Overlooked & Underrated: Don Dracula

Delving deeper into the world of obscure anime, we find Don Dracula! Unlike the last couple of shows I looked at, this is nice and short at just 8 episodes long. 🙂

Plot summary: This is a comedy series starring none other than Count Dracula, who in the late 20th century has moved from Transylvania (taking his large, scary-looking mansion with him) to Japan, along with his daughter Chocola and their hunchbacked manservant Igor. The anime follows these characters as they go about their daily (sorry, nightly) lives, and end up facing all sorts of troublesome situations…

First of all, they’re affected by all the stereotypical vampire weaknesses – garlic, crosses, sunlight, you know the ones. Secondly, Dracula once accidentally sucked the blood of an ‘ugly’ woman, who then fell in love with him, and still chases him around and pays unwanted visits to his house! Thirdly, Professor Helsing, the vampire hunter and old nemesis of Dracula, has followed him to Japan and won’t rest until he has driven a stake through the vampire’s heart! And if all that wasn’t bad enough, in this day and age (well, in the 1980s at least) young women don’t even sleep in the night time anymore, preferring to spend all their time in discos instead, which doesn’t leave Dracula with much in the way of easy prey. 😦

Sadly, Don Dracula’s anime adaptation was cut short after the sponsoring company went bankrupt, so it doesn’t really end… only four episodes made it onto TV, the rest were released years later as an OVA. But as Don Dracula doesn’t have a continuous plot line, it didn’t need a concrete ending, so I don’t think any less of the series for that.

What makes it worth watching? Well… it’s a comedy series, so I’d hope that would be self explanatory. 😛 Humour is of course very subjective, but personally I found Don Dracula hilarious. Additionally, you’ve got to take the creator of the original manga into account. You may have heard of him.

A lot of the humour comes from the vampires’ attempts to integrate themselves into human society, despite the issues described earlier. Being a vampire, Chocola is forced to attend a night school (where Helsing gets a job as fine arts teacher!), but aside from that tries to live a regular schoolgirl life, and attends the after school sci-fi club with her human boyfriend Nobuhiko. Her father, on the other hand, isn’t quite so good at blending in… Aside from that, we get to see them deal with other mythological creatures such as fish men and living paintings, and resist attempts by Van Helsing and other enemies who want to see them exterminated.

Anime-Planet tags the series as ‘crude’. I can’t deny that the humour is crude at times, the first episode was particularly heavy going (Professor Helsing pulls down his trousers within a minute of being introduced, and his chronic haemorrhoids are a running gag). However, this is limited to a few minutes in a couple of episodes, is mostly harmless, and I’d say they’ve been a bit harsh in giving it a tag shared by the likes of Dead Leaves and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. 😛 In summary, there’s more to this series than toilet humour!

The OP and ED are very much of their time… but are very catchy! 🙂 The BGM was also very good. Animation-wise, not bad for the early 80s. The backgrounds are a bit plain, but the character designs are amazing.

Possible reasons for it’s obscurity: It’s old, and it got cancelled. It DOES have a Spanish dub despite all this, but it only recently got a passable English sub release – when I first watched it, the only subs out there were, well, more Spanglish than anything.

Overall thoughts: Don Dracula is by no means a must see, but it doesn’t deserve the rubbishy low rating it’s ended up with on Anime-Planet either. At only 8 eps, even if it ends up not being your cup of tea, watching it wouldn’t take up much of your time. Once you’ve gotten hold of it, that is. That may prove to be the hardest part. 😛

Anime-Planet average rating: 1.5/5

My personal rating: 4/5

2 Responses to Overlooked & Underrated: Don Dracula

  1. John says:

    Its the first anime I ever saw, when I was very tiny; and it is one of my favorites.
    Its on hulu right now but it has the same absurdly bad subtitles mentioned here.

    • We don’t have access to Hulu in the UK, but the legal streaming site ‘Viki’ also picked Don Dracula up a few months after I made this post. Hopefully that will have helped raise its profile a bit… shame they couldn’t have gotten ARR’s improved subs for it though, or taken the time to do their own QC. 😛

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