New Anime

Call of the Night – Episode 4

Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I’m feeling a hankering to return to the low-stress drama of Call of the Night, and see how our young vampire-in-training is getting along with his, shall we say “socially indifferent” temptress. Though Nazuna aspires to the sort of effortless cool and seductive allure of your traditional Draculas and whatnot, she in truth possesses the kind of personality you’d expect for someone who’s been wandering the night alone for decades: awkward, prone to self-doubt, and desperate for companionship.

As such, the reveal that Kou actually has daylight friends waiting for him was a nasty shock for Nazuna, who understandably feels a little possessive of her first real friend. But in characteristic Call of the Night fashion, this friction was resolved not through violent conflict, but through intimate conversation, with Kou reaffirming his dedication to one day truly sharing the night. Watching these two grow closer through their adventures is a pure and simple pleasure, and I’m eager to see how they reconnect in the wake of their first quasi-fight. Let’s get to it!

Episode 4

We open back in the desaturated daytime, with Akira at school. In order to play up the appeal of the night, daytime hours seem to be framed in one of two ways: either as a blinding light through the window that seems oppressive even at a distance, or as an overcast absence of color, echoing the malaise Kou must feel executing his daytime duties

A closeup on Akira’s hand showcases this production’s unique approach to line weight, with much thicker lines employed for the edge of her thumb and curve of her palm. One thing you can always be sure of with Kotoyama is that you’ll see what he sees in his female characters’ forms – he is a pervert of distinction, and his works embody his fascination with the distinct creases and wrinkles of hands, the suggestive shadow of bone pressing against skin, the distinct collaboration of weight and gravity that causes a breast to hang just so. Many anime embody a horniness that feels utterly apart from attraction to actual human bodies, a sort of comical “she had balloon boobs and an ass out to here” exaggeration. But to make sensual, effectively erotic art, you really have to understand what allures you in the form of another

“Listen up, class. People have to sleep at night.” As the teacher lectures on, the frame captures Akira at the far left of the frame, with the empty space to her right emphasizing her desire to turn to the window and escape. Prominent empty spaces in compositions evoke a sense of the incomplete or emotionally unavailable. They’re often used to convey emotional distances the characters cannot traverse, or a desire they cannot articulate

It’s actually a relatively sunny day, but the desaturation continues even outside. The world doesn’t glimmer during the daytime; everything about this setting is mundane, unworthy of exploration

Akira goes to bed alone and early in an empty apartment. It seems there’s little to tether her to the daylight, either

“I’m much better at leaving the house quietly now, if I do say so myself.” Kou’s family remains an odd absence within this narrative. They’re not “working overseas” or the other various ways anime tend to sideline parents, they’re just barely off-screen, offering a persistent question of why they are so removed from his daily concerns

Natsuna waits at the park, rather than concealing herself as usual. Has their kiss fundamentally changed something in their relationship!? Kou frets, stewing over one of the classic hurdles of youthful intimacy

While she grumbles about his tardiness, he walks the streets elsewhere, still trying to sort out how he should act now. Their mutual uncertainty provokes natural frictions; each of them is seeking an assurance that the other can’t really provide

“Kisses are what people in love do. Does this mean I love Nazuna-chan already!?” Delightful circular logic for our confused young lovebird

“Goodbye normalcy, ordinary life, tough times!” Quite the condemnation of our society that he’d already feel so desperate for escape at this age

This show’s limited animation can lead to some funny effects, like Nazuna’s cloak billowing while her body remains entirely still as she lands

“That’s indecent! Cut out the lewd pose!” Nazuna’s embarrassment over anything intimate is a persistently excellent gag. She is truly the worst vampire

Also an excellent expression of fatigued disbelief as he announces his grand accomplishment

The transition to potentially becoming a vampire is marked by profound light saturation, the whole world growing more intense and immediate as Kou’s moment of triumph approaches

“I’ll be free from all of it!” Kou still desires this for largely negative reasons, for things he is escaping from rather than moving towards. It’s not a particularly healthy approach to deciding his future, particularly when the consequences are so permanent

“One little kiss and you thought you were in love, huh?” Nazuna always happy to lord her minimal mature experience over Kou’s non-existence experience

And yet, it was actually Nazuna’s first kiss as well

We return to Akira. “Lately, I haven’t been sleeping well.”

The night sky is all the more dazzling in contrast with Akira’s cold, impersonal room. If the night was actually this bright and purple I’d probably take more night walks myself

She swiftly runs into Kou, who invites her to come hang out with him and Nazuna. Their devious nighttime activities? Mostly just Street Fighter

Unsurprisingly, Nazuna is swift to “subtly” raise the subject of kissing, clearly eager to brag in front of Akira

“They all like the protagonist way too much from the beginning. Where’s the fun in romancing them?” Nazuna has harsh words for dating sim design conventions

Even in videogames, Kou can’t be bothered to go to school

“Oh no Kou, they’re going to take you anyway!” “Dammit, what was the point of the selection!” Not sure how we’ve migrated to Nazuna and Kou’s Gaming Review Hour, but I’m here for it. False choices in videogames may be a necessary evil, but they’re never actually satisfying!

“Her skirt is so short! Plus her tits are friggin’ huge.” Just eviscerating the design sensibilities of this “chaste, anxious girl” archetype. The game’s approach to adolescent relations serves as a fun counterpoint to Call of the Night itself; so much of anime-adjacent media tries to create a dividing line between fanservice/sexuality and the characters’ own desires, resulting in an inherently voyeuristic tone. But in Call of the Night, the characters are perfectly happy to announce their own horniness, or their opinions on the horniness of a game like this. It’s far more realistic than the usual fantasy

“Do you like big boobs?” And as ever, Nazuna is eager to flaunt her alleged comfort discussing these topics, even though she’s barely more comfortable with them than Kou

And just when Akira decides this situation is actually kinda wholesome, Nazuna invites both of them to bed

“I want to become a real vampire!” “It’s great that you have a dream.” Cold, Akira

Nazuna is eager to raise the topic, but immediately self-conscious when it comes to the “fall in love with a vampire” clause. Her proud “maturity” is intensely fragile

In spite of her confusion with the whole situation, Akira is mostly just happy to see Kou happy again, once more having found something to look forward to. Of course, she also wants a little bit more than that, so she encourages him to drop his hand beside hers

“It’s great that you found a dream.” And this time she genuinely means it

“I haven’t said goodnight in ages.” Thus another lonely wanderer joins the flock

And Done

Excellent work, team! Not only did Kou and Nazuna navigate the fallout of last episode’s kiss with something approaching grace, they also managed to recruit Akira into their odd little vampiric coven. Street Fighter and dating sims proved to be excellent icebreakers for our now-trio, offering plenty of opportunities for Call of the Night to indulge in its halting, character-rich incidental conversations. Nothing is taken for granted here; the inherent hurdles and pitfalls of anxious adolescence and truly voicing your desires are articulated in full, resulting in relationships that feel hard-won rather than just assumed from the start. Slowly and with great uncertainty, our would-be lovers are discovering reasons to smile again.

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

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