vampiresLynnRina HidakaAya Uchida
Ms. Vampire who lives in my neighborhood
Also known as: Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Noriaki Akitaya
Writer: Tatsuya Takahashi
Original creator: Amatou
Actor: Aya Uchida, Azumi Waki, Lynn, Miyu Tomita, Rina Hidaka, Yu Sasahara
Keywords: anime, vampires
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=21135
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 24 June 2019
Tonari no Kyuuketsuki san
It's slice-of-life fluff that doesn't matter. However it's vampire slice-of-life fluff, which is by definition more entertaining than "I'm a schoolgirl and a part-time waitress in a cafe". I enjoyed it. It's charming. No warm necks get bitten and there are no fatalities, though.
There are two vampires: Sophie (the main one) and Ellie (who arrives in ep.4). They don't bite people's necks any more, although Ellie is liable to get excited about doing so and Sophie will have to restrain her. We have the internet. You can order blood on Amazon. (Mind you, Sophie's 360 years old and Ellie's 450, so I assume they'd previously spent their un-lives feeding the old-fashioned way.) They've also got all the traditional weaknesses and quirks. The show's joyfully indulging in any and all vampire lore, even relatively obscure legends like the Eastern Europe one that they were obsessive-compulsive about counting things and you could render them harmless by sprinkling millet or poppy seeds around their graves. (They'd spend all night counting them.) Even the show's silliest-looking vampire power (bat wings that let them fly) is more authentic than you'd think, since folkloric vampires are often capable of flight, in various odd ways. Transforming into flying creatures (e.g. bats, owls, flies) isn't half of it.
At night, they can lift trucks one-handed. During the day, they can't even see properly outdoors and can be knocked down by passing insects.
Sophie's an otaku. She lurks in her mansion, watching late-night anime and ordering figures on the internet. She's also a bit of a scaredy-cat, e.g. with ghost stories, and she doesn't believe in unrealistic things like werewolves. (Her friends don't say anything.) As for Ellie, she's clearly Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) after getting vampirised at about thirteen years old and spending centuries getting nicer. She speaks Hungarian, she's an aristocrat, her name and age are about right, she likes bathing in blood and she's an aggressive lesbian (although sexual attraction for her today just means she'd like to bite your neck).
As for the humans, we have Akari (schoolgirl who's adorably enthusiastic about vampires and will occasionally try to get Sophie to bite her neck) and Hinata (Akari's best friend who fancies her). Akari's afraid of nothing. She quite often unnerves Sophie, in fact, which is one of the show's recurring jokes. On discovering that Sophie's a vampire, Akari responds by moving into her mansion and fantasising about them getting married. She's so keen to get bitten that at one point she gets depressed when the vampires keep refusing. At one point, Akari asks if Sophie might be willing to convert her too. (Sophie's response is a hard "no".) That said, though, she's not a brooding goth or anything. She's a super-enthusiastic schoolgirl who has no sense of personal space and loves cute things, for a broad definition of "cute". Her sinister doll collection can freak out even the undead.
The show's also full of lesbians. Ellie, Hinata and Akari are unambiguous. Sophie's more debatable, since she shows no direct indications of it and in any case the vampires' equivalent of sexual attraction is something else entirely. Her behaviour could easily just be her reaction to the unprecedented situation of having a friend. However she's been known to blush around Akari, sleeps with dakimakura of female anime characters and in one episode went out in the daytime just because Akari had forgotten to take her lunch to school. (These vampires can survive indirect sunlight, but it makes them dizzy and nauseous. Direct sunlight causes disintegration.)
It's a fun show. I was amused by how ready everyone is to say that Sophie and Ellie are vampires, which appears to be their standard mode of introduction. (No one's ever scared, or even particularly surprised. You'd get a stronger response if you said you had an Italian great-grandfather.) Its vampire point-of-view is what makes it stand out a little from its slice-of-life peers. The show's quietly meticulous about it, underneath the cute schoolgirl comedy, and you're almost being encouraged to wonder about, say, who's selling all this online blood. Are vampires its target market? The advertising and branding are mildly suggestive of this, in which case there's room to wonder about whether the blood is being sourced consensually and non-fatally. There's also comedy about the vampires' skewed viewpoints, e.g. being sorry for humans who don't have a coffin lid to sleep under, or being medievally out-of-date in their human medical knowledge.
I'd be surprised if we got a second season. It's not clear that there's anywhere for the show to go, although that's not necessarily a problem since this first season isn't really going anywhere either. (I'm also not keen on the clunky English translation of the show's title, although I don't have any wildly superior alternative.) It's still amusing, though.
"What if I made a sponge cake soaked in blood?" (Akari's throwing out Christmas ideas.)