How Call of the Night Undermines Anime’s Classic School Environment

call of the night is a brand new rom-com anime found in the Summer 2022 lineup, starring 14-year-old protagonist Yamori Ko. Much can be said about him, from his tragic insomnia to his desire to become a bona fide vampire and answer the call of the night. He will do anything — except embrace mainstream Japanese society.

Given his age and call of the nightIn the area, Ko should spend a lot of time in his high school. After all, most anime like this mainly take place in school, but Ko avoids his whenever he can, so the few scenes that take place there are the exception. It’s a new twist when so many series take place in the familiar hall and classrooms of modern Japanese schools.

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How Ko’s School Absence Represents Escapism In Call of the Night

Modern Japanese anime goes in two opposing directions, often to emphasize the opposing appeal of the known and unknown. On the one hand, most shonen and shojo anime are marketed to teens, so naturally these series are set in junior or senior high schools and feature characters around the age of 14-17. Examples are many, from the hit series Toradora! to the likes of Komi can’t communicate, Horimiya even Tokyo Revengers.

This makes an anime more intuitive and familiar to intended viewers, and it can remind them of what they love about school, such as their friends and gym classes. However, school can also represent the stifling, conformist nature of Japanese society, which many young people find oppressive. They have to go to school and wear strict uniforms, study countless hours to get to a good university, and then do some more studying to get paid work for the next 30-40 years. Any departure from this may be received with disapproval and contempt.

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It’s no wonder, then, that both real and fictional Japanese students are turning to juvenile delinquency or quietly rebelling, from the street punks of Tokyo Revengers to the funny phenomenon of chunibyos who secretly want to be special and misunderstood. In the meantime, call of the night represents escape from the strict school system by having Ko reject the school completely, wandering freely through the night with no one to stop him. It must be so liberating for him to have the night to himself as he escapes the crowds, studying and teachers of the school life he has left.

Staying up all night often represents living in a different world within the context of each country, with most people working or studying during the day and sleeping at night. And as a bonus, the night is home to vampires like Nazuna and her coven associates, with vampires often representing selfish, hedonistic freedom and rejection of society’s rules. Vampires thrive in a hidden world of their own making, and Ko, fed up with the human world, craves it more than anything. School is now a distant thought.

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What this means for Ko and his friends in Call of the Night

The viewers and characters take a school environment for granted in most anime, but not call of the night. Ko is determined to leave his human life behind and live by his own rules as a vampire, but it’s not that easy for him. He knows what he wants, but he can’t let go of his fond memories of being with Akira and the blond deredere Mahiru, his two true friends from school. This holds the tension call of the night, leaving viewers wondering if Ko can really give up his humanity to become a vampire the way he intended. He has a lot at stake, with his high school representing that stake.

Ko has a lot at stake in choosing between his human life and the potential to become a vampire, and either route involves some serious sacrifice. If he takes the vampire route, the school neatly represents everything he gives up in his everyday human life – including his friendships with Akira and Mahiru. Ko will get his escapism, but at the cost of everything else, from his education to his friends, the support of his teachers, and the potential to go to college and land a well-paying job.

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School is the essential first step towards a successful life in mainstream society for students of Ko’s age; if his school already feels like a weird, awkward place to be, then he’s clearly leaning towards the vampire side, even if he hasn’t become a leech yet.

call of the night takes the familiar school environment and makes it feel strange, especially since very few scenes of the anime take place there from episode 8. The anime rarely daylight or Ko’s school, so seeing Akira and Mahiru having a conversation there feels strange and unusual rather than routine. That’s how anime fans know call of the night is all about leaving the known to chase a wild fantasy dream to become a junior Dracula who follows no rules other than his own. If the #1 setting of anime is a rare novelty, then Ko’s humanity is indeed very distant, making the stakes higher than ever. It seems that the call of the night is impossible to ignore.

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