Venus Versus Virus: Volume 2(Region 2)

Venus Versus Virus: Volume 2 contains episodes 3 and 4. The animated series hasn’t been released in America yet, so I’m watching the R2 DVDs. The first two episodes introduced us to Lucia and Sumire who each have their own powerful abilities for exterminating Viruses. Lucia has accepted her responsibilities, but Sumire is having trouble adjusting. So, what ways will Sumire find to screw up now?

DVD: Venus Versus Virus: Volume 2 (Region 2)
Release Date: 6/20/2007
Release Studio: TBS Video

MSRP: 5000 yen (5250 with Tax)
Audio: Japanese 2.0 PCM
Subtitles: none
Episodes: 2
Runtime: 48mins
Extras: Widescreen and Fullscreen Commercials

Notes: Review is based on a Retail purchased copy of the final product.

The third episode of the series focuses on two children, brother and sister, who are being hunted by a Virus. Tsukuyo goes to talk to Lucia and Sumire, telling them about how her brother has suddenly started acting weird and won’t come out of his room. Lucia goes to talk to the boy, Youji, and gives Sumire one simple instruction: don’t move from this spot. Not surprisingly, Sumire forgets and goes off with Tsukuyo. Lucia, returning to find that Sumire is not where she left her, mutters, “Sumire no baka.” It’s true; Sumire is spacey and, at times like this, an idiot. Lucia left Sumire and the girl standing in a protective pentagram, but it’s useless if they go downstairs for snacks. With Lucia elsewhere and Sumire not protected, the Virus makes itself known. However, this Virus is different from any Lucia and Sumire have encountered before. Sumire is unprepared for this and can’t fight back. It takes Lucia’s strength and cold heart to save what can be saved and sacrifice that which is lost.

After everything is taken care of, Sumire worries that Lucia is a cold person. The episode ends with Lucia showing that, despite her cold exterior, she has a soft spot. Sumire almost gets to see this; Lucia immediately becomes defensive and reverts back to her cold façade, embarrassed by her own kindness. It’s really cute to see the girl who rarely smiles blush.

Episode four shows us how Sumire and Lucia met. One night when Lucia is fighting a Virus, she loses her broach. Sumire finds it, and like the clutz she is she pricks her finger on it. After that, everything changes for Sumire. Suddenly, she can see Viruses, and that attracts them to her. Since Lucia is hunting Viruses and Sumire is a target for them, the two girls cross paths. Lucia shoots the special antivirus bullets at the monster, but the Virus uses Sumire as a human shield. Sumire goes limp, and Lucia is understandably mystified: the antivirus should be harmless to humans. The Virus drops Sumire to the ground, and the girl surprises everyone when she gets up. This is the first time Sumire goes into Berserker mode.

Lucia needs this weapon in the fight against the Viruses. Sumire’s ability to become a living Anti-Virus is something the Vangards have never seen before. Lucia offers Sumire protection and says that maybe they will someday be able to revert Sumire back to her original self. And this is how Sumire comes to work at the seemingly normal antique store that is really a Virus exterminator store: Venus Vangard.

The Japanese cast continues to give a great performance. Ayahi Takagaki is adorable when Lucia is embarrassed at the end of the third episode. Minori Chihara continues to be do a great job portraying Sumire’s spacey nature, but she is also heartbreaking in the fourth episode as Sumire mourns for the humanity she thinks she’s lost. The supporting cast provides wonderful performances. Sayuri Yahagi (Tsukuyo) and Yumiko Kobayashi (Youji) do a great job as the loving yet estranged siblings, expressing both their innocence and their pain.

It would be easy for Venus Versus Virus to be just a monster-of-the-week show, but while it does have that element, it goes much deeper. The character development so far has been really great; slowly, bits and pieces of the girls’ true selves are being revealed. We also see Sumire developing a friendship with Yoshiki, a young man she met in the park. The monsters are different from episode to episode not just by their powers or strength but by the emotional and moral consequences they present the characters.

This series has humorous moments amidst the pain and violence, and that really helps keep the show from becoming too doom-and-gloomy. Never boring, it’s enjoyable to watch. So, after seeing the second disc for Venus Versus Virus, I’m still highly recommending it. It’s a fun series with violence and three-dimensional characters that’ll keep you coming back for more.