Vampire Princess Miyu
|Vampire Princess Miyu|
Japanese cover of the first volume of Shin Vampire Miyu featuring Miyu.
|Written by||Narumi Kakinouchi
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Original run||1988 – 2002|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Toshiki Hirano|
|Released||21 July 1988 – 21 April 1989|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Toshiki Hirano|
|Music by||Kenji Kawai|
|Original run||6 October 1997 – 30 March 1998|
Vampire Princess Miyu (Japanese: 吸血姫 美夕 Hepburn: Vanpaia Miyu?) is a Japanese horror manga series by Narumi Kakinouchi and Toshiki Hirano, as well as an anime adaptation by the same creators. The anime was originally presented in a 4-episode OVA (Original Video Animation) licenced by AnimEigo in 1988, and was later adapted into a 26-episode television series licensed by Tokyopop (later by Maiden Japan) and released in 1997.
Its central characters are a vampire girl named Miyu and her demonic companion Larva. Miyu is the daughter of both a human and a shinma (god-demon) and as such she was awakened as the guardian whose destiny is to hunt down all stray shinma and send them back to the darkness.
Most locations in the series are evocative of traditional Japan.
- Miyu (美夕?)
- Miyu (OVA) Voiced by: Naoko Watanabe, Pamela Wiedner (English, AnimEigo dub), Anne Marie Zola (English, Manga UK dub)
- Miyu (anime) Voiced by: Miki Nagasawa, Kimberly J. Brown (English, ep 1–7), Dorothy Elias-Fahn (English, ep 8–26)
- A beautiful girl who appears to be around 13 (in the OVA) or 15 (in later volumes of the manga) years old but in fact is much older, being a vampire. In Japanese, "Miyu" means "beauty of the evening", "beautiful evening" or "evening beauty". She can teleport, levitate, open dimensional portals, and use fire attacks (which also come in handy when sending a Shinma to "The Darkness"). When in her vampire appearance, Miyu is always barefoot (though her right foot has a ribbon-like wrapping around it) even in the snow. In the OVA, she is the child of a human father and a vampire mother in post–World War II Japan. In the TV series, on the other hand, her mother is human and her father is a Shinma guardian in pre-World War II Empire of Japan. In both cases, Miyu becomes the Guardian (also referred to as the "Watcher") after losing her parents. In the OVA, Miyu is depicted as child-like, manipulative and playful, and very flamboyant in talking, especially when having a conversation with Himiko, while the TV series' Miyu is more reserved, straightforward and composed. Even though she is a vampire, Miyu is not harmed by sunlight, holy water or crucifixes, and her reflection can be seen (this may be an effect of the fact she is not truly undead and her shinma parent is not like western vampires either). This is because she is technically a Daywalker having one human parent and one vampire. She needs to drink blood to survive and she chooses her 'victims' carefully since she apparently cannot take blood from others unless they actually give it to her willingly. So, Miyu picks people whom she believes to be "lovely" (either in looks or personality) who have usually suffered a tragic loss, and offers them their greatest wish – to be with their lost loved ones, at least in their dreams – in exchange for their blood. These people live in an endless dream state (which she calls "being in happiness" in the OVA). Miyu is protective of Larva and has great concern for him. In the TV series, when posing as a human, she goes by the name Miyu Yamano (山野 美夕 Yamano Miyu?). In the OVA, she is seen to wear different clothes in every episode she appears in. For example in the first OVA, she wears her typical short kimono that is familiarized by all fans. In the second OVA, she wears a uniform during her stay at school and wears a bright red yukata when speaking to Himiko and confronting Ranka. In the third OVA, she wears a winter kimono, which seems to cover her body more than the other two garments. Finally in the fourth OVA, she wears a very heavy black kimono and also wears a mask. However in the TV series, she only wears two types of clothing: the typical uniform and the kimono known by all fans and that is shown on box covers.
- Larva (ラヴァ Rava?)
- Larva (OVA) Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa (Japanese), Zach Hanner (English)
- Larva (anime) Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (Japanese), Ryan Alosio (English)
- A Shinma from the western world. In the OVA, Larva comes to prevent Miyu's vampire blood from awakening and kill her, but he inadvertently triggers it and she drinks his blood when he drops his guard. As a result of this failure, Larva's face and voice are sealed behind a mask for all eternity. In the TV series, Larva faces Miyu after she has become the Guardian. After he has struck her down, she drinks his blood. In both cases, Larva starts out as an unwilling ally, but later pledges to be by Miyu's side because he can sense her sorrow, something he was able to glimpse at during both blood-bond scenes. Larva can use his nails to slash things and (in the TV series) he can also wield a scythe. He is very powerful, as he is seen to win against every shinma without getting mortally wounded. In addition to this, in the TV series and the manga, he is able to access Miyu's flame powers, but does so rarely (so he says) as it reminds him of his greatest defeat. Unlike in the OVA, in the TV series and Manga, Larva can speak and will occasionally remove his mask. The name "Larva" is taken from Roman mythology, which like "Lemures" refers to a restless spirit of the dead. Many of the Western Shinma appearing in the second manga series also follow a naming convention drawn from various European demons and spirits. Larva's name and signature mask may also have been inspired from the white, ghostly Venetian Carnival mask "Larva," also called "Volto." In Volume 1 of the TV series, Larva was called Lava in the English dub and subtitles. The following volumes referred to him as Larva.
- Shinmas are god-demons that take advantage of human souls for their own gain. Escaping from a dark world, they hide in the human world and Miyu seeks to return them to it.
- Himiko Se (瀬 一三子 Se Himiko?)
- Voiced by: Mami Koyama (Japanese), Stephanie Griffin (English)
- She is a beautiful, cynical spiritualist who encounters Miyu during a job. Their paths cross throughout the series as Himiko searches for her, convinced at first that she is just a monster without any redeeming qualities, but later coming to know more about her and Larva. At the end of the OVA, Himiko is shocked as she remembers meeting Miyu when she was a child. Equally shocking is the implication that Himiko herself may have vampiric characteristics from that same encounter with Miyu, which have yet to manifest; apparently, Himiko is the first human who exchanged blood with Miyu, right after she became the Guardian.
- Miyahito (都人?)
- Voiced by: Katsumi Toriumi (Japanese), Shaun O'Rourke (English)
- Appearing in Episode 1, Unearthly Kyoto, he is a handsome Kyoto youth whose girlfriend, Ryouko, was murdered by a "vampire" in front of him. Miyahito, upon being unable to protect Ryouko, heavily blames himself and tells Himiko that he wants to kill the "vampire", not knowing that it is a Shinma. He is ultimately so crushed under his grief that he later accepts Miyu's offer to exchange their bloods, and Himiko is a witness of this. During the end of the episode Miyahito is seen in a catatonic state, his mind in a sort of dream-world; Miyu, disguised as a schoolgirl, tells a group of girls to not worry for him, since he's "living in happiness".
- Ranka (爛火?)
- Voiced by: Mayumi Shou (Japanese), Belinda Bizic (English)
- Appearing in Episode 2, A Banquet of Marionettes, she is a shinma who places the essences of her victims into life-size dolls. She fell in love with a very handsome school boy named Kei, who Miyu was also interested in. Kei wishes to be with Ranka even after she used him, since he gave himself to Ranka voluntarily and she came to fall in love with him as well, and Miyu is forced to banish them both after Ranka transforms Kei into a creature like herself at his own request. Ranka is portrayed as an ally of Miyu in the Manga, however. She is one of the shinma of the second tier, and is quite powerful, as seen in the fifth volume where she tears the quarls apart with her light strings that she uses to control her dolls.
- Lemures (レムレス Remuresu?)
- Voiced by: Yūji Mitsuya (Japanese), Chad Carlberg (English)
- Appearing in Episode 3, Fragile Armor, he is an old friend of Larva who sought to release him from Miyu. He uses magic as well as a human-turned-into-Shinma whose soul is trapped inside of a gigantic samurai armor, managing to seal Larva inside of a wall. Miyu believed that Lemures wanted to target her to become leader of the Shinma, so with Himiko's help she faced him. However Larva broke Lemures's spell when Miyu was injured by Lemures's puppet Shinma, then he stayed true to Miyu. Instead of banishing Lemures to "The Darkness," Miyu killed him with fire as a punishment for harming Larva.
- Shiina (死無?)
- Voiced by: Mika Kanai (Japanese), Francesca Catalano (English)
- A Shinma who looks like a cute pink bunny and is an ally of Miyu. Her name means "undead", being a shinto character, the guardian of the dead. She shares a trait with all animal Shinma of having one regular eye and one yellow one. Her right ear covers her bulging, bloodshot yellow eye which enables her to see great distances and dispel illusions.
- Reiha (冷羽?)
- Voiced by: Megumi Ogata (Japanese), Wendee Lee (English)
- A child-like Yuki-onna (female spirit of snow), her name means "cold feather". She carries on her forehead the first kanji of her name, meaning "cold". Her powers including floating, teleportation, and manipulating wind and snow. Reiha's father was the head of a group of shinma protectors whose task was to ensure that a guardian (in this case, Miyu) would emerge during the Taishō period. When Reiha's father was struck down by the Bird Shinma, Black Kite, he called out Miyu's name instead of Reiha's before he died. Reiha has never forgiven Miyu for this. After the death of her father, she discovered her ice powers upon encountering a feasting shinma. From that day, she's been Miyu's rival who seeks to destroy shinma, believing Miyu is not fit to do the job. She is less sympathetic than Miyu, and is known to kill innocents who get in her way of destroying shinma. At some point, Reiha ended up freezing the city which led to a final confrontation with Miyu. After Matsukaze's sacrifice, Reiha unleashed a blizzard that was overwhelming Miyu before Larva broke free and beheaded Reiha. Her body picked up her head and left to go look for herself and vowing to return to defeat Miyu someday.
- Matsukaze (松風?)
- Voiced by: Megumi Ogata (Japanese), Mona Marshall (English)
- Reiha's talking doll companion. His name means "wind of the pines", which in Japan represents an unshakable force, fidelity, conjugal love. He doesn't hide his contempt for Miyu. He is in a sense Reiha's surrogate father into which she has projected all her hostility and anger towards Miyu. In the final confrontation, Matsukaze used his ice abilities to trap Larva in an ice barrier so Reiha could fight Miyu. He later sacrificed himself to protect Reiha from Miyu's flame attack.
- Chisato Inoue (井上 千里 Inoue Chisato?)
- Voiced by: Asa Shirakura (Japanese), Anjuli Cain (English)
- One of three school girls who befriend Miyu during her trials. Her name means "close friend" indicating her strong relationship with Miyu. Early on in Episode 2, she buys two keychain charms as tokens of friendship for Miyu and herself. Near the end of the series, it is revealed that Chisato is in fact the strongest Shinma, whose purpose is to destroy Miyu. Chisato is actually a member of a clan of Bird Shinma, and was specially engineered to get close to the Watcher without minimal detection. The charm additionally helps by masking her "Shinma" scent. During the fight, she uses a weapon that was left for her by her brother. During the final fight, Miyu managed to grab Chisato's leg as Chisato is beheaded by Larva. Miyu then takes her head back to The Darkness.
- Yukari Kashima (鹿島 由加里 Kashima Yukari?)
- Voiced by: Chiharu Tezuka (Japanese), Stephanie Denise Griffin (English)
- Miyu and Chisato's slightly tomboyish classmate. She is very straightforward, and is protective of Hisae and Chisato. She is killed by Chisato near the end of the series shortly after she and Hisae discover Miyu's true nature.
- Hisae Aoki (青木 久恵 Aoki Hisae?)
- Voiced by: Kokoro Shindou (Japanese), Emmanuelle Chriqui (English)
- Miyu and Chisato's bookworm classmate. Shy and intelligent, she senses from the beginning that there is something odd about Miyu and takes steps to investigate. Unfortunately, her discoveries lead to her death as she and Yukari come in contact with Miyu shortly after dealing with a shinma. Hisae is murdered by Chisato with the weapon given to her by her brother.
- Yuma Koizumi
- Introduced as a main plotline character in Manga volume 4, she was a human who fell in love with a shinma, whom Miyu not long after returned to the darkness. She later teamed up with other shinma, friends of her "love" and tried many times to kill Miyu in revenge (only in manga). She returns in the last few chapters of the first manga series. It is revealed that Yuma spent the rest of her life pursuing Miyu and find a way to destroy her. During her travels, she comes across several other characters Miyu has drank from in earlier chapters.
- Yui is the daughter of human and a Shi (another type of demon, also described as anti-shinma in some English translations). She is also part vampire as Miyu's blood runs in her veins as Miyu fed on her mother while pregnant with Yui. Like Miyu in her vampire form, Yui wears a short kimono and is always barefoot. Miyu describes Yui as both her sister, her daughter, and herself. Yui has long dark hair and looks to be about twelve or thirteen years old. Outside of her being the star of her own spin-off manga, Yui was drawn to Miyu's realm as part of a plan to resurrect Miyu. Yui's personality is much more shy and timid than Miyu's and she is still largely naive about the world at large. Yui's weapon of choice are cherry blossoms which she can bend to her will in a variety of ways. She passes this power to Miyu upon giving up her own blood for Miyu's resurrection.
- Nagi is a Shinma is a protector of Yui and also cares deeply for her. Like every other Japanese Shinma, he is quite powerful where he can fight as an equal against the Quarl. Nagi is very hot headed, but is a faithful companion allowing Yui to feed on him as she refuses to feed on humans.
Spread out over ten volumes, this series storywise falls somewhere between the OAV and the television series. In this version, Ranka is the helpful second tier shinma, but Reiha is largely the same. Most volumes include several stand alone stories regarding Miyu hunting and locating stray Shinma. However, there are several chapters in various volumes relating to the western shinma. In this version it is Lemures who was Larva's companion previous to him coming to Japan. There is also Carlua, who is the daughter of Larva's adoptive uncle, Pazusu. Carlua is deeply in love with Larva (as is Lemures) but both fail in their attempts to "rescue" him from Miyu. These result in Lemures being banished to the darkness and Carlua being repelled, and her little sister Lilith being incinerated by Miyu. Additionally, there is a human girl named Yuma Koizumi who is introduced in volume 4 who becomes a return antagonist. As a school girl, Yuma was loved and marked by a shinma named Tsubaki. Tsubaki belongs to a clan of shinma called "Muma". When he starts to be hunted, Tsubaki is surprisingly accepting, although sad; at the fact he will be parted from Yuma. However, when Miyu returns him to the dark, Yuma vows vengeance. With the help of Tsubaki's companions, Yuma attempts to kill Miyu, knowing Miyu would have difficultly attacking a human foe. The attack ultimately does not succeed and Yuma is left to her misery as Miyu refuses to feed from her (partially out of spite, and out of respect to Tsubaki). In volume 10, it is discovered the Yuma spent the rest of her life pursuing Miyu and her mystery, but is never able to kill her. In the end, Miyu visits Yuma on her death bed, finally drinking her blood.
The manga was licensed for a US release by Studio Ironcat, however, the company went out of business before the series was completed.
New Vampire Princess Miyu
- titled 新・吸血姫美夕 (Shin Kyūketsu Hime Miyu) with "Shin" meaning "new"
This series is encompassed in five volumes and covers the actual events that Miyu is given a glimpse of at the end of volume 10 of the original series. The Western Shinma, led by Pazusu, and supported by Carlua (his daughter), Lemunia (Lemures' younger brother), and a powerful young shinma called Cait Sith. The Western Shinma succeed in kidnapping Larva, purging Miyu's blood from him, and sealing his memory of his time with her. This results in a showdown where Larva kills Miyu, although he is not entirely certain why he feels bothered by this. In actuality, Miyu is not quite dead, as her spirit survives through her blood that was passed from Yui's mom into Yui in utero (see Vampire Princess Yui below). Yui is then drawn to Miyu's realm to help her be reborn. In the meantime it's discovered that the "rescue mission" was all a ploy by Cait Sith to reach Japan and retrieve a short sword in which his mother's spirit is sealed. It is revealed not only was his mother sealed by the Watcher before Miyu, Cait Sith (both are members of a nearly extinct clan called the Quarl) was actually responsible for putting the idea of challenging the Eastern Shinma into Lemures' and Larva's heads originally. As Cait Sith succeeds in resurrecting the queen (though not without a catch and mortally wounding Pazusu), the race is on to get Yui safely to the spot of Miyu's rebirth. With the help of the second tier eastern shinma, and Lemunia she succeeds and Miyu is brought back to life. After unsealing Larva's memories and reestablishing the blood bond, Miyu and the remaining Western Shinma join forces to defeat the Quarl, and destroy the Queen. Afterward, Pazusu asks Larva to kill him so he doesn't die of his wounds and Carlua makes one last attempt to wrest Larva away from Miyu by threatening to kill him, but Miyu calls her bluff and Carlua retreats, thanks to the newly freed Lemures. He explains as they leave that during Miyu's time dead; many stray shinma (including himself) took advantage of her absence to escape the darkness once more. The series ends with Miyu and Larva heading off to start rounding these escapees up again.
This series was also licensed by Studio Ironcat for an English-language release, but the company went out of business before the series was completed.
Vampire Princess Yui
Yui is the daughter of human and a Shi (another type of demon, also described as anti-shinma in some English translations). She is also part vampire as Miyu's blood runs in her veins, as Miyu fed on her mother while pregnant with Yui. Miyu describes Yui as both her sister, her daughter, and herself. Yui has long dark hair, and looks to be about twelve or thirteen years old. Like Miyu, Yui has a tragic past and friends she had to abandon upon her awakening. Yui has the additional issue of being both hunted and supported by rival factions of Shi, who do not approve of her existence. Also like Miyu, Yui also has a blood bonded protector, a younger shinma named Nagi. Yui's personality is much more shy and timid than Miyu's, and she is still largely naive about the world at large. Nagi is very hot headed, but is a faithful companion, allowing Yui to feed on him as she refuses to feed on humans. Yui's weapon of choice are cherry blossoms, which she can bend to her will in a variety of ways. She passes this power to Miyu upon giving up her own blood for Miyu's rebirth.
AnimEigo originally released the OVA series on two VHS tapes with separate editions containing English audio and English subtitles, each containing a sheet of liner notes related to the series. The liner notes were eventually redone for the DVD release and included in Volume 1. The Volume 2 DVD contains a card with a humorously worded message stating that the complete liner notes are available in the first volume, and that if some form of insert weren't included in the second, consumers would undoubtedly start complaining. In the UK, the series was licensed by Manga UK, who produced an alternate English dub for VHS in the UK (this dub was also shown on the British Sci-Fi Channel). However, AnimEigo's dub was used for the UK DVD release.
Tokyopop originally released the TV series to VHS and DVD in 2001–2002. The first DVD volume of their release of the is notable for only retaining the opening for episode 1 and end credits for episode 3. This practice, which was fairly common in the VHS era of anime releases, apparently received a significant amount of criticism as the remaining five DVDs were released with all episodes featuring the opening and ending credit sequences.
ANN also praised Vampire Princess Miyu OVA for its "Dark, surreal tour of the occult", while it criticizes the dub, saying "the casting was off-center". Overall, the English dub was given a C- and the sub was given an A-.
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