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[ café reviews ]


Kyuketsuki Miyu
(Vampire Princess Miyu)
"Ayakashi no Miyako"
(Unearthly Kyoto)

Distributed by: Soeishinsha and Pony Canyon (Japan), AnimEigo (North America)
Length: 35 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Original Japanese dialog (VHS/LD), subtitled (VHS/LD)

Based on the manga by Kakinouchi Narumi. Screenplay by Aikawa Noberu, directed by Hirano Toshiro and produced by AIC. English version directed by Michael House.

[ plot summary ]

volume 1

A vampire is rumoured to be on the loose claiming female victims in Kyoto. To date, five females have been killed, with no blood left in the bodies. Could it be that vampires really exist? However, reibaishya Himiko quickly discovers that all is not as it seems when she meets a very unusual young girl. Who exactly is she and what has she to do with little Aiko, the child who has fallen under the spell of a spirit? And what has she done to Miyahito that he no longer grieves for his recently lost girlfriend?

[ capsule review ]

This is a well written, well realized piece of work. Some might say that the animation quality is not up to snuff -- and yes, it's not the most spectacular, nor is it the most fluid animation I've seen. Others might say it's too cerebral. But I have no idea how the screenplay could have been presented more effectively. The minimalist approach conveys Kakinouchi Narumi's intent very effectively, letting your mind fill in what the cel painters left out. Koyama Mami does a very effective job as Himiko, and Watanabe Naoko's Miyu is competent, though I could do without her attempt at haunting laughter. Perhaps the strongest element of the series is the music -- haunting, at times enticing; accomplished composer Kawai Kenji has truly created a masterpiece. Animé often makes very effective use of the soundtrack, and Kyuketsuki Miyu certainly does not disappoint. But these individual elements would fall apart if there wasn't a story to bind it all together, and what a great story to start! In a inspired piece of storytelling, we get a glimpse of Japanese-style horror and suspense, tightly wrapped in a well-paced script. Excellent! - AN

It's interesting to note that the subtitled and the LD versions are *slightly* different from each other. The sub-titled version has had a few scenes, lasting perhaps 1-2 seconds each, cut out which makes the OAV a bit more difficult to understand and follow. Without these little transition scenes, the overall continuity of the OAV is affected and there is a feeling of jumping from one place to the next for no reason. Why AnimEigo decided to do this is difficult to ascertain; especially since the scenes are so short in nature.

The overall story is well-told with some very good background music and suspenseful scenes. The OAV takes advantage of using "still" shots in Miyu's pursuit of her quarry. While this may mean that the animation quality is not as "good" as other series with complex animation (hey, let's face it, the series *is* pretty old now), it is very effective in its depiction of the chase.

While it may not be the best animation series out there, it has somehow become my all time favourite anime series. The overall feel of the characters and the telling of the stories makes it very worthwhile to watch, if not own.

Of some interest, the animation style in the manga series is extremely minimalistic. Often there are frames where you have little more than lines suggesting certain shapes and your imagination is to fill in the rest. It's very effective in communicating the "feel" of certain scenes. -JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: 4 stars 4 stars N/R
Direction: 4 stars 4 stars N/R
Acting: 4 stars 4 stars N/R
Animation: 2 stars 2 stars N/R
Music: 5 stars 5 stars N/R
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/R
Overall Rating: 4 stars 4 stars N/R

[ café trivia ]

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Page last modified 1999.04.28