Before I begin, one thing I forgot to write in the catch up is that there is an organization of vampires called Telomere that was behind all of the assassination attempts on Mina. One of the members was a student who lead the charge against the human students in episode 7. I mention this now because they take a central role in the plot of this episode and presumably of the episodes going forwards.
Well, the Vampire Bund has now been established, so a new plotline begins to develop. The episode starts off almost like a hentai, with a young boy waking up to find his “older sister” trying to jump him. The young boy’s name is Yuzuru, and the “older sister” is actually Nanami Shinonome, the former student council president who was turned into a vampire very early in the show. The scene ends with her fleeing after forcing herself to stop from biting the boy.
It has been a month since the events of episode 7 and the opening of the Bund. It has a very strict border policy, with vampires not being allowed to leave as they please. Vera, the head vampire bodyguard/assistant for Mina, reports to her that some vampires have been breaking this rule, and so she is order to investigate.
At the high school, the students who had been victimized in the previous episode have all been “vaccinated” (they never do explain how they can “vaccinate” turned vampires ex post facto), but all of them have still opted to leave the school. Yuki considers quitting the student council as well because it hurts her to see Mina and Akira together. But after she and Mina talk things out about Akira and learning that there are some aspects of her relationship with Akira that Mina is jealous of, they become friends.
Mei Ran makes a brief appearance early in the episode. She visits Akira in the classroom, flirts with him a bit. It is revealed that she has a pendant which is a replica of one that Akira vaguely recognizes. It will probably become significant later.
The real meat of the story starts when during her investigation, Vera catches Yuzuru trying to break into the Bund. When he reveals that he’s looking for Nanami, Vera takes him to Mina, who decides to set up a net to catch her in the act. The net is successful, but Nanami does not listen to Mina’s orders, making her realize that she has a different master. After a short chase, they run into the master, a vampire by the name of Hysterica (va: Rie Kugimiya ). Vera recognizes her, and they seem to have a history that stretches at least a 100 years. Last time they met, in 1918, she had been known as Francesca.
She also has with her a sizable army of undead-like vampire followers, also immune to Mina’s words. A fight scene breaks out between Beowulf Elite Eight, Mina’s royal guard team made up of wolfmen, and the rogue vampires, while Vera takes on Hysterica herself and Akira goes chasing after Nanami. When they catch up, they see Nanami in pain over her love for Yuzuru, not wanting him to see her this way or to turn him into a vampire, but still having the urge to do so. Yuzuru suddenly appears, and tries to chase Nanami who starts running away from him, but not before Hysterica also appears, pushing him away and grabbing Nanami.
She decides to retreat for now, realizing that she’s outnumbered and outmatched, but not before giving an ominous warning that she is planning on something that will show the “fragile humans” the power of vampires. She escapes by creating a diversion by exploding 2 of her undead vampires, who had been rigged with explosives.
Well, this episode was really filled with a lot of content, and it was a lot more intelligible than most of the previous episodes. I’m glad to see even more of Mei Ran and to get a glimpse at what her story is all about. Still nothing concrete yet, but the pendant tells us that unless it’s just a red herring, she will definitely play a bigger role in the rest of the episodes. Yuki seems to have gotten a mostly happy ending, as she learns that she can let Mina have Akira without having to give him up.
But given the more interesting stuff that happened in this episode, I hope that there isn’t too much time spent on Yuki and the love triangle. Nanami was a character whom I wrote off as dead after she first got attacked by vampires, but she had returned in episode 6 and now plays an even bigger role, although I predict she’ll step aside to Hysterica and the bigger Telomere organization that’s behind it all. The opening scene with her reminded me a bit of the latest episode of Baka to Test. The anime industry definitely went through a little sister phase for a while; is it now going through a big sister phase?
I liked how Hysterica was presented as a character. I didn’t realize Rie Kugimiya was going to be in this, and it’s nice to hear her play a character so unlike her usual roles. Besides her voice, the sharp angles of the features of her face, the stark contrast between her thick eyebrows and her skin, and her maniacal facial expressions worked well to present her as a very sinister character. Her former relationship with Vera interests me as well. It seems that they used to be on the same side until some event or decision they made split them apart, and I hope the show explains that a bit more.
The fight scenes were short, but were again pretty well done, like in episode 7. Shaft isn’t traditionally known for using a lot of action in their animation, but it was quite fluid and, more importantly, very well directed. Mina’s take down and destruction of Hysterica’s weapon was beautiful to watch. I don’t expect action to be a major portion of the show going forwards, but if there are little scenes like the ones in this episode, I’ll be happy.
This episode finally had a legitimate ED sequence. Same song as before, but there’s actual animation and stuff going on instead of slowly zooming out of a slowly colorizing picture of Mina in lingerie. The imagery reminded me of some of Shaft’s other OPs and EDs. The high-contrast, very dark imagery reminded me at times of Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s final ED (Omamori), while the moving gears and chained up Mina was reminiscent of the OP from the 2 Ef series. Overall, it was a pretty standard Shaft ED, but nothing to write home about.