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  Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives, A That Wascally Wabbit
Year: 2011
Director: Takashi Yamamoto
Stars: Megumi Takamoto, Shinosuke Tachibana, Mina, Yuichi Nakamura, Iori Nomizu, Chika Horikawa, Jun Fukuyama, Aya Goda, Kenichi Suzumura, Junichi Suwabe
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Animated, Romance, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: You wouldn’t guess from that title, but this is another vampire anime. As a little boy, Taito Kurogane (voiced by Shinosuke Tachibana) was cursed with immortal life as a result of an enounter with a otherworldly girl named Himea Saito (Megumi Takamoto). Now a high school student haunted by strange dreams, Taito’s flirtation with cute classmate Haruka (Mina) is cut short when he rescues another high schooler from an oncoming truck, an act of bravery in which he literally loses his head. To the amazement of all, not least Taito himself, his headless body casually reattaches his decapitated head! Immediately thereafter, Himea re-enters Taito’s life, but is attacked by haughty class president Gekko Kurenai (Yuichi Nakamura) whom it turns out is actually a sword-wielding demon slayer along with his hyper-manic, panty-flashing sidekick Mirai (Iori Nomizu). However, the feuding couples join forces when sorcerer Hinata Kurenai (Jun Fukuyama), who happens to be Gekko’s evil twin brother, arrives riding a hideous giant spider, with world domination in mind.

In case you are wondering, the title refers to Taito’s videogame like ability to sustain seven lethal hits every battle before he loses his life, though where the dark rabbit fits into all this is anyone’s guess. Any horror fans who reckon Twilight (2008) has hopelessly sentimentalised vampires will find this sugary sweet beyond words. A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives is a fluffy fantasy romance set in a pastel world with a pink-haired heroine who ranks as possibly the least menacing vampire girl in anime history. Too often Himea stands idly by and lets the big, strong boys protect her. For a supposedly omnipotent otherworldly being, she is less than impressive. Comely mortal Haruka proves a far more appealing a romantic prospect, selflessly encouraging Taito whenever he is at a low ebb, though the plot gives her short shrift.

Adapted from a series of novels, the twelve part serial offers a typical teen friendly cocktail of high concept fantasy, elaborate battles, cute high school girls and gratuitous panty shots. Later episodes introduce a cuddly magical cat named Meowka and Taito’s overly cute kid sister but the inclusion of provocative tentacle horror scenes, though nowhere as graphic as those found in Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend (1987), along with overt psychosexual overtones, leaves this a melange of creepy and cute that might seem odd were there not as many anime in a similar mould.

Despite an awkward, almost subliminal story structure, the intoxicating visuals weave a dreamlike mood that remains compelling while Satoshi Isono’s colourfully cute chara designs are appealing. It mercifully lacks the queasy paedophilic undertones prevalant in another recent vampire girl anime, Dance in the Vampire Bund (2010) but is not as ambitious, although the fantasy action set-pieces prove satisfying and like many high school horror fables works as an allegorical commentary on teen relationships. After all the supernatural shenanigans, the series concludes with an asinine episode wherein the entire cast visit a hot springs resort. This has fast become a cliché in anime serials, allowing fans to gawp at the female characters as they fool around in bikinis, although in fairness the boys get naked too. File this series under forgettable but harmless.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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