Now, I've talked at length about Harem series in my old video reviews of Magikano and Love Hina and even kind of, maybe, sort of in my Negima review on this site but with my School Days review that's coming up, I thought that I'd really get in depth and cover the whole damn thing. That'll take WAY too long though so instead, I'm going to go over lesser harem anime and better harem manga and comparing them to...each other. Today's review...Rosario+Vampire!
The plot is this: Average loser Tsukune Aono has no outstanding qualities and is so exceptionally average that he somehow manages to fail ALL of his high school entrance examinations. Instead of trying again like any reasonably intelligent person or simply deciding that he's much to useless for higher learning, Tsukune's parents decide to enroll him in the mysterious YOKAI Academy. Upon arriving by way of mysterious and cryptic bus Tsukune is crashed into by a girl on a bike and her name is Moka Akashiya and she's the most beautiful girl at the whole school but she's got a (not so secret) secret. She's a Vampire! Our wimpish lead dismisses this...DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE SUCKS HIS BLOOD and the two become friends instantly. It's only during Homeroom that Tsukune learns the (painfully obvious) truth of his new school. Yokai Academy is a school for Monsters, Demons and other supernatural creatures that are collectively called Yokai in Japan. By some fluke, average human Tsukune got into a school built by creatures that all collectively despise his species and the better news is that if his identity as a Human is exposed, he'll be publicly murdered.
|Crucifixion! In a Fantasy series...by MONSTERS! I feel the reverse should be happening.|
Artistically Rosario+Vampire is quite appealing to the eyes as far as it's animated incarnation goes. Studio Gonzo did their best bringing the characters from the manga to life and overall it's just as nice as I'd like it to be but unfortunately all of Gonzo's money went to FUCKING FANSERVICE! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAARG! GOD DAMMIT GONZO! NO ONE LIKES FANSERVICE ANY MORE, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT?!
|Right in your face! Because APPARENTLY YOU LIKE IT!|
The manga of Rosario+Vampire starts off with a VERY rounded character style before eventually becoming the more angular and better looking series that most of us know and love. It's actually really fun to see the style slowly change and the characters become more...I suppose...enjoyable to look at?
Oh Rosario+Vampire...where do I even begin to talk about you? You know how when you talk to manga fans they tell you "Read the manga, it's way better than the ainime"? Well, in this case I can't even see anyone with common sense going out of their way to recommend the anime of this unless they're recommending something to jack off to. The anime often resorts to fanservice to keep the viewer invested in the goings on and it's a rather desperate attempt when you really think about it. It's like they're screaming "Hey, we don't have enough faith in the source material to adapt it properly so maybe this will keep your attention!" And that's really sad particularly since the manga isn't just a harem series filled to the brim with cheesecake shots and bare breasts.
While Rosario+Vampire starts out as a typical Magical Girlfriend Harem series it, like it's art style, slowly starts to evolve from volume 3 of the manga into a much darker series. Now a darker turn DOES NOT mean a better turn in all cases but really think about the plot and tell me that it doesn't make sense. A Human boy at a boarding school for Monsters! That's got potential written all over it...in the right hands. While Tsukune does start the series as a regular and average human he is introduced with a unique ability; he is the only one capable of removing the rosary on her chest and releasing her true Vampiric powers. This leads to the formulaic plot lines of Moka having to transform and literally kick the problem away up until the events that take place in volume three which causes Tsukune's slow transformation into something not quite Human anymore. But then with the transformation of Tsukune comes the transformation of the manga as a whole which includes the characters themselves and their relationship with Tsukune.
A Harem anime or manga is defined largely by the girls that it consists of. This is because the main male character exists only for the purpose of gathering them and just being a nice guy and accidental pervert. That's not to say that this character type hasn't been...messed with in other series like Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2 both of which feature more...realistic(?) harem leads with actual personality flaws and characteristics that would either repulse or attract a horde of beautiful girls. This is probably largely due to the fact that both series are meant to be comedies and in Ranma's case, an action story. Rosario+Vampire is also meant to be an action series but it's meant to combine serious drama, heartfelt romance, and enjoyable comedy all at the same time all the while making one of the worst possible evolution's in manga history; going from a Harem to a Shonen Action series two story types that really don't go well with each other for a very simple reason, that being the primary focus of both types of story are completely different. A Harem series should focus on the romantic interactions of multiple people while a Shonen action series should focus on...action. AND NOT POINTLESS ACTION! The action in a Shonen fighting series should have some reason behind it and it should be engaging. Now there are other differences between the two series despite both usually being Shonen series but there is a much bigger distinction between the two. The desires of the protagonist. In a Harem, the protagonist usually has his eyes on a girl he knows of while the action protagonist may have an interest in a girl but will rarely mange to enter into a relationship with her until around the end of the series while other times they will express no knowledge of this emotion called "love". And unfortunately this is what happens with the genre shift in Rosario+Vampire. Does that mean that you shouldn't check out the manga? No, it's still very much worth the read and most inexperienced manga readers won't be able to tell the difference in Tsukune's behavior up to a certain point.
SO, what's there to like about this series? Personally I think the characters make it one of the most enjoyable harem series I've ever had the pleasure of reading. You're really able to form a connection with each and every one of them in some way and if you can make it to volume 6 you're in for quite the interesting story. Thanks for your time everyone. DaWarou~!