Some anime titles are made up of such a bizarre set of traits that all it takes is a passing glance to recognize that there's no way this could have been created domestically. Venus Versus Virus is exactly one such title. Here we have a gun-shooting demon-buster teenage girl with teal hair and an eye patch charged with saving all of humanity from an evil virus outbreak. If this sounds a little strange to you, rest assured, things get even weirder once you're in. In the mean time, let's check out the specs shall we?
Released across two discs, Venus Versus Virus contains the complete series (12 episodes) and comes packaged in a single regular-sized dvd case. Total runtime comes in at 290 minutes and the show wears an appropriate if not slightly conservative TV 14 rating due presumably to the gun touting and semi violent themes presented. Graphic gore, nudity, and sexual themes are nonexistent here.
Extras come in the form of textless songs and a crop of upcoming Funimation title trailers on the second disc. Language options are typical sub and dub meaning the choice between running the original Japanese dialog or an English dubbed version and the option to show English subtitles over either track.
The story follows the exploits of the Venus Vanguard organization, or more specifically, the eye patch wearing goth-girl Lucia and her teenage recruit Sumire as they bust the bad guys with their pistols. Bad guys in this case refers to possessed critters and people who are basically carriers of an "evil" virus. Sumire, it turns out, has a unique ability in that the bullets our heroines use to kill these viruses have an effect on her as well. In addition to being one of few who can actually see the viruses for what they really are, when shot with an anti-virus slug, Sumire enters a berserker rage mode that allows her to whip some major demon buttocks. Still, despite this, she desires only to lead an ordinary life.
The problem is the stone-cold gothic business-woman Lucia isn't about to allow all of this talent to go wasted and hence recruits young Sumire into the Venus Vanguard sect to rid the world of demons everywhere.
The pacing is consistent if not entirely linear with some adequate flashback sequences peppered in the mix for good measure. Visuals too are passable but nothing worth getting too excited over. Of course, shows like this aren't purchased for visual flair but rather for their unique spin on what boils down to a character-driven drama. In that regard Venus Versus Virus is fair as well. If you notice a pattern forming here, it is perhaps that the VVV report card is loaded with average grades which, if you'll remember from school, doesn't get you grounded but doesn't exactly get you praised either.
The show relies upon a lot of character cliché to get its point across. Take Lucia for example, with an outwardly cold persona to hide the fact that inside she's warm and marshmallowy just like everyone else. Sumire is your average school girl who wants nothing more than to worry about boys, zits and going to the prom but happens to be both blessed and burdened by a unique ability that makes her invaluable to the struggle against evil. The evil in question is at times playful and has a little bit too much in common with the type of ghosts one would expect to find in a Disney-themed haunted house than the whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme the show seems to have been aiming for.
Dub work is pretty solid although clearly the ADV Films' English track remains on this Funimation release. I say this because generally speaking, Funimation's dubs are a cut above the rest. The soundtrack goes out of its way to use eerie tones and suspenseful melodies to remind viewers that this is supposed to be a little scarier than the bright visuals suggest.
In all, this is an interesting little series that makes the most out of what limited resources it was given. Since it is limited only to twelve episodes, the type of character development and all-inclusive closure episodes are never fully established. Instead the trip through is quite light and airy in its prose with just enough "chicks shooting guns" action to lighten up the whole gothic motif.