Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi
Episodes: 24 episodes
Notes: Creator Sunao Yoshida died before the anime was finished. The anime is based on his novels.
The Vatican exists in an uneasy alliance with the Methuselah (a.k.a. Vampires) Empire who have taken over the earth. Abel Nightroad is a priest from the Vatican who can transform into a Crusnik (vampire who feeds on other vampires). Will he be able to stop rebel vampire factions from destroying the peace?
The animation is excellent, very smooth and detailed backgrounds, good integration of CGI, but the character designs are just average. No one particularly stood out, but they were all easily distinguishable. The Vatican clothing looked appropriately uncomfortably awkward, but considering the duty of the priests is to hunt “vampires” they should be wearing something more flexible. The musical score was also quite good as were the distinctive voices. Basically the animation and music are the strongest aspects.
Mix Trigun and Hellsing together unsuccessfully and this series is what you get. Abel, the main character, has the goofiness and pacifism and tragic past of Vash, but not the coolness or depth. Like Alucard he transforms into a deadly being to kill vampires, but his transformation looks silly rather than cool or scary. Other obvious parallels include Cardinal Caterina Sforza who takes Integra’s role of the cold woman in charge.
This anime is basically a sci-fi vampire series with futuristic and religious elements. The Empire and the Vatican have an uneasy alliance that is being threatened by a rogue vampire group, the Rosenkreuz Orden, who believe that vampires are superior and should rule the world.
Although it is not that clear in the series, the Methuselah were originally human colonists from Mars that were infected by a virus that cause them to feed on human blood. They returned to Earth and ended up ruling most of it. Some of the Methuselah genuinely want to help humans, while others feel their natural superiority (strength, life-span, etc.) grants them the right to rule over them.
The biggest problem is the characters are not interesting and not well developed. There is a fairly large cast of characters including a number of AX Agents (Abel's group), the Department of Inquisition (an opposing group within the Vatican), the Vatican officials, the Methuselan and the Rosenkreuz Orden. Other characters in addition to Priest Abel Nightroad and Cardinal Caterina Sforza are Esther, a young nun saved by Abel in the beginning of the story, and Ion Fortuna, a vampire ambassador. Esther and Ion do have a few good moments of character development, but still rather standard fare. The action scenes were mediocre, and Abel’s transformations were repetitive and looked ridiculous. The plot is pretty standard with a few simple twists.
If you can get past some of the absurd filler (one based on Peter Pan!) the story gets more interesting as various groups plot against each other. Watch the first few episodes and then skip to episode 10. Rated PG-13 for violence. Recommended for hardcore vampire fans.