Slayers, executioners, and romance—Buffy Summers, a teenage girl from California, and Anita Blake, a college graduate working with a police task force, have more in common than their power to slay vampires without breaking a sweat.
Buffy Summers, the once typical popular girl, was called to her role as the Slayer by fate when the current slayer died. Anita Blake was born with her powers as a necromancer eventually finding out that she is the most powerful “true” necromancer of her time. Anita and Buffy fight vampires for slightly different reasons; to the vampires, Buffy is the Slayer and Anita is The Executioner. Buffy’s abilities include increased fighting strength, speedy healing, quick reflexes, and predictive dreams. Anita’s abilities include necromancy, excellent marksmanship, and she develops increased stamina as she gains vampiric powers through her metaphysical ties with the vampires. They are formidable opponents to the monsters they face, and although they are not perfect, they both represent heroes that struggle to use their powers to help others. Both their stories follow their internal struggles as they learn to control and use their abilities, and redefining right and wrong. Anita and Buffy both try to run from their destiny, but soon find that their lives aren’t “normal” unless they’re paranormal.
As Buffy and Anita try to figure out how to separate their personal lives from their abilities, they both develop relationships with people who they would have once considered solely the enemy. Their relationships—both romantic and platonic—with vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures once again challenge their beliefs. As Buffy’s romance with Angel, and later other vampires, grows, her friends question where her allegiance lies. Anita Blake endures the same questioning by her fellow U.S. Marshals when they realize she has become involved with the preternatural. Anita’s lovers are ultimately what help her keep her humanity, ironically because none of them are just human. She is resistant to romantic involvement of any kind at first, but once she accepts them their human emotions and connections to her ground her in reality and help her cope with the monsters.
Romance, friendship, and the force of evil of the week are all the forefront of the adventures of Buffy and Anita. Each trail they endure also carries a deeper meaning behind it. Learning how to cope with the loss of loved ones, dealing with authority, emotional struggles, are all underlying themes that are meant to be taught through the experiences of the characters. In the first few seasons, Buffy falls in love with the vampire with a soul, Angel, and after they sleep together for the first time, Angel loses his soul. Although in the universe we live in nobody loses their soul after sex, this is just one way to show the potential consequences and the emotions Buffy went through after losing Angel. When she goes off to college, she is faced with a group of vampires who steal her belongings thinking they’ve killed her. She worries about bugging her old high school friends and if she will be able to defeat these vampires, saying that everything is different and more difficult now. Her friends come through for her and she is able to slay the vampires, but besides the slayer aspect, these are all normal fears going into college, or really any drastic life change.
Anita Blake faces many of the same metaphorical demons as Buffy, one of the constant issues she battles is wondering if she is becoming more like a monster, as Buffy has wondered many times through the series. When Anita is forced to torture her opponent to find the location of her then-boyfriend’s kidnapped family, she knows that it was the only way to save them, but wonders if she loses pieces of herself in the process.