Thursday, April 25, 2013

hime speaks: Vassalord.

Charley and Rayflo
Type: One-part anime OVA
Status: Finished Airing
Producers: Production I.G
Genre: Action, Comedy, Mystery, Fantasy, Shounen-Ai, Vampire


Charley, a cyborg vampire who does the Vatican's dirty work, is the thrall of the local vampire playboy Johnny Rayflo. As the two fight crime—and each other—hilarity, violence and sacrilege ensue! But can Charley resist his own desperate cravings for blood? Find out as the devilish duo go up aginst a childlike vampire princess, a mysterious branch of the Unitarian Church...and one another. -Tokyopop

My Take:

I finished this just the other day so I might as well do a review on this while the meat is still fresh. Despite its 'comedy' genre, this show is rather serious. At first,  I was greatly reminded of Trinity Blood since their elements are the same: vampires, religion/church, blood and violence, the dark feel - the vampire plot cliches.

Mild spoilers beware.

I'm very surprised at the depth of the plot of this anime. Clearly I underestimated this title since it's only a one-part OVA; I really thought that this was just another one-shot smut of a BL title.  The anime is divided into three parts: I. Vampire, II. Bloodline, and III. Anthem. The first two parts take up 2/3 of the anime which touches on their vampirism in the modern world and the relationship of the vampires towards Johnny Rayflo. The last part takes up the rest of the anime duration and it focuses on Rayflo's responsibility as the progenitor of all vampires and how he must choose two of his "children".

The story pacing is just average and it doesn't feel rushed. However, there are some snippets of Rayflo's past so that you can keep on track as to why the current events is happening. Although, the snippets are merely teasers and works as mild character backgrounds, so there are some questions that need some more explanations.

Take Charley and Rayflo's relationship, for example. I can understand that Charley looks up to Rayflo as more than a father, and I'm pretty sure that Rayflo is able to return that feeling, but I would like to know why Charley was chosen to be one of Rayflo's brood. There wasn't any explanation as to how and why, and there wasn't much of an exposure to why their relationship is so. By the end of the climatic part, I was wondering, and I'd like to very much justify, why Rayflo chose Charley at all. Charley's cyborg parts as well. Surely there's a mystery behind that.

Perhaps the number of questions that arise get to be answered in the manga. This anime is only an adaptation for the manga which has 7 volumes with 36 chapters. I don't think I would proceed reading the manga but I am hoping that their character backgrounds and pre-vampiric days gets shown, and that the plot goes even deeper than the tip of the iceberg that's shown in the anime.

I'd also like to point out that the three characters (Rayflo, Charley, and Marie) greatly reminded me of the characters Lestat, Louis, and Claudia from Interview with a Vampire. I don't know why, but they just do. Rayflo may not be the flower-type of guy (bishie aka Yuyu Hakusho's Kurama) but he is oozing with sexiness. Even him calling Charley as Cherry (or Chéri for the French word) was rather cute. Charley is rather uptight but I do like the fact that he doesn't want to take other humans' blood but from his own kind.

I  rather like the relationship the two have. I perceive that it's nothing lusty more or less, and while Charley does need Raflo for food consumption (the scene with tying him up, getting him into a coffin, and boarding him on a plane was hilarious), you could really see that they do have a need of one another. And I'm not talking about being food either. Evidence? At the end of the climatic scene, Charley's, and perhaps Rayflo's and Marie's as well, anguish was emotionally heart-wrenching.

The art of the anime is somewhat dark and, like I previously said, it reminded me so much of Trinity Blood. It's really not the cutesy type nor is it anything like Uta no Prince-sama, but the art is pretty good for its theme. I'm also quite impressed with the animation of the action/violent parts; they're very fast-paced, very fluid and nothing seems awkward.

Nothing is offensive in this anime title and it's safe to watch since there are no explicit adult scenes. The only BL connotation it has is the fact that Rayflo and Charley are always together and that Rayflo chose Charley over Marie. Perhaps the only sensual part of this anime is in the first part where Rayflo seductively said "Is it feeding time?" while stroking his neck with blood. Rayflo's shower scene might be counted, but I can't really consider that one as sensual.

For those of you who are wondering whether you should or should not watch this short OVA, I suggest that you do. It's easy to watch and, even if you're a bit queasy in the stomach, the occasional splatter of blood isn't that disgusting as you think it is. If you're looking for heavy yaoi scenes, this isn't for you. But do try watching this anime (and give it some LOVE!) and you won't be disappointed. I know I didn't.

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