OP: 「緋ノ月」 (Hii no Tsuki) by ALI PROJECT
「ノスフェラトゥ計画」 (Nosferatu Keikaku)
“The Nosferatu Project”
Well, it’s now officially fall so you know what that means. Spooky times. Scary times. Vampires flying in space times. Vampires in space? Yupp, vampires in space. To be honest I was looking forward to Tsuki to Laika if only for the sheer whiplash of having Russian vampires recreate the early years of the Space Race, but damn if initial hopes aren’t being fulfilled. There’s a lot of potential fun at work here, we just have to see how well it provides.
In line with the RC Preview, Tsuki to Laika is effectively what happens when you take Yuri Gagarin’s triumphant milestone, flip it into a fantasy setting, and then replace the guy with a pointy toothed vampire cutie pie. Anyone familiar with mankind’s early space efforts (specifically Russian) will be right at home here, as everything from Sputnik to Laika and even initial fears of what space could do to a person’s body have been featured in all their glory with promises of more when it comes to actual manned spaceflight. You’d almost think this was just history told through the lens of fiction, but in that regard you’d be wrong. After all, there’s that vampire cutie pie yet to deal with.
Where Tsuki to Laika goes off the historical rails is in regard to its main female lead Irina Luminesk (Hayashibara Megumi). Much as gleaned above, she’s not only Zirnitra’s – i.e. this universe’s USSR – designated test subject for manned flight, but also a vampire. Well, mostly vampiric; tingling skin and pointy ears run closer to Twilight than Dracula, though the biological origins bear nice similarities to S.M. Stirling’s Shadowspawn trilogy. The important bit here, however, is that Irina is a bona fide vampire; the girl is not seen as human by Zirnitra’s leadership, so in their mind she’s the perfect tool to verify if human beings can survive the rigors of space. Expect to see quite a bit of the ethics on this over time, as already the show has hinted towards the difficulty some in Zirnitra’s program are having with keeping emotions fully out of their work. Irina may not be technically human, but rest assured the difference is going to become increasingly hard to maintain.
Case in point of such ethical landmines scattered on the path ahead is Irina’s handler in cosmonaut aspirant Lev Leps (Uchiyama Kouki). It’s not difficult seeing where this is likely going considering how all other tales of inexperienced guy paired up with ostracized cutie pie who’s likely destined for the bad end typically go. Romance, in my spaceflight fantasy story? It’s more likely than you think. The interesting bit though will be seeing how such romance develops between the two. Lev after all has an apparent black mark on his record, but could likely correct that should he succeed with his new mission – i.e. use Irina as springboard into space himself. Likewise Irina clearly has a reason for going along with her role because she’s far too accepting for what it entails. Both will grow closer to each other, but will they prioritize such feelings over their other wants and dreams? That we’ll just have to wait and see.
It’ll be an episode or two yet before Tsuki to Laika gets into the groove of things, but without a doubt this one will be a fun series to pay some attention to. It may not be the most glamorous or action-packed, but I’m definitely down to seeing just where it goes.
In case the ethics mention seems weird, it’s good to note several of scientists who originally sent Laika into space had major regrets over their decision. Irina’s prayer is a good reference to this, as the statue she’s beside is a stylized version of the one for Laika located in Star City; expect Irina’s fate to share similar consternations.
ED: 「ありふれたいつか」 (Arifureta Itsuka) by Chima