Saturday, May 1, 2010

Do vampires even care? (吸血鬼って、気になるの?)

So, during a conversation with Melon the other day, I mentioned that I had just discovered "some gay vampire" drama.

Little did I realize much more there was to it.

And thus, a post was born.

RHプラス (RH Plus)

Being the horrible nerd that I am, I think the title is very clever. The RH factor is what determines whether your blood is positive or negative; the plus, I can only assume, indicates the former in this case. Cute name for a drama about vampires, yes?

Interestingly enough, though, as desperate as many Japanese people may be to know your 血液型 (blood type) for personality-delving and fortune-telling purposes, they don't tend to care about your RH factor. I have never, in fact, seen anything written about what it means to be positive or negative. Books on what being an O type says about you, sure, but O- versus O+? Zip.

I mean, really, it's obvious that personality traits can be determined solely by whether or not you possess a certain combination of A and B genotypes, but RH factors? Oh please, now you're just being silly.

...did I digress into condescension this time? Oops.


I admit, dear readers I was dubious from the beginning. Perhaps I should have stopped and saved you all the trouble... Alas.

The show opens with an illicit crime scene in a warehouse somewhere. Were this America, the baddies would be swapping drugs for cash. But no, this is Japan; they're trading guns. Yea, that's right. Guns. For those of you who didn't know, guns are absolutely illegal for civilians to own in Japan. Minds blown, oh American readers?

But that's not the dubious part. The dubious part is when the criminals hear noises... and suddenly get swooped (yes, swooped) away, one by one, by mysterious, swiftly moving man-shapes.

When only one criminal remains, he, reasonably perturbed as he is, whips out one of those illicit guns and begins to shoot wildly, of course missing anything aside from a few innocent pipes and storage boxes. Still unsettled, he begins to scream for the swoopy-people to show themselves.

Cut to two snot-nosed high-schoolers standing silhouetted by the spotlight passing through the window.

Crime fighting vampires? she snorted in mocking disbelief.

They proceed to beat the poor, unsuspecting criminal with their super-human strength and taunt him with their ridiculously high-pitched voices. They then drink what appears to be cans of tomato juice to toast their victory.

Cue opening credit sequence.

I've got to admit it to you readers; after this opening, I was hard-pressed to continue further, even though the episode was only half an hour long.

Long story short: four vampires, one house, trying to live as humans. Two are the aforementioned snot-nosed high-schoolers, Ageha and Makoto, one is a sort of creeper dude who sleeps in a room full of books (the last bit I can totally dig) who's name I never really caught, and the last is Kiyoi, an incredibly effeminate butler who may or may not be coming on to everybody at some point during the episode.

And out of four protagonists... None of them can act for beans.

The main plot of this episode, as far as I can gather, is the attempt on the part of these crazy vampire men to capture a serial killer of students at a nearby all-girls school. To do this, of course, they decide on subterfuge, and pick Ageha, the girlier of the two high-school kids (he is pretty damn girly; all they need to do is put him in a skirt and pop some lip-gloss on) to pass as a student and... oh, I don't know, hopefully get attacked.

This, of course, happens within five minutes. Five minutes of Ageha wandering aimlessly on the street, two of those minutes taken up by being sexually harassed by three hooligans who think he's hot stuff.

This is what happens when we turn manga into dramas, people.

As for that "gay vampires" comment above? Well, at the moment, I believe the potential is between Ageha and Makoto (Ageha throws a fit when the serial killer man calls Makoto a monster), or Kiyoi and... anyone, really. He seems pretty non-discriminatory with his strangely affectionate behavior.

And as for the vampires in general bit... they go out during the day, eat regular food, and can appear in mirrors when they try hard enough. Aside from the super-strength, some sort of ritual blood (see: tomato juice) drinking after their meals, and one momentary glimpse of fang, they're rather disappointing if we're talking about children of the night. These certainly aren't you're grandfather's vampires, no siree bob.

In conclusion? Not exactly something I'd recommend, unless you're a glutton for punishment. The acting is dreadful, the storyline isn't long enough to develop properly, and all-in-all it has the trappings of a corny manga turned even cornier drama.

Admittedly, it could get markedly better after this first episode. I'm... not holding my breath.

At the same time, I may continue watching just for the resounding horribleness of it. Sort of like a car crash, you just can't look away... despite the fact that it's slowly chewing away your brain cells.

Especially since the next episode appears to involve Makoto being abducted by some sort of cross-wielding crazy... What will they come up with next!

This is Edo, signing off amazed that the pansy-vampire trope has extended as far as Japan.

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