Vampire Princess Miyu, Anime OVA 1 and 2

May 11th, 2008

What better way to start a new week than with a new word! Nioi-kei is a word coined by fujyoshi – the Japanese term for what you probably call Yaoi FanGirl. Fujyoshi are as delusional about Boys Love as you are about Yuri, and as a result come up with all sorts of neat words to describe stuff you didn’t realize needed to be described.

Nioi-kei (pronounced “nee-oy-ke”) means something that “smells of BL.” For instance, Ouran High School which has no actual BL, but because of the preponderance of bishounen and the twin’s playing with an incestuous BL relationship as part of their persona, “smells” like a BL series. In the case of Yuri, it would be something like Kiddy Grade, or Venus Versus Virus. They smell strongly of Yuri, but really, they aren’t.

Today’s review is totally nioi-ke, because although Vampire Princess Miyu OAV Volume 1 and Volume 2 *smell* like Yuri…etc, etc. :-)

The OAV is outside the framework of the TV series (which I am also rewatching). It begins with a girl possessed, an occultist named Himeko, and rumors of a vampire haunting the town.

Himeko learns of, meets, then begins to obssess about Miyu, sure that Miyu is an evil influence, here to destroy lives – and basically nothing Miyu does convinces her that she’s wrong. For her part, Miyu is determined to remain disinterested in human existence, so while in some ways she’s helping people, in some ways she really isn’t. It’s all comes back to the basic concept of existence as a human equaling dealing with stuff, both good and bad, that life brings. Miyu brings forgetfulness to some, but is she really helping? Himeko unconditionally thinks not.

Himeko continues to track Miyu, as their lives become intertwined in a tragic story of a family betrayed – and true to her inhumanity, Miyu involves Himeko in a way that could very well become deadly.

The end remains as ambiguous as the beginning, with Himeko still convinced that Miyu brings nothing good into the world, even if she doesn’t exactly bring evil.

The thing that stood out the most for me was that, at the very beginning, Himeko arrives at the airport with no money in her purse to get a cab or make a phone call. I just started to grin, thinking that these past 20 years have changed things a lot. Nowadays, you’d hop to an ATM, get some money and call your friend on your cell. But Himeko was basically stranded. Also, Himeko was animated in those days, a generation ago now, when adult women looked like adults, and women. It was very nostalgic.

The Yuri is, as I said, totally nioi-kei. You can just about smell the scent in Himeko’s unreasonable obsession with Miyu, but it’s not developed any more than that, not even as service. The mangaka who created Miyu, Kakinouchi Narumi, has bathed more than a few of her works with that eau de Yuri, and has even added a few actual crystals to the Miyu TV series and to her obscure, one-shot manga Utahime Fight.

For a 20+ year old anime, this OAV holds up pretty darn good, I think. The animation is old-school hand-drawn art and yet, pretty cool, the story is tight, dramatic, full of foxes and other supernatural creatures, action-packed and in some way, all very much about people and what makes a human life.


Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 1
Service – 1

Overall – 8

Thanks be to Ted the Awesome for his contribution to today’s review and also to my wife who bought me the first OAV of the series a really, really, long time ago. :-)

Also thanks to Bangin-san, for his Japanese Words of Anime Fans blog, where we got today’s shiny new term!

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5 Responses

  1. Ramiya says:

    Great post, and a nice analysis of the original Miyu OVA, an old favorite of mine (of many). Of course Hirano Toshiki (then Toshihiro) as director of the series (and later Narumi’s hubby) is no stranger to Yuri elements either (look at Iczer-1, his work in Cream Lemon, and so on).

    I’m curious enough to ask though (I’ve lurked here a good long while, but first comment) why you categorize Kiddy Grade as Yuri nioi-kei, though? I thought by the later part of the series it was pretty clear that that Lumiere and Eclair were, pardon the cliche, lovers that transcend time. Perhaps I had my Yuri goggles on too tight, but I was rather touched by the episode that dealt with their past generations (somewhat Highlander-esque) together. I agree though that more is implied than outright shown though. That said, the show had LFB levels off the charts…

    Have you posted thoughts on Kiddy Grade previously? I’m curious now on your general opinion of the series. *^^*

  2. ramiya – thanks for your comments.

    My opinion is that Kiddy Grade is exactly whatever the viewer wants from it. I found it to be completely nioi-ke. I find this to be true with many series other people consider to be zOMG Yuri. Ambiguity makes it easier to please a wider audience.

  3. ramiya – the answer to your final comment is this – Kiddy Grade has never appeared on Okazu for a reason. That is my general opinion of it.

  4. Michelle says:

    Also, Himeko was animated in those days, a generation ago now, when adult women looked like adults, and women. It was very nostalgic.

    Hee, that made me laugh! Oh, how I miss those days…

    Anyway, just dropping a comment to say thanks for rec’ing your blog! :) I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts on Yuri anime and manga. I’ve never really been into it (must be a byproduct of being a straight girl – SIGH), but I’ve been taking notes while reading and have compiled a shortlist of things I want to read/watch. Miyu included! I started watching the TV anime years ago, but I admit it scared me, haha. Something about a floating mask… *shivers*

    Thanks again and I’m looking forward to future posts! ^^

  5. Ramiya says:

    Thanks, Erica! Ah, I remember one of your prior posts on ambiguity, and yes that makes a lot of sense, especially in a series that’s openly trying to directly appeal to so many random fetishes at once.

    I’ll be interested to see your comments on rewatching the Miyu TV series later. I’ve been thinking of digging it back out again myself.

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