Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Review

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Review

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut anime series cover art
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

Space Race: The Anime

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut (Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu / 月とライカと吸血姫) is a sci-fi fantasy anime. It’s about the space race that took place between the US and USSR in the 1960s. But, there are quite a few differences from reality.

For example, the names of the countries are different. Instead of the United States, it’s the United Kingdom of Arnak (UK). And instead of the Soviet Union, it’s the Republic of Zirnitra (USZR). But, the biggest difference between this series and reality is the vampires.

You probably saw that coming from the title.

So, basically, this series follows the USZR side of the space race. And it’s about how, in this world, the USZR uses a vampire as a test subject before putting humans in space. You know, because since vampires aren’t human, their lives have no value.

Irina Luminesk and Lev Leps from the anime series Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut
Irina Luminesk and Lev Leps

I imagine that the light novel this anime is based on continues after the end of the anime. But, the anime covers the time between the first dog going into space and the first human going into space. It doesn’t make it to the moon landing. Though, I assume the light novel does.

Just as the USSR did in real life, the USZR sent a dog into space without a plan for it to return alive. However, they can’t do the same thing to a human. So, the natural next step is to test bringing something back from orbit alive. This is what the USZR is working on throughout the series.

Sending a vampire into orbit is the final step before sending a human. But, of course, the vampire won’t make it into the history books. A dog is one thing. But nobody wants to admit that a vampire made it into space before humans.

The First Cosmonaut

As you likely assumed based on the title, Irina Luminesk is the vampire chosen to be the first cosmonaut. Though, it’s not as if there were other vampires vying for the position. The USZR massacred Irina’s people. And when they captured her, she volunteered for the job despite the risks.

However, Irina didn’t volunteer for this position solely to save her life. I’m sure that was part of it. But, her dream is to visit space and the moon. And she wants to go there before humans. She knows once humans make it there, they’ll ruin it.

Something you may have noticed is that Irina is a cosmonaut and not an astronaut. So, what’s the difference? Well, it’s pretty simple. Cosmonauts and astronauts are actually the same thing, just from different places. In the USZR (USSR), they’re called cosmonauts. And in the UK (US), they’re called astronauts. That’s it.

Anya Simonyan from the anime series Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut
Anya Simonyan

Now, you might be thinking that Irina is cute. But, she’s not. The series tries to make her appear cute at times. However, I find her very annoying. Both the way she speaks and acts annoy me. And, let’s be honest, there are plenty of cuter girls out there, like Anya Simonyan.

Irina isn’t the only important character in the series. In fact, she’s not even the protagonist. That honor goes to Lev Leps. He’s pretty generic as far as protagonists go, though. You know, your typical nice guy who gets along with everyone and wants to follow his dreams.

Anya Simonyan is the third, and pretty much final, character who matters in the series. She’s a researcher who works for the USZR and specializes in vampires. Her job is to study Irina’s body. The USZR needs to gather information on the effects of space on the “human” body.

Historical Revisionism

The two main characters being annoying isn’t the only thing I disliked about this series. There are also the changes from the real events the story is based on. And, while I don’t have an issue with all of the changes made, I don’t know why some were made.

For example, why were the names of the countries changed? It doesn’t matter, but it seems odd. However, that one change led to some other changes I have more issues with. The smallest of these is the name of the first dog in space.

The real first dog in space was Laika. But in this series, the dog’s name was Maly. Why was this change made? I don’t know other than because the USZR is technically not the USSR. Though, Laika the dog did get referenced by the name of the test facility in the series, LAIKA44.

Irina wearing her space suit from the anime series Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut
Irina wearing her space suit

The change I liked the least was the erasure of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. Yuri isn’t in this series and is instead replaced by Lev Leps. Again, why? Is it because the story after this first manned flight in space differs from reality even more?

I imagine that if this series goes all the way to the moon landing, it’s not the UK (US) who gets there first. Surely it would be Irina and Lev of the USZR (USSR). So, if that’s the case, I guess that’s why all the names were changed.

But, here’s the thing: They didn’t need to alter the major historical events for this series to work. The whole point of the majority of the show was that Irina, a vampire, wouldn’t be in the history books. So, they could have framed everything that had to do with her as “forgotten history.”


I ended up giving Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut a 5/10. Again, I didn’t think the characters were very good. And, I felt like the series would have been better if it took place within historical reality. But, if you’ve seen the anime, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

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