Vampire Princess Miyu
[Animated logo: Vampire Princess Miyu] Vampire Princess Miyu

[Image of Miyu from television series]

[Animated logo: Vampire Princess Miyu]

[Image of Miyu as Guardian and schoolgirl - from Vampire Princess Miyu television series]One of anime's best-known vampire series, Vampire Princess Miyu comes in two "flavors:" OAV (Original Animation Video) and television series. The TV series is just now being released in the States. While both share the same title and the same teenage-looking main character, the two series are indeed quite different.

The Vampire Princess Miyu OAV series, which has been available in the States for nearly a decade on videotape, is really the tale of Himiko, a spiritualist who happens upon the mysterious vampire girl in Kyoto and pursues her. Originally, Himiko believes that Miyu is responsible for vampire-style attacks. During the four episodes, she begins to better understand Miyu, especially after the final episode. Still, she is perplexed that Miyu can scoff at crosses, drink holy water, and survive in direct sunlight without any ill effects. Across the four episodes, Larva, Miyu's mysterious, silent assistant, helps and protects Miyu and does her bidding, as they fight evil creatures (shinma) and return them to their realm (The Dark). Unfortunately, the DVD version of the series includes only two episodes per DVD - hardly worth the higher price for brand-new DVDs.

The Vampire Princess Miyu TV series focuses truly upon Miyu as the main character. Larva is again with her, as is a new, bunny-like companion, Shiina. Beginning with the second episode, Miyu settles down in Tokyo and befriends several girls in her class. Miyu's main challenge is to continue to fight shinma and return them to The Dark, while keeping this important information from her friends. Further, Miyu has a nemesis from her past, Reiha, who resurfaces throughout the series. The bond of friendship between Miyu and classmate Chisato is especially strong, and is put to the ultimate test in the final episodes of the television series.

Other than the shift in location and the additional characters, the main difference between the OAV series and the TV series is Miyu's background story. Both versions of the Vampire Princess Miyu saga are based upon a manga, but I have not read it, so it is unclear which (if either) background story is derived from the manga.

While both the OAV and TV series have a high level of quality and are quite thought-provoking, I personally prefer the TV series. With its twenty-six episodes, there is much more time for character development, which helps the viewer to truly understand Miyu and her background. The addition of Reiha makes the TV series even more interesting, especially in the latter episodes once her background is explained. Also, the music of the TV series (available as an import soundtrack CD) is more enticing and involving.

This is certainly not meant to discourage anyone from watching the OAV series!!! The OAV series does have its own good points, including music and character development (although the latter is obviously not as deep as the TV series). The shinma in the OAV series are rather intriguing themselves, and Miyu's background story (revealed in the final episodes) is truly heartwrenching. Best of all, the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series is now being released commercially in North America >:-)=