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Vampire: The Masquerade: The Anime

January 14, 2010

Y’all ever play Vampire: The Masquerade? It’s a pen and paper RPG (meaning it’s a real RPG, not a video game poser) that came out in the early 90’s that plays off of vampire myths and stuff. You get to play a vampire and do vampire stuff and deal with vampire politics and other monsters that want to kill you. It was a cool storyline if you were into gothic horror, urban fantasy, and RPing. The line ended back in 2004 to make way for the inferior Vampire: The Requiem, but it’s still worth looking into despite being “obsolete.”

Anyway, after watching the second episode of Dance in the Vampire Bund, I’m convinced that someone behind this series is a fan of this RPG.

This is a good thing.

When Chibi-Tepes gets attacked by the spider-vampire, she blurts out “what bloodline are you from,” or some equivalent. I doubt “bloodlines’ are unique to The Masquerade (I remember the supplementary info for the Blade movies mentioning this sort of thing.), but the concept of vampires diverging into bloodlines that impart special abilities is central to the RPG. You’d pick your clan/bloodline the way you’d pick your class in Dungeons and Dragons. Instead of saying “I’m a Wizard” in The Masquerade you’d say “I’m from the Toreador Clan,” and that signified that you were better in certain “powers” than other vampires.

Mina’s obviously been trapped by a vampire from a bloodline that’s adept at taking someone like her down. The anime is fairly hazy about what, exactly, this spider-vamp can do that outclasses Tepes, but she’s in obvious trouble regardless of what it is. He could be immune to her mind control, or he could have an ability that suppresses hers, or something along those lines. This is very much in keeping with The Masquerade’s take on vampiredom.

The politics in play are also reminiscent of The Masquerade. One of the key aspects of the RPG is the fact that vampire society is organized into various factions that almost feel like “nations.” Within these large groups there was considerable political machinations. By seeing a fellow vampire attack Mina, we see that the vampire “front” isn’t united. There are powers jockeying for position, and some of these powers aren’t too fond of Chibi-Tepes. If I was a part of a secluded race and my “leader” just blew my cover, I’d be a little pissed too.

A lot of this can be attributed to vampire stories in general. The Masquerade borrowed from Anne Rice’s stuff and other novels, and a good number of vampire stories have been influenced by The Masquerade. The kicker to this “someone here plays this game” theory is when the werewolf shows up. When Akira transforms, the spider-vamp says that he’s “from the Clan of Gaia.”

Vampire: The Masquerade has a sister game called Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Its take on werewolves plays up the “Gaia” angle, and to my knowledge it was the first pop culture werewolf storyline to do so (Feel free to correct me on that if it isn’t the case.), and the central conflict revolves around werewolves protecting the world from environmental, technological, and mystical “corruption.”  There’s even a “tribe” of werewolves in this game that call themselves The Children of Gaia. They were basically Planeteers with fangs. Consider it a product of the times.

The fact that a werewolf is refered to as being of “Gaia” sealed the deal for me: Dance in the Vampire Bund is as close as we’ll get to a Masquerade TV series. And, no, that crappy Fox TV series that lasted half a season doesn’t count.

Also: Helicopters shooting missiles at vampires. That’s how you break up a monotonous scene. If only certain other series would take a cue from Vampire Bund and get around to blowing stuff up already.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 12:01 AM

    Erm, I didn’t get it? She was superpowerful in the first episode. I mean, a guy died just because she told him to. And now in this episode she lost all that wicked aura and got totally beaten up? Allucard would be soo dissapointed! She seemed like a totally different person. Wtf was that about?

    I’m hating the fact that vampires are turning into animals. Why can’t they just be vampires? It would be so much cooler. A wolf or a bat would be ok, tho. But a freaking chameleon and a spider? Not even a Gangrel would make sense of this shit LOL

    But the animation is wicked. I loved the character design!

    • January 15, 2010 4:22 AM

      I for one, totally dig that the vamps are “Kaijin”. It’s original and leaves a lot of room for variety. Considering vamps have been portrayed as turning into mist, blood pools with eyes, having sparkling skin or just plain becoming Orcs/Klingons in Buffy/Angel, the idea of them taking various animal forms isn’t too much of a stretch. The transformation aspect’s been there for awhile. This is a nice original take on it.

      With Werewolves now revealed, I guess next up is “Frankenstein”? Aka Mage Mummies.

      • 3drk permalink*
        January 15, 2010 7:49 PM

        No, Frankenstein are Prometheans. Although that’s a nWoD subset, it’d still fit.

        Mages and Mummies are both their own subset as well. Mummies knowing enough magic to give most Mages trouble.

        All I can say is We Shall See.

  2. January 15, 2010 2:33 AM

    I can honestly say I never, ever expected to see a Masquerade/Requiem comparison on any anime blog… Fascinating observations, though, and it makes sense. RPGs in Japan make up a tiny, tiny scene in the massive gestalt that is otaku geekdom, and a significant part of that is translations of Vampire and its sister games.

    • January 15, 2010 5:14 AM

      Mina is soooo practicing “flesh craft” in the omake. Hehehe.

      • January 15, 2010 8:32 PM

        Well, if we’re going to go full-tilt RPG geek on this…

        It’s obvious that the bad guy was either an Ananasi or a powerful Kuei-jin, which explains why Mina (a low-generation Ventrue if there ever was one) couldn’t use Dominate on him.

        • Landon permalink*
          January 15, 2010 9:02 PM

          We were talking about Ananasi not ten minutes before I got the email alerting me to this post. Malkavian Madness Network at play.

          I gave Mina the benefit of the doubt and threw her in with the Tzimisce, since Daddy Tepes was one as well, but she definitely “plays” like a Ventrue.

          And yeah, I got into the WoD around the same time I got into anime. I was lucky enough to have a store where they had racks of Vampire stuff and a wall full of anime tapes. It’s a natural combo for me.

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