Coded review.

Sunday 7 May 2006

Screenshot anime Karin

Pic of the day: Karin the anti-vampire and the boy she wants to not be unhappy. It's so embarrassing!

Anime "Karin"

This anime is a romantic comedy about a vampire girl. Her family are all vampires. They came from Europe, where their family name was "Marker". In Japanese this becomes "Maaka". The main character is named Karin, incidentally the only name I know that is the same in Japanese and Norwegian.

These vampires don't kill people, nor do they make their victims into vampires. No, they are attracted to certain personality traits, like stress or unhappiness. When they carefully suck the blood of such a person, they drain that personality trait at the same time. (It will grow back in time, though.) Most of the family live symbiotically with humans, draining negative traits. However, the grandmother drains love, and this will eventually bring them all in serious trouble. In any case, humans have so many prejudices about them, so the vampires stay hidden. They use their psychic powers to make people forget about them.

Karin is not a normal vampire. She is an anti-vampire: A vampire whose blood increases. She needs to bite people to inject blood in them, otherwise it will erupt in a violent nosebleed. (The effect of her bite is much like the rest of the family, though. Evidently her blood neutralizes unhappiness in her "victims".) Karin can also stay outside in the sun, unlike other adult vampires.

(A word here about the nosebleed thing. It is a running gag through the whole series. In Japanese popular culture, nosebleed is an euphemism for sexual excitement. It is mostly used about virgin males, but seems to have spread to females lately. There are at least three theories about how this euphemism came into being. The most obvious and likely is that the higher blood pressure from the physical excitement causes blood vessels to burst. Evidently this really happens, but may be at least as common during anger. The second theory is that since this effect was first used about males, it was an euphemism for other bodily fluids that may erupt suddenly if excitement grows too strong. Third theory, which I have seen only once or twice, is that boys may hurt themselves slightly so as to distract themselves and recover from the effects of excitement.)

In any case, if Karin spends too much time too close to an unhappy person, her blood will increase until it bursts out from her nose in a red fountain. This makes a mess and also leaves her weak and sleepy.

Karin's classmate in high school, a boy named Kenta, discovers her secret but decides to protect her. After some time to get used to her being a vampire, they get along well. She isn't exactly a typical vampire either: Happy, outgoing, loves to make food (especially with garlic) and bask in the sunshine. When she realizes that Kenta's unhappiness causes her nosebleeds, she decides that she must make him happy. Based on her own experience, the first thing that comes to mind is food. Food makes people happy and content, right? So she starts bringing a lunch box for him each day.

(Lunch is an important meal to the Japanese. Due to the strength of family values in that culture, it is common to bring a lunch box from home, made by one's mother or wife. It serves as a reminder of your family when you are at work, tying your world together. It is possible to buy lunch but it is considered sad and lonely. Because of the familiarity implied, a girl making lunch for a boy is basically proposing to him. Eating lunch boxes made by a girl means that you accept to go steady with her at the very least. Karin does not know this, because she is not familiar with human and Japanese culture from home. Vampires don't go to work, after all.)

The main theme of this anime is embarrassment. Each episode title reads (something) "is so embarrassing". It is in light of this we must see the opening sequence, which contains quite a bit of nudity. The anime itself is not adult-themed, although there is some indecency. It is there for the embarrassment, though. There is no actual premarital hanky- panky. It is mostly a funny and heart-warming comedy, although the later episodes also introduce lots of drama. It all resolves back to form at the very end, though.

As a westerner, don't expect anything deep or meaningful. It is a feel- good story. Actually, the topic does have a deeper meaning. Japan is one of the most ethnically pure countries in the world, and they intend to keep it that way. Immigration is strongly discouraged and foreigners are treated with respect but with the clear assumption that they will leave when their job is done. In the West we would call this attitude racism. The idea that two different races (vampire and human) can not only exist together but even fall in love is pretty revolutionary, not to say provoking. I am not sure how many Japanese will actually think of it this way, though. It is a fantasy story, separate from their ordinary lives. I doubt it will cause Japan to change its immigration policy...

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Mazrim & the cow
Two years ago: Fast forward
Three years ago: 3 bubbles a day
Four years ago: Outdoors
Five years ago: Poor singles, yet again
Six years ago: Magnus unplugged
Seven years ago: Waking up at bedtime

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