Venus Versus Virus: The Complete Series
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After a lifetime of seeing ghosts, young Sumire is recruited by powerful Lucia to fight demons! The girls battle darkness as members of the Venus Vanguard, a group dedicated to ridding the world of its greatest threat – Virus. But as they discover why every life is worth saving, they also learn that they carry their own unlocked potential for evil. The Virus rages out of control, but Sumire and Lucia are prepared to give it the beating it truly deserves. Get ready – it’s time for your vaccination.
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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.
What a more descriptive description?
It involves two teenage girls, Sumire and Lucia. Lucia has a "gift", stated loosely, that makes her see "viruses". Said viruses are out to get her. Sumire acquires the ability too, but you won't learn how until the fifth episode or so.
Sumire meets a boy near the beginning of the anime and falls for him.
Enter trials, errors, cuteness, sadness, and action here.
I'm a big fan of the manga however the anime has little to do with it other then the basic plot and characters (even then, their personalities and character developments are different). The two end differently, in popular opposite ways, and they even begin differently. Only a few events are based off manga events.
The ending will leave you short and sad. I recommend this but only if you like the manga, or yuri, a lot. If not, check out the manga.
I also haven't read the manga, so maybe I remain ignorant; but evenso, I tend to enjoy my visual medium different than the written material, it leaves both to be special in their own right. So I could care less if the anime takes liberty on storytelling or changes up the characters. Crucify me. With that being said, even after the first episode, I was attracted to and very much sucked in by the quick character development and the mysteries that shrouded around certain personalities. I mean, come-on... an antique dealer (Lucia, a one woman Venus Vangaurd) storefront owner who takes on clients that see Virus-es (evil spirits - similar to xxxHolic) and runs a backroom where equipment is developed to fight off these corrupt souls?!? Sign me up.
And then the sweet character girl Sumire, who at times needs to turn beserk-er (Claymore anyone?) in order to further battle the attacking Virus? After being enthralled by such side characters as the cute soulless dolls in xxxHolic, and the battle drone soulless dolls of Murder Princess (another great 6 episode series), I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to Laura/Lola and her twin sister... another great pair of soulless twin dolls. Bonus. I also have no problem with the hard-shelled bad-arse protagonist of the show ending up with somewhat of a hidden human-soft-side. I thought the quality of animation was great, along with the recorded music and great colour palette used. There was also just the right amount of comedic and serious moments. The only downside to this short release?, simply wishing it was longer.
This story did not leave this viewer with a sense of ending. There should be a second season to bring the story to a conclusion. Maybe there will be, until then, the ending of this series is only available in the manga books. I have not seen the manga story so I can not be sure it has a conclusive ending.
The character development was very well-done, and all major characters were likable. Lucia is a badass, and has a dark past, while Sumire is kind-hearted and innocent. The pacing is well done (imo) and the story did not seem rushed, until the end that is. I also liked the art style a lot too. It was simple, yet elegant.
The music is this series is also a plus. The opening theme was done by Aki Hata, and the ending is performed by Yosei Teikoku, one of my all time favorite music groups. The soundtrack, while not very large, is quite good, and thanks to the shortness of the anime, the tracks did not get old. The dub is also decent, and all of the character's voices fit them perfectly.
The villains imo were really lame, but they did not have much back story to begin with, save for Lucith the main baddy who does not even appear until halfway through the anime. Also, the viruses which are the monsters in this anime look cliche and uninspired, but that might be just the anime, not the manga. The ending was rushed halfway to hell, which gave me a very mixed feeling about this anime when I finished. (It was clear that this anime had a low-budget though, which isn't necessarily a bad thing)
Overall: If you are into bad-ass girls that wield guns and kill demons, then this anime is a good watch. The characters are well-written, and the interactions between them are interesting to watch. The biggest downfall this anime has is it's ending but other than that all the other problems are minor. There was not really any yuri though, which I didn't care about in the first place.