Set in a dystopian fictional world, the 2022 animated Japanese series ‘Vampire in the Garden’ is an emotionally charged yet action packed story. It has an ‘Romeo Juliet’ like tragic plot at the heart of it – two girls from warring sides are tired of the violence ravaging their lives and strike an unlikely friendship. The two run away together to find a corner where they can live in harmony, but are constantly chased by those after their heads.
Fine is vampire royalty, expected to take over the throne and lead her kingdom against their war against ‘warms’, the term they use for ordinary humans. Momo on the other hand is the daughter of the woman leading the warms against vampires. Yes, the series has a lot of powerful women characters. So brownie points for that. The show is a interesting blend of dystopian drama and vampire fiction, dark in its themes and completely Gothic in atmosphere. There’s ample blood, violence and deaths.
The animation isn’t great, the character art is on the simpler side. Momo and Fine look like draft sketches out of an amateur artist’s book, the animators do a far better job with the background designs and detailing. Music is an integral theme of the plot, it’s a source of solace and shelter for tired/broken souls, and it’s a song that brings the two protagonists together. There’s a classical old-world charm to the background tunes in the series and helps in keeping the plot engaging.
For a 5-episode series, ‘Vampire in the Garden’ feels more like a film than a show, and the pace is quite fast. There are quick consecutive twists, lots of chasing and killing… Fine and Momo barely get time to catch their breath. Some support characters are intriguing, but they don’t enough screen-space, like the impish but fiercely loyal Allegro, a vampire who vows to protect Fine. We don’t know why Momo’s mom is such a cold woman hellbent on annihilating the blood-suckers either. Some might hope for a back-story that never comes.
The climax brims with angst, despair and sentimental moments. There could’ve been time and space for another episode or two, because things get over before you realize. A clever little mid-credit scene leaves hope for a sequel.
It’s a 7/10 from me. You can stream it on Netflix.
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