What’s it about? Kufa Vampir arrives in the lamp-lit city-state Flandore to serve as tutor and servant to Melida Angel. Melida struggles to use magic, an ability she should have inherited from her royal lineage. Kufa finds Melida truly lacks any aptitude for magic, thereby proving his employer’s hunch that she is an illegitimate daughter of commoners. Though he is ordered to kill Melida, Kufa decides to cover for her, even if it means risking both of their lives.
CONTENT WARNING: Leery cameras; possible student-teacher pairing.
At the risk of sounding too optimistic, I kinda like this show.
Whereas it could have gone for a more contrived story of a princess waiting to awaken the secret powers within her, Assassins Pride hints this will be more a political cloak-and-dagger tale with elements of combat and fantasy. As Kufa explains at the end of episode, he must now convince everyone that Melida is of royalty and hide the fact he’s an assassin, lest they both “meet an instant death.”
And though Kufa presents himself as a rather powerful protagonist capable of both handling himself and defending the girl, Melida sticks out in the field of anime heroines for her sheer will and tenacity to prove herself. The first episode establishes Melida to be a capable fighter, even without magic. She realizes her lack of magic is an abnormality and wishes to prove to herself above all else that she is the rightful heir to her family.
For that reason, I’m excited to see how Melida grows now that she’s infused with magic. She can now stand on equal ground against her school bullies and is likely to be more than a mere damsel-in-distress throughout the story. As long as Kufa doesn’t have to step in and fight all of her decisive battles, Assassins Pride could very well have a tough, driven heroine at its core.
As for Kufa, I’m also impressed by how much of a quintessential gentleman he is. He appears so genuine in his kindness and courtesy that even his initial decision to kill Melida feels like an act of mercy. As much as the show is about him being a cold-blooded killer (and he is), he also has bounds of empathy beneath his cool and somewhat distant demeanor.
What’s somewhat questionable, however, is that Melida, who is likely in her mid-teens, is paired with Kufa, who is probably 18-to-24 years old. The student-teacher relationship hasn’t entered romantic territory as of yet, but the tension is there. At any rate, a grown man pledging his life to a teenage girl will be off-putting for some regardless.
The two leads aside, I’m also enchanted by Assassins Pride’s world. Kufa lends some expository knowledge as he rides a train into Flandore, a city that appears to be perpetually blanketed by night. The city is located in a massive chandelier lantern perched atop a mountain and its streets are almost always eerily deserted.
Kufa also speaks of “lancanthropes,” monsters that have eaten away at civilization, and the duo faces off against a trio of them at the end of the episode. The world is as beautiful as it is unsettling, and I’m excited to learn more about it in the episodes to come.
A leery camera, however, mars the show. Though Assassins Pride respectfully never flashes any panties and none of the character designs seem outlandish for the sake of fanservice, the camerawork employed in Assassins Pride features a number of sustained low-angle shots, often focusing on Melida and other young girls.
The framing especially focuses on Melida’s zettairyoiki, the slim line of bare thigh visible between knee-high socks and a miniskirt. This leery framing uncomfortably stood out in an otherwise enjoyable first episode free of any other overly sexually objectifying content.
Staring at people’s legs, however, is something I’m willing to deal with. So long as the world of Assassins Pride continues to deliver on what it teased through the first episode, this show could build into a solid action-fantasy.