Vampire in the Garden is set in a violent, dystopian world where vampires and humans are locked in an endless war. Momo - the daughter of the human General - crosses paths with the vampire queen Fine, who shuns drinking blood and is processing her deeply traumatic past. Together, the pair run away, holding out hope for a paradise where humans and vampires can co-exist… assuming they can ever find it. Netflix’s newest anime series is as violent as it is tender, experimenting with what vampires can bring to a story to produce something that at least tries to be refreshingly distinctive.
Capturing a world where humans scrape by without culture and dogmatic division rules the day, the series features a kaleidoscopic use of light and colour to give the most intense scenes a visceral feel. During some of the more experimental scenes, diving deeper into Momo and Fine’s respective nightmares, the artistry is enthralling. It just about makes up for a story that, while filled with interesting characters, fails to prove all that gripping. The short season length doesn’t help; like the debut season of Castlevania, four or five episodes is not enough to bring a world to life with convincing depth or ingenuity.
Momo and Fine’s relationship provides heart and soul to the series, and the tone of Vampire in the Garden seems to consistently run at odds with the visual style (the country music driving montage is unexpected but not unwelcome). With more room to grow, this horror drama can build on this ability to pull at the heartstrings and emerge into something more memorable.VAMPIRE IN THE GARDEN is out now on Netflix