Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu (Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut) First Impressions – A Promising Vampire Sci-Fi Anime

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“That’s one small step for vampires, one giant leap for mankind.” In Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu’s alternative timeline, this line would make much more sense than the famous original sentence astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered upon stepping on the moon. This is not the 1960s as we know them: the Space Race is going strong but it is not happening between the US and the Soviet Union. It is rather a competition between the fictional Federal Republic of Zirnitra and the United Kingdom of Arnack. Zirnitra wants to win the space race by any means, so test subjects are employed to ensure success. One of them is Irina, a female vampire who is trained to withstand extreme conditions and eventually test the spacecraft that will bring humans to outer space.
Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu is an interesting blend of sci-fi, drama, supernatural, and vampire anime genres, and it garnered attention for its unconventional plot. Romance is not among its genre tags; however, the chemistry between Irina and the man responsible for her training, Lev, is strong. Let’s take a close look into what this promising new series brings to the table.

It’s really interesting to see how humanity treats different races, with vampires considered evil and bloodthirsty while this is far from the truth. The prejudice vampires face is meant to be seen as cruel, and we readily empathize with Irina.
In their attempts to be the first to send a living being to space, the Soviet Union sacrificed a dog named Laika in a test attempt at space travel. In this anime series, Zirnitra officials pick Irina, whose life is worth far less than a human’s, to test out the optimal flight conditions. This chilling predicament brings a whole new level of tension to the plot, especially since we meet Irina, admire her dedication, and root for her. In episode 3, her training has reached a peak moment, she is excelling but her fear of heights is preventing her from completing the tasks. Irina and Lev’s flight by airplane is a hopeful moment in an otherwise bleak environment, giving Irina the sweet taste of freedom and foreshadowing their rebellion.

As mentioned earlier, Lev shows strong interest in Irina’s development, comfort, and safety, not just as the man responsible for her training, but as a comrade, colleague, and romantic interest above all. We get allusions to Lev’s disobedience in the past, which resulted in his demotion. He can no longer train as an astronaut and we are already thinking that he might help Irina escape her terrible fate. We do expect to see more sweet moments between these two since their chemistry is undeniable.

This is a production that looks good enough overall, however, the character designs are a bit generic, with only Irina as an exception. The animation shows its strength when it comes to scenes in space. There is attention to detail, some use of CGI, and the depiction of specialized equipment of the time is accurate. The animation in the opening sequence is cool, and we hope to see more of this level of quality in the upcoming episodes because that would certainly help Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu stand out in a season with exceptionally animated shows like Takt Op. Destiny.

Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu has an interesting premise that would sit right with fans of space and sci-fi anime. The blend of genres, with the introduction of the vampire main character, might feel weird at first, but as the story progresses, the in-story universe makes sense. We hope for more insight into Irina and Lev’s motivations in the upcoming episodes since they both are moving the plot forward with their character development.
Do you think sending a vampire to the moon is a good idea? And, why do you think Irina is so determined to go to outer space? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading.
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Author: Andromache Kokkinou
This is Andromache, nice to meet you! I am a writer, editor, and zinester. I have a knack for research and making connections between anime, so I love writing anime recommendations and top 10 lists! Yes, I do look like my avatar and yes, I base my style off Ami Mizuno aka Sailor Mercury. An Evangelion and Utena fanatic, talk to me about depressed teen heroes and handsome princesses. Avatar by @crazyspacecats
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