That’s right. Today’s post is quite the treat! A never seen before review of the anime Vie Durant. And that sentence is no mistake: I have never seen this anime before, but I’m going to review it anyways.
So I was perusing through some anime on MyAnimeList for a different idea of mine, and I ended up in the vampire category. And that’s when I saw Vie Durant. I thought, “this anime looks awful, judging by the score”. I decided around then that I’d review the anime, but save myself the time of actually watching it. Best of both worlds right?
We have our cake and eat it too, here on the Umai Yomu Anime Blog.
So without having seen the anime, all I have to work with is the synopsis, two images, a single review, and a couple other small details. We should be able to make this work though. My plan is to use my abilities as Yomu the Prognosticator (further heightened by listning to anime music) to simulate the story in my mind, all 8 episodes. Then I’ll write the review. Easy enough.
I guess the real question here is how much I should spoil. I think it’s all right if I include some spoilers though, considering the anime’s low popularity. I’ll let you all know what I think compared to it’s current MAL rating of 4.9, because this may end up to be a hidden gem.
Here’s one of the only images I have for the anime. I hate the tall resolution of these, but I have no choice in this case. I just couldn’t get many good screencaps unfortunately.
I figure I’ll try and structure this review in a more standardized fashion.
The plot for Vie Durant was interesting. I’m going to go with a mix of both ambitious (which I often enjoy and look for), and convoluted (the natural enemy of ambitious anime). Without too many spoilers, the gist of it is that the world has been mostly submerged in water due to the ice at the Poles melting. This leads to a struggle for survival where people must live on top of the water in these giant floating cities. The problem is that these cities consume a lot of resources, namely food. Fresh water is also a problem.
Our main character, Glasses, and his friend Hairband are living in one of these cities, the floating city Galacius. Attending school with their friends – although you could hardly call it “school”, as it’s more like survival training and borderline torture as they teach children to go for as long as possible without food or drink. Humanity relied on cloning to survive, as females no longer existed in the world. The anime has a lot of interesting ideas and methods by which the human race is basically in this weird dystopian survival scenario.
Cue the vampies. Ei, the violinist, has a secret. Having lived for centuries, through all of the human conflict and the flooding of the world, Ei has something that no one else has. Ei is a vampire.
But apparently living for centuries is not enough to cause someone to grow up. Acting like the edgelord he is, Ei ran into Hairband in Galacius, on his way home from school. For some reason or another, Hairband has the type of blood that Ei wants. There are some yaoi undertones here, but then the anime completely forgets about them after their initial meeting. Which I was fine with, because it was pretty cringey.
Anyways, Hairband manages to escape Ei the first time, and his pursuit ends up leading to Glasses and friends finding out. Ei is forced into a situation where his vanity cannot resist the opportunity to spill the secret that he is a vampire. Our protagonist, Ei, and crew then get caught up in some serious underground stuff, due to the constant pursuit of Harris. Harris basically wants to take Ei’s vampirism and give it to the human race in order to keep them alive.
And that’s the basic plot. Pretty convoluted right? It’s both ambitious in trying to include all of these crazy sci-fi elements, but convoluted in trying to make this into one of those “vampire befriends humans” stories. Did it work? I’d say in the end the anime felt more like a generic story. Replace vampire with any other number of situations, and you have the general story for a group of people on the run from a more powerful enemy while learning dangerous secrets.
I guess the plot is all right. I’d say it’s below average, because it took an average plot and managed to implement it poorly.
Keeping in mind that the anime aired in 2003, I’ll say that the sound is disappointing.
First, the voice acting.
There are only two voice actors in the anime: Hiroki Takahashi, and Takehiro Koyasu. While both of these voice actors are talented, you could tell that they were just changing their voice a little for each of the characters. In a way I enjoyed this, because it was funny to listen to. But it gets old after the first few episodes.
Talented as they may be, the audio quality itself was an issue. When I consider that the crisp quality of the voice acting in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a much older anime, is better than Vie Durant – I know that the audio quality is an issue.
Second was the soundtrack. The opening, “Union of the Wolf”, is this weird mix of sci-fi sounds, rock, and our two VA’s singing. Again, the quality was below average.
The background music in general was a little off like this. The anime would play these loud rock segments during exposition, to the point where I was expecting something exciting to happen – but then the scene would just end. And when something exciting happened, the anime would play this weird UFO / alien sound on top of some old school sci-fi computer sounds. I’m not even sure you could call it music.
So yeah, the audio was a little off. Like the plot, below average. You could even argue that the audio was worse than that.
First and foremost, let’s talk about Glasses. Glasses is one of those protagonists that has a very stern face, the guy is ready to walk into a furnace if need be. And yet, he is constantly contradicting himself! In one scene, Glasses tells everyone he’s going to distract the guards – and then he proceeds to instead distract his friends with this long monologue of sorts. Or there was another time that he told Hairband to go with Ei, but then Glasses ends up going with Ei instead.
It’s not often I see a character like Glasses in anime. Contradictions like this, in a seemingly serious anime, seem like an oversight. Is being contradictory a serious quality that a character can have?
Next is Hairband. The guy really annoyed me, because he never wanted to make a decision. Whenever Hairband was on screen I just knew what was going to happen next – “Glasses, what now?”. Two dimensional, this character might as well have not been in the anime at all.
Harris was all right. His appearance sort of reminds me of Reinhard from Legend of the Galactic Heroes – blonde hair, while cloak. He was your typical villain though. Not creative at all. Easily outwitted due to his own impatience. Standard stuff.
Finally there is Ei. Ei is a total edgelord, and failure of a vampire. But I thought that was pretty comedic in it’s own way. So many situations where Ei has to go back for his violin, or gives himself away because he can’t resist the urge to play the violin. I know it’s supposed to be a serious anime, but Ei was consistent in being this edgy, funny character. Was it a good fit for the anime? In the end, probably not.
The other school friends didn’t even have names in the anime. The anime got around that by calling them generic terms like “guy” or “you over there”. Pretty sad really. You’d think they could think up some names at least.
Characters overall were well below average.
I’m not very good at describing animation, but Vie Durant was not very good in this area. I wish I could give you all just ONE thing that the anime did right, but I can’t. Sorry. The animation was very choppy – sort of like a video game with some serious lag issues. Sometimes there were several seconds before the image would change.
Well below average.
In conclusion, Vie Durant is an anime that took an average concept and tried to make it more interesting. In this process, it managed to just become more convoluted and superfluous. The anime is simply plagued with issues – lack of voice actors, bland characters, sloppy animation, and poor audio.
I’d actually say that the 4.9 rating on MAL is very fair.
I myself was arriving at a 4.5 rating.
Hope you enjoyed this never seen before review of Vie Durant! Let me know your thoughts on the anime, or if you’ve seen anything similar!
Until next time.
Thanks for reading!