I stacked the odds a bit against myself here. After the unique results of my previous pick, having another what I thought was another shojo adaptation wasn’t the greatest choice. Yet, Vampire in Love was exactly that. A cheesy pre-teen so mild it should’ve been a Disney Channel original movie, is just what I needed.
Vampire in Love is the story of Kiira (Kiritani Mirei) and Tetsu (Totsuka Shota). Kiira was raised in isolation, being that she is the daughter of two vampires one of Japanese and the other of Taiwanese descent. She briefly escapes her happy captivity, and meets Tetsu who she sneaks out to play with everyday until tragedy strikes and they are separated. Eight years later, having moved from Taiwan to Japan, the duo are reunited. But can a baker and a musician really make it work, especially with Kiira’s secret?
I mean… the G rating and premise really tells you a lot. It’s a cheesy preteen romance movie. There’s a bit of melodrama thrown in there for good measure mostly due to the vampiric elements, but it’s nothing that will weigh on you too much. This is coupled with most of the characters being not much more then walking troupes, but it’s all in good fun. There’s one curve ball at the end, but even that is solved with the power of ~love~ of course. It’s a light watch and not much more then that.
What’s more interesting is how the story is surprisingly international. While our protagonists are both Japanese, a lot of the secondary characters are not. Mika is played by Summer Meng (Taiwainese), Mika’s romantic interest Mike is played Choi Jin Hyuk (Korean), and major antagonist of the series Derek is played by Ekin Cheng (Hong Konger). I was genuinely surprised to hear the opening done in Mandarin, and for Kiritani Mirei to later speak it. While co-productions are nothing new, this was a fun change of pace from the largely Japan-only films I’ve picked.
In terms of acting there was not much to be desired here. Everyone did well enough, but it was a bit under developed at times. Totsuka Shota was a bit underwhelming as a lead, at least when he wasn’t singing. It’s not a surprise that this was his first leading role in film. If anything, this is a film you watch for Kiritani Mirei as Kiira. She positively carries this film in all aspects. And at this point, it just reminded me how much I miss seeing her on screen since she’s unofficially suspended her activities after having her son.
Regarding other elements, the movie knew to keep it moving so the pace was pretty snappy. The director’s choices kept the scenes simple, but effective. The locations, between Yokohama, Japan and Taiwan, Vampire in Love looks positively lovely.
Overall, Vampire in Love is something I would put on if I was still a babysitter. It’s cute, sweet, has just a bit melodrama to keep it interesting. Not for everyone, but something to consider if you need to cleanse your mental palette.