Interview with a Vampire for the Modern Meme Lord
Cute vampires are a dime a dozen in all forms of media and there are specifically almost too many cute, young-looking blond vampires to count. Mina Tepes, Leticia Draculair, and Shinobu are great company for Mai Vlad Transylvania. A stunning, mild-mannered vampire with a vicious streak trying not to feed on humans is not in and of itself an original idea. However! Vlad Love borrows from numerous movies, novels, and folk tales to bring us something almost recognizable yet so removed from the source material, you can’t help but laugh! After all, good comedy is a familiar setup with a surprise twist. Let’s take a look at what makes this take on modern vampires so fun!
If you’re a cinephile like Maki or an avid reader like Dr. Chihiro, there are tons of Western and Eastern movie and book references to enjoy. While different characters mention or act out various scenes from older works throughout the anime, how it is carried out varies. Maki, being extremely excitable over movies, can’t help but launch into long expositions which are either begrudgingly endured or simply talked over to advance the plot. She’s quick to bring up horror movies in regards to the supernatural beings they meet such as the Fishman and the movie The Black Lagoon.
Dr. Chihiro’s dating history is like any noir film you’ve ever seen and, most notably, like Casa Blanca, which is directly mentioned. Her flashbacks being in subdued, comic-like visuals give a similar feel to watching old black-and-white movies and her inability to learn from such a classic formula makes her dating failures all the funnier! Episode 9 veers entirely with how episodes have played out and has Mitsugu vaguely moving through 4 different stories as the protagonist of Screw Style, Master of the Gensenkan Inn, Red Flowers, and The Girl of Mokkiriya while still keeping her same goal in the story of Vlad Love; giving her blood to her beloved Mai.
Truly a Dark Comedy
Episode 1 very much sets the pace for the first half of the anime, where we are intrigued by Mai’s beauty and then shocked/entertained by her sudden change in demeanor and the resulting destruction of people and objects. Much of the dramatic nature of the parasitic nature of vampires is alleviated by Mitsugu having a blood-donating fetish and the rest of the cast being absolute freaks in their own right. Mai and Mitsugi’s fathers locked in combat and apparently sharing both a mutual hatred and lack of parental guidance for their daughters is a pretty upsetting concept. But Mitsugu’s panic compared to Mai’s agreeable cheering both their dads on makes it impossible to take seriously. However, Mai’s father is a lot less funny in Episode 12 which is a very blatant take on Interview with a Vampire, involving more drama and death than we’ve seen previously despite Mai having gone on several rampages. It’s almost more sinister knowing how much he doted on Mai yet was capable of such monstrous things.
The Vampire Isn’t the Single Most Interesting Character
One of the main points of exposition in Vlad Love is how different things affect Mai differently when she eats/drinks them. Whether it’s reflecting the assumed personality types associated with blood types or transforming into a fire-breathing creature, she draws attention wherever she goes. Yet Mai hardly stands out in the throng of classmates ranging from disconnected to reality to straight-up dangerous. All of the students protecting Mai’s secret have what appears to be a very simple, easily-recognized personality but are actually quite multi-faceted in specific circumstances. Nami being an elegant dancer but an absolute unabashed weirdo, Jinko being domineering and unwilling to bend the rules while loving the expression of theater, Dr. Chihiro being both the Blood Donating Club’s savior while also being unethical in her search for rare blood or just getting her way, are all fun examples of how you never know who to watch out for!
Girl X Vampire Girl...Need We Say More??
The boyish Mitsugu and dainty Mai make the sweetest potential couple. They’re constantly holding onto each other as if it were only natural while also growing abashed at noticeably yuri moments. For a good bit of will they won't they, we get to see a lot of their boobs or at least Mai dressed provocatively. We can see ourselves in Mitsugu’s freaky yet endearing devotion to Mai because we would be no better!!
Vlad Love does a great job of being a gag of other media while still saying something important and even in its self-ridicule, connects themes in both overt and covert ways. Mai’s hilarious character changes as a result of food lead to a less obvious concept that we as living beings are the sum of our choices and the things that happen to us. The idea of one’s character transforming yet still being a part of you can be felt in each of the characters as well. Yet there is so much GL teasing, boobies, and warnings of copyright infringement, you wouldn’t necessarily know to look for anything more! Let us know in the comments what you thought of Vlad Love!