WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 8 of The Vampire Dies in No Time, currently streaming on Funimation.
The Vampire Dies in No Time is a comedy anime about Draluc and Ronaldo, a vampire and vampire hunter who live together. The series' most iconic character might be Draluc's armadillo familiar, John. Searching for the series on Twitter and Tumblr reveals countless memes and comments celebrating the cuteness of John's character. Episode 8 of the comedy puts John's gentle nature to the test as he gets thrown into a dangerous adventure, but it also reveals that the armadillo is just as popular within the universe as he is outside of it.
John ventures to buy bean jam pancakes, but a farcical series of misunderstandings results in him getting kidnapped by Nagiri Tsujigiri, the fearsome vampire Draluc unwittingly defeated in Episode 5. The armadillo's adventure grows more dangerous as a spider-like vampire, who is responsible for a series of children's disappearances, joins the mix. Throughout it all, John remains resolutely kind and forgiving -- and though he doesn't have a vampiric bite, his personality is arguably just as infectious.
When John is late returning from his errand to get the pancakes for himself and his roommates, Ronaldo worries that he has been kidnapped. Draluc laughs this off, prompting Ronaldo to accuse him of being inhumane. It often seems like Ronaldo cares about John more than Draluc does, but a different interpretation supported by this scene is that Draluc knows better how resilient John is. Draluc and Ronaldo are like parents, each with a different idea about what's best for him. John uses a payphone to tell Draluc that he will be home late, but a moth scares him away.
Draluc mistakes this for John being kidnapped, and Ronaldo rallies the vampire hunters' guild and the vampire control agency to find him. John's fan club and the convenience store employees from Episode 1 join the search. It is heartwarming yet hilarious that John has somehow earned such a huge number of fans. The fact that Draluc has no idea who the fan club members are, despite John being his familiar, shows how the scale of John's popularity has grown beyond even his awareness.
When his disappearance is announced publicly, John is chased away by two kids who want to get the reward money. He is ultimately forced to board a train to get away from a flock of "Old-Man-Legs Ostriches," but as he runs away he makes sure to tap his card on the scanner as leaps over the barrier. John's refusal to board for free even when running for his life is another expression of his golden personality. Voice actor Mutsumi Tamura (Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Naruto) does an incredible job conveying John's pride, distress and relief with nothing more than a series of well-timed and emotionally charged "nu" sounds.
John is soon, ironically, kidnapped by Nagiri. The vampire is genuinely terrifying as he creates weapons with his own blood. He wants to kill John as revenge since he blames Draluc for resulting in the loss of his immortality. The convenience store workers spot the pair, loudly alerting the rest of the search party. Nagiri ultimately decides to leave John behind, prioritizing his safety over his pride. John pats Nagiri's hood with his paw, prompting him to respond, "Don't try to console me." This is another example of John's exceptional kindness, comforting even the kidnapper who wanted to kill him. The fact that Nagiri rejects it sets him apart from John's legion of fans. This makes his later actions even more surprising and meaningful.
At this moment, a giant spider monster with unnervingly human arms appears and kidnaps John. Nagiri quickly realizes that this is the vampire that has been kidnapping children in Shin-Yokohama, and that the search party still believes Nagiri has John. This means they might blame Nagiri for both crimes. For completely selfish reasons, Nagiri has no choice but to rescue the beloved armadillo.
John and the children are wrapped up in spider web cocoons reminiscent of Demon Slayer's "Natagumo Mountain" arc. The Spider Monster grabs John and tries to inject him with venom. Nagiri bursts in, decapitating the Spider Monster with one of his blood blades. He curses himself for "acting like a hunter," and threatens John not to tell anyone as he shakes his paws placatingly. Even so, John tugs on Nagiri's cloak and offers him one of the pancakes.
Draluc, Ronaldo, and the others arrive at the Spider Monster's hideout. As the other hunters free the children, a tearful Draluc calls out to John and runs towards him. Draluc holds John close to his face. Given the dangerous experiences Draluc has put John through, it's good to be reminded of their overall positive and mutually supportive relationship with this subtle scene. Ronaldo also comforts John, another reminder that in the short period of time they have known each other, Ronaldo has come to care for him just as much.
Nagiri is shown eating his pancake. Even accepting John’s reward might mean that the armadillo’s thoughtful personality has rubbed off on Nagiri somewhat. This is itself endearing as it suggests that the intimidating vampire has a soft side. He complains that the pancake has gone cold. This final observation punctuates John's odyssey with a reminder of how long it must have been since John first bought the pancakes, and how far he has strayed from his simple mission of bringing them home.