Amano Akari is a high school girl with some strange tastes and hobbies. She loves things occult and gothic, and is especially fond of collecting dolls that other people find creepy. Akari is cheerful, excitable, energetic, and expressive. What other people find scary, she finds cute. So, imagine how this oddball reacts when she meets a vampire—the attractive Sophie Twilight. It’s not long before Akari has moved in with her beloved vampire friend!
Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san meanins “My Neighbor Miss Vampire,” but is for some reason called Miss Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood. (Who comes up with these horrible English titles?) Based on a 4-coma manga by Amatou, Miss Vampire aired in Fall 2018 and was animated by Gokumi and Axisiz studios. Genres include Slice-of-Life, Vampire, Comedy, and Shoujo Ai.
It being a slice-of-life without any real romance or serious drama, the anime does not have a central plot. This was a letdown for me because, while watching, I constantly imagined how much better the show would be with even just a little more direction. The main story could have explored the hinted shoujo ai relationships, with the conclusion being establishment of the couples. Alternatively, the creators could have taken seriously the jokes about Akari becoming a vampire, and ended with her transformation into one.
All that being said, I greatly enjoyed Miss Vampire and thought it had a good story overall. It’s an endearing, silly, and ironic show about how a supernatural creature tries to live a normal, quiet life. It is also has a unique concept, mixing cute shoujo ai with vampires.
The character designs are cute, and the main setting of Sophie’s house is nice to look at. However, there was nothing particularly creative in this show’s art-style or animation. It’s about average, not much different from any other anime featuring cutesy, chibi-like art-styles. This isn’t to say it’s bad, but only normal and unremarkable. Perhaps if I was more of a fan of this style, I would consider the art and animation better.
For sound, it’s pretty much the same deal as with the visuals. It’s not poor quality, but it just lacks anything to make it stick out. There was nothing special in the sound effects, music scores, opening song, or ending song. The voice-acting was fair, but even if each main cast member is extremely talented, this is not the kind of dramatic series where they can show their true talent. I will note that I was impressed with Akari’s seiyuu, Sasahara Yuu. I’d never heard her in anything before, and it seems like she’s just starting her anime voice-acting career. Sasahara did well in portraying a girl who has very unusual tastes but is completely harmless and adorable.
The show did not focus all that much on character development, so while the characters are all cute and funny, they lack some depth that could have made them even better. Sophie is the best of the cast in terms of originality and time spent expounding on her personality. What would a 300-year-old vampire be like if she lived in modern society and didn’t have to hurt humans to keep fed? What would her personality be like? Where does she get blood? How would she react to having a young human girl trying to become close to her? Watch and you’ll find the surprising and humorous answers to these questions.
The other main protagonist, Akari, is primarily a comedic character. She’s got quirks, hobbies, reactions, and expressions that are always genuinely funny. Her character could have been improved if the show spent some time explaining exactly how and why she became interested in things occult and gothic. In the final episode, Akari’s character shines in a new way. Removing the abundant humor temporarily, the last scene communicates how much Akari cares for Sophie– not just as a doll to be pampered, but as a special someone to share a home with, to spend time with, and to depend on.
In the interest of keeping the review short, I won’t analyze the other main characters, Ellie and Hinata. They were also good characters. Each has a handful of peculiarities that keeps them amusing and unconventional. Also, Ellie has a few history references to her character.
Personal Enjoyment: 8/10
I found Miss Vampire delightful for a number of reasons. A lot of vampire anime series either glorify and romanticize vampires, or gore-ify them in a bloody setting where they’re all savage beasts. Miss Vampire doesn’t follow either path, instead depicting the vampire myth as comedy. There is variety in type of vampire, too. There’s the patient, well-adjusted, and harmless Sophie, in addition to the mischievous and still potentially dangerous vampire Ellie. Either way, there are no extremes of either glorification or gore-ification.
I loved that the show used some dark humor in addition to the situational, ironic, and reactive-types of comedy. (For example, take Ellie’s hobby of enjoying a literal bloodbath. Or look at the vampires’ reactions to movies that show blood and anime that shows “delicious” virgins.) Another reason I enjoyed Tonari Kyuuketsuki was the “yuri.”
I am a big fan of shoujo ai that tells a good story with characters that feel genuine. I fantasize about yuri couples often as I watch anime. So I liked that there was some suggestion of yuri couples in Tonari Kyuuketsuki. Besides the opening song, which features the girls kissing each other’s cheeks or holding hands, there is also enough subtle content in the show to justify making yuri ships. (Main options– Sophie x Akari, Hinata x Akari, Hinata x Ellie, and Sophie x Ellie.)
Things like the occasional dark humor, the shoujo ai, and the unique, comedic swing on traditional vampires all made Miss Vampire entertaining for me. If you enjoy those aspects, give it a whirl. The characters are cute, funny, and fairly interesting. Just keep in mind there’s nothing exceptional in art or sound, and there’s no real plot. If you can handle that, you’ll love the show.
Overall Score: 6.6/10 Fine
It’s difficult to be critical of anime like this, where my personal and emotional enjoyment ranked so high. Still, I try to be a rational reviewer as I compare it to many other anime. That’s why, even though my enjoyment level was high, I must put the overall rating at 6s category. That’s as an anime critic. I’d have given it 8/10 Excellent if my rating was based on enjoyment alone.