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Arcade in the Sky Blog: Karin - anime review

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Karin - anime review

Ironically, whilst ordering Thirst from Netflix, I also ordered the Karin series. This is an anime series about an un-vampire who generates massive quantities of blood, and feels compelled to bite people, just to inject the excess into them. Upon reading this summary, this seems like the most pointless premise imaginable, but it plays out in an amusing way, making this a worthwhile endeavor. This synopsis, did delay my watching the series for a while, but I'm getting to it now...

Karin is from the Marker family of Vampires, from Europe. They moved to Tokyo some time ago and have assimilated into society, claiming human blood for their meals. James Rolfe stated in his commentary of 'Dracula' that vampires come with a ridiculous amount of rules; and that's why each vampire story has to concoct it's of version of 'the rules'. Karin is no different. Here vampires are born as such, there is no 'turning'. They only take small amount of blood at a time, with no need to kill anyone--though only HUMAN blood will suffice. Here, vampires are born like humans and live without any powers or weaknesses, until puberty.

The main addition, and the impetus for most of the plot, is 'blood affinity'. Each individual vampire lusts for a particular personality trait in their victims. Some seek pride, other jealousy. Draining blood also takes these negative emotion temporarily. This puts the vampires at more of a symbiotic than parasitic place, at least in their minds.

This allows Karin to live a normal student life, only occasionally biting some stranger in the park to release the extra blood. Trouble starts when a new student transfers into her class-- Kenta Usui. A boy with nothing particularly unusual except that he has the evil-eye thing going on.

Karin is one continual story about Karin and Usui, the boy who meets her blood affinity so well that she can't stand to be around him. Because she is an un-vampire, her lust translates to spewing excess blood out of her nose. This is curious because this is a classic cartoon shorthand in Japan for carnal lust. If one were to watch from a distance and not read the subtitles, one would think Karin is just very randy.

Karin and Usui eventually become friends and then more, and many hi-jinks ensue. The whole piece is an elaborate twisted metaphor for a girl reaching puberty and starting to date. The parts all fit together by the end, though I will say that the pulled a ridiculously happy ending almost out of no where.

The art and animation are all par for the course. Even the music barely does it's job. Overall, a very, very average show. Despite that, it doesn't fall on it's face. So, I recommend it, but I would not say it's needs to be a top priority on your to-watch list.
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