Friday, 17 August 2012

ロザリオとバンパイア CAPU2 / Rosario+Vampire Capu2

Well then – Rosario+Vampire, by all accounts a throwaway piece of moé frivolity, managed to be a it of a smash hit and justify a second season, ‘Capu2’ – a bit of a pun, the Japanese pronunciation of ‘two’ sounding like ‘chuu’, the onomatopoeia for a kiss.

As I said in my Macademi Wasshoi! review, this second season of a fanservice-based series somewhat crippled itself with censorship on the TV broadcast, here the stupid bat mascot censoring the panty shots – and sad to say, this follow-up series took the usual tendency for a moé show to become much more perverted for its follow-up (looking at you, Dog Days Dash) and went to the absolute extreme. There are panty shots every few seconds. The episode preview is girls’ backsides shaking away until finally their panties are revealed, different every episode. The girls’ skirts are so short they reveal panties when they are simply standing, which actually becomes a plot point. And of course, the girls have decided that they will grope each others’ boobs at every opportunity.

But if any show couldn’t really get worse because of added crass fanservice, it’s Rosario+Vampire. It was about pervy fanservice from the beginning, and pushing it way past High School Girls level doesn’t detract much from an already stupid harem comedy. And what strengths the series has, it still has – a girl for every taste, some of Gonzo’s nicer and more consistent artwork, and a compulsively watchable quality derived from the light, simple tone and likeable stereotypes.

The set-up is much the same – Tsukune-kun the human attends a school for monsters, and has a disproportionate number of the female students lusting after him. Added to the mix is Moka’s little sister, a tsundere who only wants to see Moka’s dark side – and fleshes out the bat mascot into an actual character. She acts forceful and bratty enough that when she gets humiliated it’s both cute and satisfying (though spanking was a bit far). We also see the main girls’ parents, who are like exaggerated versions of them, and we get an answer to the first series’ mystery of whether the two Mokas are aspects of the same person or ought to be considered two distinct individuals – in fact, that becomes the centre of the dramatic part of the series…as in, the parts that aren’t about the Loli magically becoming an adult with big boobies, or the gang going to a bathhouse – which in the DVDs meant unappealing nipples everywhere. Even the loli looked absurd with small, stiff anime boobs.

Given that it was stupid, meant to be stupid, and happy being stupid, I didn’t mind Capu2 at all. It was dumb, unambitious fun, and while I’d never buy any merchandise based on it, it was a fun light distraction. The one problem I had was how they dealt with the typical irritating part of any harem series – the fact that the male protagonist sees the girls fighting over him, professing their love, indirectly imploring him to choose, make a decision, get them past their indecision – but he just says nothing. Laughs awkwardly and changes the subject, or gets interrupted. And the last episode has the true Moka making clear she fully understands what is going on – she beats Tsukune up for just wanting to string all the girls along and have them all, which is after all the fantasy. It’s not a fantasy I like – I’m all for the romance of one love. Tsukune clearly likes Moka the best – and he should make that clear, no matter what the audience likes. That said, that didn’t exactly work out so well for Midorino Hibi or Da Capo, so maybe I’m in the minority. And when each very different girl has rabid fans, it’s gonna be tricky to please everyone.

There probably won’t be any more Rosario+Vampire, and that suits me fine. But if there is, I’d watch it. It’s one of those shows – pleasant enough to watch without having to think at all…but not good enough that I’m sad it’s over. 

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