looks boring. The main character looks like every other cliche male protagonist, and there's nothing even to set him apart from the other characters visually. Yuki, one of the female characters, is almost as interesting as Yuki from 11eyes (Note: Yuki from 11eyes sucks and she looks generic). I still like SHAFT's animation style, which is a plus for this anime, but the moments of camera genius that often appear in other SHAFT works are definitely missing here.
Nothing to complain about. The opening and ending are both nice but nothing memorable. Character voices are fitting (I enjoyed Mina's) but once again aren't anything to flaunt. BGM was quiet and rather uninteresting most of the time, but nothing bad.
Vampires, werewolves, tigresses, oh my! DERP. Mina Tepes is the one interesting character in this entire anime and every other character exists solely to support her. She's the under-estimated soon-to-be queen of vampires who tries and fights the old traditions of vampires to finally reveal her people to the world so they will not longer be persecuted. Kind of like a Martin Luther King Jr. of vampires, except in the form of a ten-year-old girl and not black. Hey, strong lolita leads are cool in all (Pani Poni Dash! I'm looking at you) but SHAFT needed to realize that there were other characters in this anime. The list includes a Chinese Tigress, a blood-sucking "older sister," a vampire with massive eyebrows, a priestess, and about thirty five thousand big breasted women. There's actually very little to say about any of them except that they're bland. As soon as they're introduced you know exactly what their personality is. Mina is the only dynamic developed character, and thank god she is, because more than half of the anime is spent following her around. Akira on the other hand manages to grab as much time as Mina and ends up wasting it all. He's inctredibly undeveloped and the only point of appeal (kind of) is that he is a werewolf. COOL (BUT NOT REALLY). Even when he's a werewolf he most of the time gets the crapped knocked out of him and that's when a Deus ex Machina comes into play. Yuki is also an undeveloped annoying "for some reason it's a harem" bitch who gets in the way of the main "relationship" between Akira and Mina. She has absolutely nothing that separates her from other female characters in any anime ever and could easily be a background character that accidentally wandered onto the foreground.
SHAFT tries to do the impossible and fails when they tried to make a show about political warfare with a touch of "romance" and then ended with a harem and fighting with plot twists as original as "I AM YOUR FATHER". It's frustrating seeing how much potential this show had. I can safely say that after such a thrilling experience I wiped the anime off my hard-drive and will have probably forgotten most of it by tomorrow morning.
That isn't to say that there aren't worse anime, because hot damn there are. I thoroughly enjoyed when Mina was on camera and thoroughly disliked whenever she wasn't. The annoying "wait for season two where we explain what the final episode was even about card" is pulled too. The only thing I can say is that for an anime about vampires, this show falls right into the pit with the other ones already out there, and unlike Hellsing, does not bring massive guns or blood. It brings one thing and one thing only - Mina Tepes - and if you don't like it, then this anime is definitely not for you.