REVIEW: ‘Vampire in the Garden’ Delivers A Heartbreaking Post-Apocalypse

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Vampire in the Garden Season 1 - But Why Tho

Vampire in the Garden is a post-apocalyptic fantasy/drama Netflix anime series produced by WIT Studio. In a frozen future, Humans and Vampires are locked in an eternal battle with each other. But when the young human Momo flees Central City and runs headlong into the Vampire Queen Fine (pronounced Feenay), the two are soon searching for a place where they can be allowed to live free of the perpetual cycles of violence that are fueled by both their races.

Many of us have heard the old adage, “There’s more to living than being alive.” When the world devolves into nothing more than living for one more day, no matter the cost, does that count as living? When every luxury, even that of a simple song or a momentary dance is taken away, is there anything left to fight for? In Momo’s eyes, the answer would be no. And when her mother smashes a music box the girl has managed to smuggle into Central City, Momo decides she can take no more of the cold, hard existence she has led up to this point and flees the only place she’s ever known. Not with any hope of finding anything better. Rather, she just knows she can’t take what is there anymore.

Over the five episodes that make up Vampire in the Garden, the story weaves a delicate narrative of searching for hope, even when every indicator shows there is none left to find. Blending the literal and figurative coldness of the world they live in with the warmth Momo and Fine come to share and this series crafts a memorable beautiful sadness that is sure to leave an impact. While Momo flees from a cold and heartless home, Fine’s reasons for flight are far more complicated and serve as the best example of one of the series’ strongest elements: how much it does with the little time it has.

With a total run time of roughly two hours, Vampire in the Garden feels more like a movie than a tv show. This feeling is enhanced by the absence of any form of opening credits in each episode. Due to its short run time, the show relies on excellently crafted montages to keep the story moving. However, these montages do a lot of work. Not only do they provide speed to the narrative, but they are also used in a way that helps build up the personality and relationship of Momo and Fine. I often struggle with movies that have two people go from strangers to risking death for each other in two hours, but this series sells me on the time and growth the two experience together fabulously.

Around the leading protagonists are several key individuals and their supporting factions that are hellbent on taking the duo back to where they say they belong. The methods and motivations of these characters range from genuine concern to cold-hearted manipulation, but Vampire in the Garden manages to make each feel authentic. The exploration of these characters and their motives is spread out throughout the series. This keeps the early scenes from getting bogged down in back story, while also allowing the viewer to pass their judgments on some of the cast before having their full motives revealed.

Despite plenty of action, danger, and full-blown battle sequences in Vampire in the Garden, the series never feels exciting. Rather, the music and visual design do a great job of never losing sight of the tragedy and pain the world is constantly going through. Even when antagonists get what’s coming to them, there is no feeling of celebration or triumph. Rather, the series clings to the waste that such choices and lives inevitably leave in their wake.

Beyond delivering on the series’ somber sides, the visual presentation also does a fantastic job of delivering the moments of warmth and love that are found in the story. While far rarer than the moments of pain and struggle, WIT Studio does a great job of making sure they shine just as brightly as they can. These moments of laughter and joy reaffirm why Momo and Fine can keep pressing on. Even when the whole world is conspiring to stop them.

So, if you are looking for a dramatic tale of desperate hope struggling to survive in a world grown cold, Vampire in the Garden should deliver everything you are looking for. Despite its short run time, it crafts fully realized characters and tells a tale that is well worth experiencing.

Vampire in the Garden is streaming now on Netflix.


Vampire in the Garden Season 1
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

If you are looking for a dramatic tale of desperate hope struggling to survive in a world grown cold, Vampire in the Garden should deliver everything you are looking for. Despite its short run time, it crafts fully realized characters and tells a tale that is well worth experiencing.