#1 It’s barely about vampires
One night, while out on a stroll, the 360-year-old vampire Sophie Twilight has a run-in with a schoolgirl who got herself lost whilst chasing urban legends. Sophie decides to reveal herself and help out, not knowing that this girl, Akari Amano, would become absolutely infatuated with her as a result. Soon Sophie’s quiet life of immortal isolation is shattered, as Akari decides to move in with her and begins causing a ruckus.
The central premise of Ms. Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood is admittedly quite funny. It’s a comedic take on how centuries-old vampires would live among us in the modern day, indirectly poking fun at the typical tropes surrounding such mythical creatures by supposing that they’d be perfectly well-adjusted. Barring her fashion sense, Sophie is just a normal, everyday girl who watches anime, plays games, and does way too much online shopping. Hardly the kind of bloodthirsty abomination we make vampires out to be.
However, therein also lies the series’ biggest flaw. When it turns out that modern vampires are just normal people, there’s not really much special you can do with them in terms of storytelling. As such, Ms. Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood just ends up going through the same, old motions of every other slice-of-life anime ever: trip to the beach, school festival, a Christmas episode, a regular festival, an entire episode about making homework, all the generic storylines you’ve seen a hundred times before, unabashedly rehashed once again.
Ms. Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood frequently reminds you that it has vampires in it, but that ends up being little more than lip service. There is so much they could’ve done with this premise, like going on supernatural adventures or exploring modern vampire society, but all we get are repeated jokes about ordering blood on the internet.
It treats “vampires” as little more than a gimmick to spice up the prefab story arcs of the ‘high school slice-of-life’ starter kit, instead of actually telling a story about vampires. Compare this to even smaller series like Afterschool Dice Club or even Pan de Peace, which certainly have problems of their own, but at least treat their respective themes as the core of their storylines.
#2 Plain character design
The writing is not the only aspect of this anime that feels uninspired. I binged all 12 episodes of Ms. Vampire in a single day and already forgot what the characters looked like the following morning.
The designs of Akari Amano and her school friends feel like they belong to generic background characters. There’s no flair to any of it; no skillful art that makes them subtly memorable nor any big accessories or features that would make them stand out for more obvious reasons. I actually got confused at one point when a new character was introduced who looked so similar to one of Akari’s friends that I wasn’t sure what was happening for a few moments.
Our vampires fair somewhat better, but largely due to their obvious clothing. Their designs are still fairly standard and perfectly in line with the rest of the show’s yuri loli aesthetics. An aesthetic that is itself not exactly the most appealing to me personally.
#3 Inconsistent characters
Besides not looking exactly great, the characters are also held back by the reckless writing. Their characterization is already not much to write home about, but is certainly not improved by how often they contradict themselves
Sophie is a well-adapted vampire who enjoys spending time online and watching anime, which has led to her developing a fascination for anime tropes and stereotypes. For example, she is obsessed with visiting places that frequently star as settings for anime, like cafes and donut shops. However, the story frequently goes against this characterization by making her oblivious or indifferent to things she should’ve seen in anime. A good example is the festival episode, where Sophie appears completely unfamiliar with anything that’s happening and expresses confusion as to the significance of watching fireworks.
Ellie is the complete opposite of that. She has just awoken from a 100-year slumber and is confused and frustrated with the modern world, but then also frequently has no problems with it whatsoever. She pops into Japan already speaking the language perfectly and takes an interest in binge-reading manga. So how she mastered the Japanese langauge? In a later scene she is baffled when presented with a form to fill out, whereupon she asks if she can write in Hungarian instead.
Or how about Akari herself, who constantly fusses over Sophie’s aversions to sunlight and running water, only to then concoct a baffling scheme to abduct her to a beach during her summer vacation.