Theirs was the story of a promise; a tale of the great ruler of monsters and the boy who gave his all to her, and the eternal bond that they shared.

For as long as they have existed, humans have always wished to turn a blind eye to things they do not understand. Monsters, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, spirits – the list goes on; and most, if not all, of these beings are simply chalked up to fantastical writer’s musings and creative minds.

But what if they are wrong?

This world in which people live is a dangerous place where being different and going against the norm can entail severe consequences. So what if the world suddenly came to realize that these “fictional monsters” were in fact very much real? A world where vampires, beastmen, and other wonders walk amongst humans on a daily basis; simply using their fictional status as a shield against harm. However, the time for hiding away in secret has finally come to an end.

Vampires have made their presence known and the ruler of the vampires, Mina Tepes, has announced the creation of a place called the Vampire Bund – a place where all vampires can live in safety. Humans, and even some vampires however, are not so eager to accept this agreement and arguments over the bund, vampires, and their overall relationship are thrown into question at a rapid pace.

Meanwhile, Mina has been reunited with her sworn protector, Akira, with whom she made a lifelong promise with as a child. Akira is a member of the earth clan and is also a werewolf; but due to the failure of an important mission involving the vampire true bloods one year ago, he has lost nearly all of his memories and constantly struggles to piece his past, and his life, back together. Of those memories, one of the first to return is the promise he made to Mina as well as his love for her. Although his protection at first lies wholly on instinct, it soon forms into a duty he would lay down his very life for.

Dance in the Vampire Bund is a supernatural anime series involving action, romance, and malicious plots from every angle. The goal sounds simple enough: to create a specified area as a haven for all vampires of the region – but no plan is ever so flawless. Various Japanese politicians plan to withhold support and backing for the bund, a rebel band of humans and vampires called Telamir take constant action to destroy any peaceful prospects between the races, and the three true blood leaders bear their fangs and power in hopes of marrying the princess and continuing the blood line. Even amidst all of this turmoil,  a glimpse as to how humans are dealing with the emergence of vampires is seen through the academy Mina and Akira both have connections to. As students either run in fear or become vampires, the lines begin to blur between friend and enemy; and knowing who to trust can make all the difference.

As characters go, in general most people will form some kind of opinion of them whether it be love, hate, endearment, annoyance, envy or admiration. But what happens after all is said an done? Oftentimes, many of these beloved characters fall to the background – gone but not forgotten.  Every so often though, a character may emerge that truly stands out. Mina Tepes is one of these characters. She takes the form of a young girl with long blonde pigtails dressing in all fashions from school girl to Lolita to medieval dresses. But despite her appearance, Mina is anything but a child. Being one of four true bloods and the ruler of vampires, she is not one to be taken lightly as she is much wiser than her 9 year old appearance implies. She is a strong willed spirit that will stop at nothing to ensure her goals are reached; yet at the same time, she has a caring heart and even through the most difficult of situations she retains the perfect image of strength and courage. Although she wishes for humans and vampires to be able to coexist, she does not hold this above the safety and well-being of her own people. One of her main purposes even for building the bund was to provide a sanctuary for the fangless – vampires who voluntarily removed their fangs so as to not feed on the blood of humans. Mina draws her strength not only from within but from those loyal and close to her; especially Akira, and the unwavering trust they have for each other.

I honestly wasn’t too sure what I would think of this anime for the first couple of episodes, but somewhere along the line it drew me in (and don’t even think of comparing it to Twilight…just. don’t.). Some people criticize it for certain elements within, particularly concerning designs and occurrences with Mina in her childlike form; but from what I saw, they are not present enough nor create such impact as to mar and detract from the story being told. The story itself weaves a twisted path and oftentimes no matter how you want to feel about a character, their decisions dictate an automatic response – at least temporarily. Perhaps what drew me in was that the vampires, werewolves, and other beings have actual reasoning to what they do and how they exist. For example, vampires are generally destroyed by sunlight, however when a certain substance is spread on their skin they are allowed to walk in daylight for a limited amount of time unharmed. It does not simply magically happen. Perhaps it is the masterminding political intrigue that keeps everything between humans and vampires in a tumultuous state of order. Or it could be the relationships the characters form with each other. Or maybe it is simply a tried and true method of the princess and knight in shining armor deal, which even in all its overused glory still holds a certain charm.

I must admit that this short 12 episode series that I had very little expectation for has intrigued me – more so now than ever. I do plan to read the manga for this as well, and who knows how my thoughts and inclinations may change afterwards regarding what I have written here.  But regardless of reason, I am glad to have found this and look forward to reading more into it.

Even if you end up as the world’s enemy, I’ll still be your knight – Squall, FFVIII

Interesting fact: Mina’s name in the series comes from two distinct and well known entities. Mina is the name of the original woman Dracula sought as his bride in the original novel. Tepes is the Romanian word for ‘impaler’, originating from the historical warlord Vlad the Impaler.  This was a man often recognized by his patronymic name, Dracula, and who’s excessive cruelty was known and feared throughout Europe during the mid-1400s.

I also recommend listening to the opening theme: Friends ~ Aika Nakano

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