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Capu-CHU! Now you have syphilis.

I spent the past few days watching both seasons of Rosario + Vampire, and I'm halfway through the final episode as I type this. I figured I should take a pause and write down my review now or chances are good I'll just finish the series and never get around to it.

So what is there to say about Rosario + Vampire? As you can see from the relative size of the characters above, you're not watching it for the protagonist. There are many words which can describe it including funny, pantsu, harem rom-com, pantsu, super-natural, pantsu, cute, pantsu, sweet, pantsu, and lastly, more pantsu. In case you have no clue what I'm talking about, pantsu = panties in Japanese. I'm not adverse to fanservice, especially if it's done with humor, but there's fanservice and then there's fanservice. But lets start from the beginning.

Rosario + Vampire features a luckless every-guy who fails to get into any high school due to poor test scores. Luckily, his father manages to scoop up a dropped acceptance letter to 'Monster High'. Cue the insanity. Monster High is set in a barrier world, separate from the real world and Tsukune (our protagonist) finds himself stuck there as the bus back to the real world won't return for a month. While every student there is a monster out of mythology, they all have human forms as well and the #1 school rule is to maintain a human form. Lucky for Tsukune considering that the monster population generally fears and loathes humans. All of this angst and plot is soon swept under the rug as Tsukune meets Moka, a vampire whose vampire powers and nature is physically sealed by a rosario she wears around her neck. This functionally gives her a case of split personalities; saccharine and kind most of the time and aloof and asskicky whenever the rosario is removed. She is still vampire enough to love the taste of human blood, however, and often uses her catchphrase 'capu-chu' as she bite-kiss-sucks a pint or two from Tsukune.

The show itself consists almost entirely of a 'monster of the week' format, with the first few opponents becoming friends and mostly joining the harem. In addition to Moka the vampire, there's a succubus (the vamp), a yuki onna [ice woman] (the stalker/yuudere), and the witch (the loli). Pretty much your classic harem mixture though there really should be a tsundere for the matched set. Considering that Rie Kugimiya (The Queen of Tsundere) even voices one of the characters, it seems an almost criminal exclusion. There are plenty of secondary characters among the classmates and teachers at the school but almost every episode follows the same format. (Some Evil Monster student/teacher does something horrible) ===> (Tsukune rips the rosario off of Moka's chest) ===> (Moka transforms into her other personality) ===> (She then proceeds to kick the monster's ass). The way that super-Moka usually beats the enemy is by kicking the tar out of them, always managing to flash her panties along the way.

I can't help but wonder if there was some sort of running bet with the animators trying to see just how many panty-shots that can be crammed into 20 minutes of animation. The first season copy I watched was ripped from the DVD meaning it was completely uncensored and I felt like I was being buried in panties. Not a single female character could as much as walk down a hallway without flashing their undergarments. For their skirts to provide any less coverage it would have to be sized for use as an eyepatch. I actually started to wonder after a while if it was possible to overdose on panties and if it could actually go around the bend and turn me gay.

The funniest thing is that the second season's episodes were ripped from TV, meaning there was censorship of the most blatant kind. Here's an example:

Now, here's the crazy part. If every panty-shot was censored, you would have expected for there to be little bats over half the screen most of the time but it turns out that not all panty-shots are created equal. As far as I could tell, only around half or so of them were actually censored with the bats and I couldn't figure out what made for a 'good' panty-shot and a 'bad' pantyshot. I actually started to pay an unwholesome amount of attention to all panty-shots, even pausing the video once or twice trying to figure out exactly what the difference was. Spending excessive amounts of time staring at animated panties like you're trying to work out a Magic Eye image isn't a good thing. I started to creep myself out after a while and I still have no clue what separates panty-shots worthy of censorship and those given a pass. If anyone out there actually has a workable theory, let me know because this is going to bug me for days.

So, overall, Rosario + Vampire was sorta entertaining if a bit empty in the end. I would have much preferred a grand story arc and more character/plot development. Like most anime, this one was developed from a manga which I've also snagged a copy of. I'm thinking of giving it a read and seeing if it's better. I think part of the problem is that I'm not willing to settle for tripe as much as I used to. Having actually see good anime, it's hard to go back and stomach the marginal ones. At least the characters here were endearing even if the plot was lackluster.


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In the darkness the trees are full of starlight
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