You voted. We watched. This is the third instalment of a series of conversations between Watson and myself about anime that have, for whatever reason, been deemed as worthy contenders for the title of Worst Anime of All Time.
As with Mirage of Blaze and Hand Shakers, our goal is not simply to criticize unpopular anime for our own amusement (though we do hope these articles are at least semi-entertaining), but rather to have an actual discussion about what makes any given show ‘work’ – or not, as the case may be. We’re both also genuinely curious to see whether or not these shows are truly deserving of their widespread condemnation by the anime community.
As always, sit back and enjoy, and feel free to let us know your own thoughts in the comments.
Artemis: I’m just gonna jump right in and say that my first issue is this: no vampires.
Watson: True. Holmes IS a bloodsucking parasite, though, so I guess the essential vampirism is still there.
Artemis: That’s stretching it a little thin, don’t you think?
Watson: Yes, in all honesty I do.
Artemis: Granted, title vs. content and the lack of connection between them may seem like an arbitrary point, but come on now. This thing is called Vampire Holmes and there’s not a single vampire. In fact, there’s not even a single mention of a vampire. This despite the fact that for some reason there is a plot – and I use that term extremely loosely – over the last 3 episodes involving werewolves (though we never actually see those, either, so…)
Watson: We did see Holmes in a wolf suit, however. Although said suit was nowhere NEAR as good as the one I was treated to in Great Teacher Onizuka.
Artemis: To be fair, is any suit as great as that one?
Watson: I can’t think of any.
Artemis: Okay, so no vampires. How about some classic Holmes and Watson hijinks, likewise as the title might suggest? Oh wait, we don’t have those either because for some reason I cannot fathom, we have Holmes and Hudson instead.
Watson: On a personal note, I’m just as glad not to have my alter-ego associated with this piece of crap. Hudson does fill the straight-man role well enough, which is more or less all that can be expected of him. But yes, another aspect which is oddly missing.
Artemis: It’s not that I particularly object to the name ‘Hudson’. It’s that I have no idea why they changed that name when they still went with Holmes and deer stalker hat symbols. You know what? I’m now going to write a story myself about a famous detective duo named Shaggy and Scooby Dee. And it will be better than Vampire Holmes, because I have a feeling that even on my worst writing days it couldn’t possibly be worse.
Watson: Funny you say that. I would like to point out that the opening credits promise a show which is MUCH more interesting and coherent than the one we actually got.
Artemis: It does? Because all I heard were high-pitched and squeaky vocals about “everlasting love” and gave a mental sigh. Appropriateness = 10/10. And I’m just gonna assume sarcasm can be heard via text.
Watson: Frankly I usually ignore the soundtrack for any show I watch anyway. The music is seldom relevant or indeed worth experiencing. The forgettable J-pop soundtrack excepted, I was actually kind of curious about how it would all fit together. We had Holmes, and Hudson, and weird gothic scenes… the elements of an intriguing supernatural thriller were there. And go on, tell me that vampires are not connected with “everlasting love” in pop culture.
Artemis: … I’m going to pretend I never heard that. In fact, I have no idea what you’re talking about. None.
Watson: I know you’ve seen Twilight.
Watson: Sure sure. Moving right along, then, you might remember that a couple of years ago I reviewed another show which had short, 4-minute episodes. That show was called Bikini Warriors. And I didn’t think much of it AT ALL. But you know, while watching Vampire Holmes, I found myself thinking, “At least Bikini Warriors had a plot.” So I went back and watched a random episode, just to make sure this wasn’t a case of rose-tinted glasses. And guess what? It turns out a show about an unnamed bunch of top-heavy hussies with improbable bikinis and even more improbable anatomy can be cleverer, more coherent, and a damn sight funnier than this turd.
Artemis: Yeah, the main problem with Vampire Holmes is that it’s attempting (so far as I can tell) to be a comedy. Poor life choice right there.
Watson: My biggest problem with it is that there’s no THERE there. It’s a bunch of short, unconnected scenes, with no meaning or context, where nothing ever happens. It’s just pointless. It doesn’t matter what the characters are called, because it never makes any difference. There’s just nothing.
Artemis: I don’t know, if I’m being charitable then there were one or two decent one-liners, I guess? Like in episode 9 or 10, where Hudson finds a note left by Holmes saying “Sweeny the Barber.” I have no idea if Japanese audiences got that reference, but that was the highlight of the show for me.
Artemis: … Yeah, in hindsight, that comment probably reveals exactly how low I set the bar for this series.
Watson: I got that reference too. And I consider that the minimum fucking standard of world-building they could have done if their show was set in Victorian London, so it gets no points from me for it. Personally, I don’t remember any one-liners and I certainly can’t be bothered going back to check. Any interest engendered by the intro sequence has long since been squandered.
Artemis: It’s so weird this show was even made. I mean look, I get it was based on a mobile game app. I get that the anime is basically intended to act as one long ad for the game. A very poor ad, mind you, as I can’t imagine anyone who watched this would even think about downloading the game save as a joke. I also can’t imagine even the most die-hard fans of said game actually being excited for the anime. And nobody else in their right minds would even consider watching past the first episode, surely?
Watson: I can’t imagine so. If this is meant to be an ad or tie-in to the game it does a bloody poor job of it. Its single redeeming feature is that the episodes are mercifully short, which does not bode well for the material it’s allegedly based on.
Artemis: I mean, the gist of the game (according to the actual ads that played both before and after the credits every single episode) is that Holmes is so lazy that he refuses to solve any crimes, leaving the mystery to the user. I.e. they’ve basically turned Holmes into a hikikomori. Unfortunately, that leaves the anime to do… exactly nothing at all. As in literally nothing. Not exactly a stellar starting point, wouldn’t you agree?
Watson: See, with that sort of tie-in there are dozens of things they could have done to make the show add value to the game, or at least to engender some kind of interest in it, or ANYTHING. As it is, though… they just do nothing with it. Changing the character of Holmes actually doesn’t bother me too much – we’ve seen lots of deconstructions and alternate versions of the character over the years (most of which suck, by the way) so taking a different view of the characters, or the relationships doesn’t make me vomit in my mouth. What pisses me off is that they did precisely NOTHING with this! Usually there’s some kind of logic to things like this – you can see what they were trying to achieve, even if they missed by miles. But I just can’t work this one out.
Artemis: And yet, you can still buy the DVDs, kids! Step right up, bet they’re selling like hotcakes.
Watson: Well hey, there was that creepy demon-cat-thing. So you know, that’s a bonus. And I’m just going to go ahead and assume sarcasm translates via text as well, okay? Okay.
Artemis: Oh god, please tell me they’re not selling those things too as mascot plushies or something.
Watson: I treasure my ignorance of the subject.
Artemis: Yeah, I’m not going to Google that.
Watson: Alright, I feel like we’ve spent far more time on analysing this show than the creators did, or that it could possible justify. So go on, give me a rating here. Better or worse than Hand Shakers?
Artemis: Hmm. Well, in a stunning turn of events, Hand Shakers actually wins over Vampire Holmes in one respect. Horrid as the former looks, the latter is, without any exaggeration here, little more than paper cut-outs being awkwardly pasted onto equally flat-looking backgrounds. The budget for the show was clearly about $10. And not per individual episode, either.
Watson: Yes, as much as it pains me to admit it, Hand Shakers was genuinely more visually interesting to look at.
Artemis: And let me ask you this: were you actually shocked, offended, or even seriously annoyed by anything at all that went on in Vampire Holmes? Because personally, I couldn’t sum up the enthusiasm to be any of those things. And you’d think those sorts of emotions would be par for the course for Worst Anime Ever.
Watson: You would indeed. In fact, my overall feeling was one of relief. Once you skip the intro and outro (which you really really should) each episode was barely 2 minutes long. No matter how little there was going on in each episode, at least they were over quickly.
Artemis: Exactly. And while Vampire Holmes may have been the single blandest anime I’ve ever watched, I wasn’t traumatised. I don’t know if that makes Vampire Holmes ‘better’ than Hand Shakers exactly, but at the very least, it doesn’t make it worse.
Watson: I do feel a little bit bad about saying that the lack of content was a blessing, but I think it genuinely was in this case. Imagine 24-minute episodes, full of the same content-free inanity! The mind boggles, and the stomach rebels.
Artemis: Very poetic. So based on that, I’m gonna go ahead and give Vampire Holmes a 2 out of 10.
Watson: Purely on the shortness of the episodes, I am sorely tempted to give it a 3. That would make it score higher than Mirage of Blaze, which was indeed a very boring show, but the fact that you could be done with Vampire Holmes completely before the Mirage of Blaze crew had finished making meaningless eye-acting motions at each other does give it a certain something.
Artemis: I never thought I’d be defending Mirage of Blaze, but come on. At least that show had ideas. It may not have done much with them, but even so, they were there. The same cannot be said in this case.
Watson: … Goddamnit, you’re right. That’s a very irritating habit of yours, you know. Fine, I’m comfortable with 2 stars for a story of Shakespearean simplicity: “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth, if you’re wondering.
Artemis: Classy. I’ll see if there’s an anime version.
Watson: Please do. In the meantime, I’m gonna watch some more Bikini Warriors.
Question of the post: To those viewers who’ve also watched Vampire Holmes, what were your thoughts? Is it deserving of the title Worst Anime, and why/why not?