Home Vampire Dormitory Review - Tired Tropes

Vampire Dormitory Review - Tired Tropes

The Vampire Dormitory finale episode premiered last week on June 23rd, 2024. While the anime never broke the Top 20 in our weekly rankings, something in this 12-episode series may scratch an itch for people craving vampire-themed shoujo. Adapted from a still ongoing shoujo manga series, the anime hoped to bring in dedicated manga readers and new fans.

Vampire Dormitory has a slow start, but sticking through to the second half was rewarding for me, yet seemingly controversial to some viewers. This review will contain some spoilers, but I will warn you before they are discussed.

Story, Characters, and Presentation

From episode one, my biggest problem with Vampire Dormitory was the main character, Mito. Abandoned by family as a child, she fends for herself and makes her way through a difficult life disguised as a man in order to get better treatment and jobs. From the start, the viewer feels inclined to feel sorry for the main character as she’s the definition of “damsel in distress”, a trope I don’t care for, though we often see it in shoujo stories. Mito starts to live in a dormitory with a dazzling vampire named Luka while hiding her true gender from him. I predicted, unimpressively, early on in the first episode that the series would follow the common shoujo trope of a troubled woman needing the help of a beautiful man.

Accepting this fact helped me set my expectations low for my attachment to the main characters and the story. My focus would purely be on the presentation and world-building. Additionally, cliffhanger episode endings had me coming back each week. I appreciated that the series wasn’t just a love story with vampire themes half-hazardly slapped onto it, but that the vampire parts were the most important part of the story.

There’s a vampire hierarchy, a vampire realm, dampyrs (offsprings of vampires and human women), and various abilities of vampires that play a huge role in the story. All of these elements made for a much more engaging plot compared to only a simple love story. Mito lives with Luka in an all-male dormitory disguising herself as a male, but the real trouble with living with vampires comes from their families and their obligations as vampires.

Vampire Dormitory‘s presentation of characters’ feelings and actions often feels rushed. The characters care for each other far too quickly to believe, and the reactions of characters (particularly Mito) are so absurd – a point I will talk about in the spoiler section of this review.

Animation and Music

Shoujo manga often has trouble transitioning into animation as some of its delicate emotional visuals and detailed artistic features get lost. While I haven’t read the Vampire Dormitory manga, I’m too familiar with beloved shoujo manga adaptations rarely measuring up to the source material. The Vampire Dormitory animation is appropriate for what the anime is trying to do – tell a cheesy vampire romance story.

Not once during my watch-through did I find the animation jarring, unfinished, or lazy. There’s nothing over the top about the animation either. It’s just appropriate, and the same can be said for the music in the series. Vampire Dormitory is the perfect example of an anime adaptation trying to sell you the manga and, while the anime isn’t spectacular, there’s enough draw to the story that made me curious enough to pick up the manga. The anime did its job.

Spoiler Section

Mito is a painful character to watch. Luka is unlucky at every turn and doesn’t deserve so many of the misunderstandings that happen to him. Ren… I wanted to like him so much until he did what made some Crunchyroll users, according to the comment section, want to drop the series. In episode 9, Ren uses his powers to transform Mito from a woman into a real man to keep Ruka from pursuing her romantically. Ren is obviously very self-centered as he doesn’t even consult Mito on this before taking action.

But my real problem with this situation is not even Ren, it’s Mito. Perhaps my biggest gripe with Vampire Dormitory is that Mito hardly questions Ren on this action and quickly trusts him again in the very next episode when she asks him to erase her memories of Luka.

Mito is far too trusting of men that take advantage of her and I can’t stand how dense and rash she is in decision making. She’s not a fun character to follow, and I can’t say I ever rooted for her. There are so many decisions she could have made to make Luka’s situation a little bit easier- but the anime needs a plot, even if that plot is fueled by a dumb shoujo protagonist.

Fortunately, the twists and turns the series makes were more than enough to keep me eagerly coming back every week until the Vampire Dormitory finale.

Final Thoughts – Should You Watch?

I’ve been a fan of shoujo and vampire works for over 15 years. Vampire Knight, a manga by Hino Matsuri, was one of my favorite shoujo series of the mid-2000s. Admittedly, I was a huge Twilight fan in high school too. Vampire works can be serious and dark, but there are plenty of works that are cheesy, absurd, and just for fun.

If you like shoujo tropes, tacky situations, and frustrating characters, Vampire Dormitory might be fun for you. As for me, I appreciate the anime enough to pick up the manga, and I don’t regret the time I’ve spent watching. Vampire Dormitory hit me with feelings of nostalgia for 2000s-style vampire shoujo, and that is enough for me to come crawling back to it for a possible season two, as the manga is still ongoing.

What did you think about the Vampire Dormitory finale?

My rating: 6.5/10
Images via Crunchyroll
©Ema Toyama/Kodansha/“Vampire Dormitory” Production Committee

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