published in Empire No.78, Sydney
A TV series remake of the original 1992 OVA, Vampire Princess Miyu is a rewarding view as an initial encounter with one of anime’s most famous pre-Gothic heroines. Drawn from the rich literature which charts and navigates the spiritual underworld of the Japanese psyche, Vampire Princess Miyu follows Miyu as she lives in the human realm and interacts with demonic humans and humane demons. Eschewing the binary of good-versus-evil, Miyu is born of a cultural dimension where such issues are never perceived in black-and-white terms. p> Miyu’s main task is to seek out Shinma: malevolent spirits who have crossed over and gravitate toward people’s negative aura. The ‘evil’ shinma are essentially forces who have upset the balance between human and spirit worlds, and Miyu summons up her elemental energy (fire) to exorcise the humans and return the exploitative spirits to their rightful place. Sometimes the possessed human dies; sometimes he or she lives. Other times, Miyu demonstrates a cold care for holistic balance by biting their necks so as to assign the human to a peaceful eternity. These moments are the highpoints of the series in their grasp of atonement, anguish and peace. Far from the Gothic tradition of bloodlust, Vampire Princess Miyu resembles an Eastern spiritual poem.