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Well, it’s been a while since I’ve read the manga for Vassalord, but I feel that I can say with confidence that fans of the manga will be in for a treat.
Charles J. Chrishund (Cherry to some) is a second generation vampire (a “turned” vampire) who works for the Vatican to eliminate other vampires. Although he is extremely religious and devoted to his duties, he also frequents the place of his master, the vampire who turned him, Jonny Rayflo, whenever he needs a bite to eat.
While “a good vampire who hunts his own kind” certainly isn’t anything new, Vassalord’s heart lies in the relationship between Chris and Rayflo. In an interesting inversion of the usual “master-servant” trope, it is Chris who takes the lead in most things from feeding to missions. He certainly has no qualms in locking Rayflo in a coffin and bringing him across the world as a personal snack. When reading the manga, it was the interplay between Rayflo’s laid-back attitude and Chris’ sternness that made the manga shine.
Fans will certainly not be disappointed by this OVA. Although, naturally, it doesn’t cover everything it could, it is a great tribute to the original and a good way for newcomers to get a taste of Vassalord. The art and animation are really gorgeous. It’s not Studio Ghibli levels, but it certainly is nice to look at. Voice acting is superb, and I did appreciate how the general dark tone was interspersed with moments of light-hearted comedy.
There is one minor pacing issue during the transition from part two to part three, one which the makers probably assumed manga readers would fill in the blanks for, but those who haven’t read the manga might be a little jarred by it. After Chris and Rayflo agree to meet the Sister, part two ends and part three begins suddenly with Chris and Rayflo at the ravaged scene where Princess Marie, who the Sister was holding captive, has escaped and massacred everyone. While it’s not hard to fill in the blanks, a little more of a bridge between scenes would have been welcome.
The plot is rather straightforward, and you get the sense that this is an introduction to please already established fans and perhaps draw a few more in as well. However, the OVA stands alone by itself and no prior knowledge of the series is needed to enjoy it.
I for one very much enjoyed this OVA, and if I decide to return to the manga after what feels like years of absence, then that can only be a good thing.
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