Review of Karin (2005)

Moving picture, 9 hours

A typical couple of European vampires have settled for a quiet life in modern Japan. They have three children: A wicked womanizer, a stone-faced Gothic Lolita, and the eldest daughter, Karin. Each of them is drawn to victims with some special character trait, which evaporates when the vampire feeds. Karin is abnormal: she produces blood and has no problems with sunlight.

Romantic vampire comedy. Humour arises mainly through interference with the semiotics of mass-market Japanese animation. In that culture, a nosebleed signifies lust and is typically applied to boys, so its application here, to a girl and in grotesque amounts, is a joke. This joke is the purpose of the supernatural premise. Karin’s freeze-framed flowering catchphrase scream of “Iyaaa” (Nooo!) draws on an array of such conventions, and her love interest’s response to her attacks—“Kokoro no junbi wa mada...”—is another reversed gender stereotype. Unfortunately, clever premises are almost the only interesting thing about the series, and they’re only clever, not actually smart.

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction series