Call of the Night: Anime Review

Moving belatedly into horror content for the month of October we have Call of the Night, the last of the anime series from the Summer 2022 season that I watched. Okay, frankly it’s not exactly horror – at least not until the back half of the series, but I would describe it as being somewhat horror adjacent. By which I mean, there are vampires.

Call of the Night follows a Junior High student by the name of Ko Yamori. He’s found himself experiencing insomnia after a girl at his school confessed to him that she liked him, and he found himself unable to quite parse how to take it, and for that matter what it feels like to fall in love with someone. While wandering the streets, he runs into a girl named Nazuna Nanakusa – who turns out to be a vampire. After she feeds on him and they talk, Ko asks to be turned into a vampire, only to learn that in order to be turned he must first fall in love with her.

Visually, this show is absolutely amazing. The show uses color – not just in terms of signage, but also in terms of just general ambient color, makes the night feel vibrant and alive – both enticing and frightening. The world looks and feels lively, and you understand why Ko is willing to basically give up his day-to-day life in favor of living by night, and what that titular “call of the night” is.

The plot and tone of the series is also fairly chill, with some elements of threat. As the series delves a little more into vampire society in the second half, with a side of further menace when we get into the interactions of other humans who have knowledge of vampires, the show gets almost a horror-light vibe. I’d describe the show as a kind of “Low-Fi Vampire the Masquerade”. There’s narrative focus on vampire society, on the ways that the long life that you get when you’re vampire changes you, and the need to hide vampires from the world for fear of being hunted (complete with the introduction of a hunter figure late in the series).

However, Call of the Night is nowhere near as heavy in tone as White Wolf and Onyx Path’s games. World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness vampires hide their assets through front businesses like goth nightclubs, with elder vampires holding power and authority, and they spend their days slumbering and angsting. Call of the Night vampires have a side hustle in a maid cafe and spend the day playing video games, and are looking forward to the new titles.

Is there fanservice? Yeah – Nazuna basically wears a sports-bra and short-shorts for most of the show as her main outfit. She’s also 20 or over, considering that she’s regularly drinking beer – and not just beer from vending machines, but booze she’s ordered in a restaurant and was delivered to her by a bartender, so even though she’s (*ahem*) petite, she looks the part, so I don’t exactly object to her being depicted as sexy – and she’s certainly written as having her own agency, with Nazuna driving the plot just as much as Ko through her own choices.

Nezuna from Call of the Night
This show also has some great facial expressions

In all, Call of the Night isn’t the best show of the Fall 2022 season (that would be Cyberpunk: Edgerunners) but it is one of the best shows of the season, and was tremendously fun to watch. The manga is still going, but we haven’t had notice on a second season yet. Considering the manga runs in Weekly Shonen Sunday, hopefully there’s enough material to make for a second season, and we get one in the future.

Call of the Night is available for streaming on Hidive. The manga is also available from RightStuf, Alibris, and Amazon (and buying anything through those links supports the site).