Netflix’s Newest Vampire Anime Proves Twilight’s Biggest Criticism Wrong

Netflix's Vampire in the Garden is another vampire story centered around emotional conflict, but here's how it avoids the same pitfalls as Twilight.

Vampire in the Garden is an anime on Netflix that proves one of the biggest criticisms of Twilight wrong. With Vampire in the Garden having a fictional, wartime, Russia-like setting and Twilight being largely set in modern day, the two stories don’t have a lot of similarties beyond both of them involving vampires. There is, however, overlap between their themes and the way vampires are used in the stories, and this allows for one major criticism of Twilight to be rectified in Vampire in the Garden.

Both during and after the height of its popularity, Twilight received a wide variety of criticism, especially for its writing and its handling of the various romances. But the part of Twilight that has probably received the most mockery is its portrayal of vampires. Unlike many vampire stories before and after it, the vampires in Twilight, even the villainous ones, aren’t horrific monsters; they look and behave just like regular people for the most part. This causes the story to have few gruesome moments and to be focused more on the drama of humans and vampires trying to co-exist. This was commonly cited as a weak angle to go for with a vampire story, especially when it was mostly tied to Bella and Edward’s relationship.

While Twilight’s portrayal of vampires was criticized, Vampire in the Garden proves it’s possible to pull off the same idea entertainingly. Like Twilight, Vampire in the Garden is a story centered around a human and a vampire trying to cohabitate together in peace: Momo Nobarashi (voiced by Hunter X Hunter’s Megumi Han), the daughter of the human army’s general, and Fine, the queen of the vampires. Their lives are constantly upended by people who either object to humans and vampires co-existing or to their specific relationship (it should be noted that Momo and Fine aren’t explicitly stated to be attracted to each other like Bella and Edward, but the show heavily implies it throughout the entirety of its run). Vampire in the Garden is another vampire story focused on human drama, but it’s also filled with scenes of violence and gore from both humans and vampires. This shows that it is, in fact, possible to have a vampire story centered around emotional conflicts while still including the horrific elements commonly associated with the genre.

What also helps Vampire in the Garden’s case is how a lot of the Netflix anime’s darker elements don’t specifically relate to vampires. While the vampires killing people does result in some horrific moments, there are also scenes of realistic horror such as starvation, mob violence, propaganda, and torture. Even the people who want to keep Momo and Fine apart are doing so less because they’re at war and more because of personal reasons. For example, the vampires need to use Fine for their political needs. And Momo’s uncle, Kubo, simply can’t accept the idea of a human and vampire being together after his own failed union. Much of the drama and hardships in the show come with a degree of realism, and that goes a long way toward selling the horror elements.

Like the less-deadly The Twilight Saga, Vampire in the Garden is centered around the emotional conflict of a human and vampire relationship, but it does so in a different way. The gruesome horror staples of the vampire genre, which were largely absent from Twilight, are on full display in the anime. Plus, elements of realism enhance the darker aspects of the setting even further. This is why Vampire in the Garden makes a better case than Twilight for a vampire story centering around human drama having merit.

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