I first began collecting the Karin Series last year when it was released by Geneon after the third volume it was gone. Gone! and all the trades said it was gone for good! Off into a vast anime oblivion, discontinued due to a failed distribution company. Thankfully My Personal Heroes at Funimation Entertainment caught the rights to distribute Karin and other Geneon Niche titles to the US and Canada.
Well enough of the history lesson. This anime is truly a great piece of art, and No I don't believe I'm overstating it either. The Original Manga by Yuna Kagesaki differs somewhat from the anime namely the anime could not be an exact expression of Manga-ka Kagesaki's vision it had to be cut down to fit into a 25 episode series, and "work for TV". The Manga covers over 13 volumes of text and art. (avilable from Tokyopop under the title Chibi Vampire) originally published in "Monthly Dragon Magazine" and "Monthly Comic Dragon" in Japan. The animation was done by JC Staff known for fan-service, but, though evident, it is toned way down in the this series. The now defunct Odex of Singapore produced the English dub. The English version was written and directed at Odex by American voice artist and puppeteer. Mr. Paul Pistore. Who's script provided a very fluid dialect in English, which in my opinion captured the original writers intent fully. I have shared many e-mails with Mr. Pistore regarding his work on Karin and other more recent projects. The main cast besides Mr. Pistore consists of Ms. Chelsea Curto as Karin Marker, and Mr. Yahav Rom as Kenta Usui. Both are excellent matches for their respective characters, along with Mr. Pistore and the balance of the cast, well they should all be recognized for their work.
Karin is a very emotional story of unexpected love between classmates Kenta Usui, the new transfer student from the north with funny eyes, and Karin Marker, a popular, yet youthfully awkward child of immigrant parents who has lived her life in Japan as a native apparently since early childhood.
Here's one of the hooks, Karen is a vampire. Or rather her situation is being an outsider in her own family. Instead of sucking or rather drinking human blood Karin's body overproduces blood which she must either inject into a "victim" or she suffers painful and profuse nose bleeds, this qualifies her as an un-vampire.
"Look for a more friendly vampire myths in Karin, it's not the same old Dracula, Twilight, Forever Knight, Ann Rice, stuff. It's much more... Friendly, as I said, and Karinesque vampires are more like a subspecies of human than the usual 'undead bloodsucker myths' which we've all seen before." Considering this is a vampire title I was astounded to see the morality that each character shows. Kenta Usui dreams of working hard and being a good citizen and a family man. Karin also works hard like Kenta is genuinely a moral person, her family, though vampire is a traditional nuclear family, and despite family disputes they all appear in their own way to love and support Karin. There really are no villains, only people with different perspectives.
One interesting thing is that Kenta is not bound to Karin by some spell, curse, transdimentional warp, Renfield like devotion, or any other anime cliché' devise, as I would have expected. His bond to Karin Grows out of his and her personalities, and his desire to be friendly and a good man. Karin's situation is a little more complex. She feels uneasy near Kenta and has nose bleeds, she cheers herself, and himself up by making him a bento lunch, daily! As time goes by, boy and girl together, well you know.
I think Love would have come to the couple sooner if they weren't constantly interrupted by, Vampire hunters, classmates, and Karin's family attempting to stop their budding relationship.
This anime is also very much about acceptance. When Kenta finds out about Karin's vampire heritage, he does not freak out, he accepts her as she is. Later Karin's friends find out her secret and they accept her. Even the supposed villains accept her, and eventually Karin's family accepts Kenta, except for her father Henry Marker (voiced by Paul Pistore) who is stereotypically overprotective of his teenage daughter.
I think of this series and it makes me smile. It works as a shonen and as a shojo title. It's so darn emotional and downright sweet, you'll have to brush your teeth/fangs after-wards, or you'll get cavities.
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