Our fascination with vampires never dies. Recent movies such as Van Helsing and Underworld have cashed in on the mysterious chic of the deadly bloodsuckers, and even the worst vampire films still find an audience. Into this mix comes Kimera, an hour-long OVA that swears to be something new and different, but winds up just giving us vampires from outer space. It starts well, has a good set up, and a couple interesting characters...and then it self-destructs into a morass of silly plot strings and bad action sequences. It's more painful than mediocre films because it holds promise--until it falls apart.

Jay and Osamu are traveling cereal salesman in the good old US of A. (Plausibility stretch #1.) As they're driving, they come upon some Marines who point their guns at them and warn them to get away, but before they can escape, people start dying and trucks start exploding. In the middle of the chaos, Osamu stumbles into a cargo hold that contains a mysterious being in a holding container...not quite male, not quite female, but completely naked...that wakes up and tries to kiss him through the glass. Before Osamu can investigate, Jay pulls him away before another attack starts from a mysterious bat-like creature.

Amazingly enough, Jay's father is part of a research group that's working on the project the twosome happened to bump into. (Plausibility stretch #2.) Jay asks some questions and tries to find out more about the attackers and the strange hermaphrodite. Long story short, they find the creature, named Kimera, and Osamu lets him/her/it go due to his strange obsession with him/her/it. But other creatures will be coming to claim Kimera, who holds the key to a dead civilization from another world, and things will (of course) get messy.

Kimera is not hard on the eyes, despite its other faults. It's a surprisingly well-produced OVA with action sequences that don't rely on two billion lines rushing behind the fighters. The look of the show is different than most we see in the US, primarily because at its core, it's a shonen-ai title. ADV Films can try and obfuscate what Kimera really is, but everything we actually see of the character is male through and through. The net effect is the same: if you don't like guys kissing other guys, don't pick up this title.

Actually, even if that is your sort of thing (and I don't want to know about it), don't pick this title up. It's a mess that starts strongly and devolves into a frustrating muddle. First, coincidences and logic-benders rule the day here. I can handle one, maybe two leaps of faith in a program, but start stretching believability too much and I check out.

Second, the title character isn't interesting. Kimera has no personality, and though flashbacks give us some information about her former life, there's no reason to be concerned about her the way the show wants us to be. Osamu is taken with Kimera for no good reason, and so we fumble around trying to understand why we should care.

Third, the mysteries of the show are given to us in the plot description on the back of the box. Anything the show tries to hide until the ending, we already know.

Add in some gruesome violence, a half-rape sequence with a grisly ending, and you've got a pretty unworthy show. Figure in the ridiculous plot of vampires from outer space repopulating their species on earth after humans killed them all off, and the stop button becomes a really inviting thought. The final blow: it's a horror show that isn't even remotely scary. It's a drama in a horror shell.

For me, it's worse because I liked the opening third of the show a lot, despite its stretches. It starts like a winner and ends up a loser. I don't know how the show goes from interesting and intriguing to tedium in only twenty minutes, but it does. By the time the action kicked in, I was bored out of my cranium. This is good anime gone very, very bad.

Kimera -- graphic violence, brief nudity, adult situations -- D