I still remember searching for upcoming anime a few months ago and being interested by the description for Vampire in the Garden.
Developed by Wit Studio, released on Netflix and directed by Ryōtarō Makihara, the story is set in a winter wasteland where vampires and humans have been at war for an unknown period of time.
Some of the remaining remnants of humanity have fled to a city, protected by a tower that generates UV Light to ward off the vampires.
Living inside this city is a young girl named Momo (Megumi Han), the daughter of one of the city’s generals.
She is tired of the fighting and wants to learn music, something which was outlawed because of its connection to the vampires.
Then, during an attack on the city, Momo has a chance encounter with the Vampire Queen Fine (Yu Kobayashi), someone who is also tired of the fighting and treasures music.
Together, the two decide to try and find a supposed paradise where humans and vampires live in harmony and make music together.
This premise intrigued me when I first read it and I decided to give the anime a shot, thinking that it would probably have a similar episode count to Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, another anime that Wit Studio produced which I loved.
So, I was quite surprised when I saw that there were only five episodes released by Netflix.
At first, I thought it must be some kind of error and that Netflix would release the other episodes once they realized the mistake.
But, no, Vampire in the Garden really is only five episodes long and this is its biggest fault.
Now, I still really enjoyed my time with this anime but I feel like it had the potential for so much more, if only it had been given more episodes.
There are just too many characters and ideas here for the vision of this anime to be fully realized in such a short amount of time.
That said, I do think that Vampire in the Garden did the best it could have done with only five episodes, which is a testament to the writing quality.
For one thing, I liked all of the characters in this anime.
Momo and Fine’s growing bond is interesting throughout, I quite enjoyed the resolution to Momo’s relationship with her mother (Rika Fukami), and the vague way that the anime filled in the backstory of Kubo (Hiroki Toshi), giving us just enough information to put the pieces together, felt like the writers were respecting the audience.
Another feature of the anime I have to give props to is the world building.
Momo and Fine visit various different kinds of communities, all of which have different ways that humans and vampires interact with each other, which are interesting to compare.
The animation and music are also quite good, something to be expected of an anime made by Wit Studio.
I will also admit that, despite me being critical of there only being five episodes, this short run time does mean you can finish Vampire in the Garden rather quickly, as if it were a movie rather than a show, so that is an advantage it has.
As for other criticisms, there are a few moments in the anime that broke my suspension of disbelief temporarily by being too convenient or having a character survive something that should have been impossible to.
Also, I did find the story to be a bit predictable at times, especially with one character’s ending, although it being predictable did not make it bad.
These are just minor criticisms.
The only major one I have is, again, the episode count.
The anime had the potential to be fantastic but the short runtime limits it.
I’m actually hoping we get a manga adaptation at some point because that could extend the story, thus expanding upon the characters, world and themes, allowing Vampire in the Garden to reach its potential.
As it stands, though, I would still recommend the show.
It’s a short watch and delivers some pretty interesting character work and world building.