The OVA vs. The TV Anime

When it comes to horror anime, vampires are some of the most ubiquitous concepts. This has resulted in several unique anime and manga takes on the bloodsuckers, with some more renowned than others. One somewhat forgotten yet classic example of vampires in anime was Vampire Princess Miyu. Beginning as a manga series, this supernatural action series was adapted into two different anime.

The first Vampire Princess Miyu series was a 4-episode OVA, whereas the second adaptation was a much more extensive 26-episode series released almost a decade later. With spooky season upon us, many otaku may be wondering which version of the vampire tale to sink their teeth into. Here’s a look back at these retro shows, as well as which adaptation of the story to watch first.

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What Is Vampire Princess Miyu About?

Vampire Princess Miyu began as a manga in 1988, created by Narumi Kakinouchi and Toshiki Hirano. That same year, the manga (which ran until 2002) was adapted into a 4-episode OVA by the same creators. The series is centered around a young girl named Miyu, who finds herself trapped in the barrier between the human world and the demon realm. The supernatural princess daughter of a human and a “Shinma” (the series’ term for a demon), Miyu is tasked along with her Shinma companion Larva to fight off the evil Shinma in the world and banish them to “the Darkness.” All the while, Miyu must contend with her own desire to return to the Darkness, which is compounded by her lack of knowledge of her own nature.

Though based on the same source material, there are some notable differences between the Vampire Princess Miyu OVA and TV series. The most obvious is their length, with the original OVA being a mere four episodes, whereas the anime was a much more substantial 26. Given how soon the OVA came out after the manga started, it also had a bit less fidelity in truly adapting its story. Miyu’s heritage and the time period that the story is set in also changes depending on the adaptation. Add in the different characters that are focused on, and the result is two vastly different takes on the same story.

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The Vampire Princess Miyu Anime Edges Out the OVA Due to Length

Though both are considered classics in their own right, when it comes to overall value, the Vampire Princess Miyu is easier to recommend than the OVA. For one, it came out almost 10 years after the OVA, which helped in a lot of aspects. The longer length allowed it to tell a more complete version of the manga’s story, as well as give other characters more focus and depth. Likewise, the pacing was also aided by an increase in action, which was quite well done. This made the series much more of a horror action series than any sort of creepy psychological horror. Speaking of looking slick, though they’re now both “retro” shows, the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series has a slightly less “outdated” aesthetic when compared to the OVA.

On the other hand, the longer length has also been a source of contention for the TV series, with some seeing it as having too much monster-of-the-week filler. However, even with a handful of episodes that can feel like a slog, it ultimately feels more like a complete story instead of a brief snippet of one. Of course, given that it’s only four episodes, viewers can easily watch the entirety of the original Vampire Princess Miyu OVA before jumping into the show and seeing how it differs. Unfortunately, the TV show is rather hard to come by, be it through streaming or physical media. Conversely, the OVA can be streamed through several sources, including Tubi TV, Peacock, VRV and Retrocrush.

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