Home Vampire Dormitory Premiere - A Shoujo That Bites

Vampire Dormitory Premiere - A Shoujo That Bites

Shoujo manga and vampire themes have long been a complimentary mix enjoyed among otaku in Japan and the West. I recall Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino exploding in popularity in the 2000s among teenage girls such as myself at that time. While vampire-themed works are also often viewed as cringe-worthy and overdone, vampires are still very prevalent in anime and manga today, with works such as Call of the Night and The Case Study of Vanitas being recent prime examples. On April 7th, the anime adaptation of Ema Toyama’s shoujo vampire manga Vampire Dormitory premiered. As an old fan of vampires and cheesy romantic manga, I jumped into episode one with no knowledge of the original source material.

Shoujo Characters, Shoujo Problems

For me, the series starts on a bad note. I’m not particularly a fan of shoujo series pulling the damsel in distress card. I’ve never been a fan of works such as Fruits Basket where the main character has a sad backstory where the reader is forced to have sympathy for them right off the bat before we even have a chance to know them. The main character, Mito Yamamoto, is a girl who presents herself as a boy through short hair and masculine clothes.

She loses both her parents at a young age, is tossed around among family members, and is left to take care of herself financially. Most of this information is thrown at you in the first half of the episode, which leads me to think (in perhaps a harsh way) about why I should care about this just-introduced character’s backstory. I want to be kept wondering about a character and why they are in the current situation that they are in, but Vampire Dormitory seemingly gives it all away in ten minutes.

Something I will give to Mito Yamanaka is that she isn’t blindly optimistic about her desperate situation. She knows she’s in a pinch, and reacts realistically to her circumstances – something that I can’t say for many shoujo characters who often smile unrealistically through the pain. I hope that as Vampire Dormitory progresses, I’ll warm up to the main character.

My favorite hook of Vampire Dormitory relates to how the taste of human blood works in the series – the more someone is loved, the sweeter their blood tastes. Mito isn’t loved by anyone, and we learn that her blood is bitter and repulsive. While this for me is the most interesting factor of the series so far, one of the main draws of the episode is that Mito appears as a boy, but is really a girl – and, so far, no character has figured out her true sex. After being saved by a vampire, she is offered a place to stay in a dormitory at an all-boys academy, which is sure to lead to some awkward situations.

Vampire Dormitory, while so far a tad cliche, still scratches that shoujo itch I desperately search for these days. The animation is appropriate for a romance anime, and so far the soundtrack compliments the series’ vampire theme. I think the show will be perfect for those who were into Ouran High School Host Club (when Mito knocked over the vase I was reminded of this) and Vampire Knight in the 2000s. When the vampire genre and shoujo genre meet, I can’t help but feel nostalgic, and that feeling will keep me coming back week after week for new episodes.

Images via Crunchyroll
©Ema Toyama/Kodansha/“Vampire Dormitory” Production Committee

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