Vampire in the Garden, review of the Netflix anime

The Netflix anime uses the brutal conflict between vampires and humans to metaphorically reason about discrimination in societies dominated by wartime supremacist laws

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Vampire in the Garden wants to offer a vision of the world through the lens of diversity. In its animated reality, everything is played on the border of opposition, of the confrontation of ideas, actions and existential states which, by virtue of a specific genetic declination, leave no room for a (semblance of) opening towards otherness. The differences that derive from them are therefore inextinguishable, since they derive their origin and vitality precisely from the overwhelming of the other. And in a horizon in which the different is the very image of collective failure, the survival of the two species (in this case, that of vampires and human beings) can only manifest itself in a perennial conflict, which demolishes every symptom of coexistence. peaceful, immersed as it is in the peremptory nature of a (dis) human war.

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Within a perennial war frame, in which vampires and humans fight to the death to affirm the (alleged) genetic superiority of their race, Vampire in the Garden however, it finds a space of light. The interracial friendship between the human Momo and the vampire queen Fiine is here the emotional heart of the story, and at the same time the only vehicle for a wider social criticism. Despite being considered as aberrations by their respective battalions – humans on the one hand, vampires on the other – the protagonists make biological differences the starting point for a profound relationship, based on transcendence, and no longer on reaffirmation of the much maligned genetic differences. The “unnatural” bond that is thus formed between the two female characters then becomes the mirror of a fierce polemical reflection, which extends its range of action to the injustices of (our) reality. The staging of an emotional reciprocity between individuals of opposite sign therefore challenges any assumption of incompatibility between races. That is, it faces those same supremacist laws that in a war context – as in 86 Eighty-Six – always emerge as a dominant figure of warlike everyday life. It is no coincidence that in such a humanly coercive reality, Momo and Fiine immediately abandon the battlefield, to pursue together the “dream” of an earthly paradise, in which it is possible (superv) to live under the banner of coexistence interracial.

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But Vampire in the Garden however, his feet are firmly planted in reality. In iconography, as in identity, her characters are symbols of a utopian narrative, framed as ideal vehicles for the collective overcoming of disparities (cultural, racial, social). And as synonyms of utopia, their actions can only succumb under the weight of a cannibal world, which devours the most fragile prey to forcefully reiterate the same inequalities that they intend to overcome. A context that the continuous sensationalist digressions risk in part to sweeten, but which emerges as the significant nucleus of a metaphorical story, where the frame from vampire movie it is the generic filter with which to tell the inequality of our society. The expression, moreover, of a productive continuity that Wit Studio manifests with some of its previous works – let’s think about The attack of the Giants or Ranking of Kings – according to a decidedly eclectic formalism. Unlike the stylistic coherence of the Ghibli or the Madhouse, Vampire in the Garden it is therefore the last piece of a spurious editorial policy, which adapts the design to the identity singularity of the story. In this sense, the (partially cloying) infographics contamination with the CGI it is to be understood as a channel for hyperrealism, as an aesthetic means by which the story reaches the animated representation of a hypothetical reality, in view of the necessary confrontation with the truths of our world.

Original title: Vanpaia in za Gaden
Director: Ryōtarō Makihara
Voices: Yu Kobayashi, Megumi Han, Hiroki Touchi, Rica Fukami, Chiaki Kobayashi
Distribution: Netflix
Duration: 5 episodes of 24-31 ‘
Origin: Japan, 2022

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Vampire in the Garden, review of the Netflix anime