Blood+: anime review

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Title: Blood+
Genre: horror, action, sci-fi, fantasy, drama
Released date: October 8, 2005 – September 23, 2006
Episode: 50
Director: Junichi Fujisaku
Animated by: Production I.G, Aniplex
Comment: Blood+ is loosely based on the famous Blood: The Last Vampire which I didn’t find it to my liking. But without hesitation, I give this anime series a try since any story involving a beautiful, katana wielding, blood thirsty vampire in high school uniform battling monsters is always interesting to me regardless of its original source.

The series consists of 50 episodes which can be roughly divided into two part; the first half and the second half. Typically, the anime introduce Saya as a seemingly normal high school girl who has lost the memory about her own past at the beginning. Her true nature starts to unfold when she encounters a blood sucking monster called the Chiropteran and she manages to kill it using her katana. After that point, Saya’s journey as a vampire who hunts and eliminates her own kind begins.

The first 25 episode acts like a very long introduction of the show. Saya and her followers including Hagi, Kai, Riku, David and many other members of The Red Shield organization are introduced. Diva, her chevaliers and the Schiff appears as the show’s antagonists. The biggest problem for this part is that the story moves very very slowly. The anime spends enormous amount of time on how Saya deals with her being a vampire. After more than ten episodes, Saya still breaks down in tears whining about her terrible fate as a vampire as if she never has a clue about the fact before. I felt like the anime greatly underestimated the viewers’ intelligence. There is hardly anything complex in Blood+. Things are so obvious but the characters still fails to notice them. The only true surprise about this first half of Blood+ is the relationship of Saya and Diva and why Saya wants to kill her. It takes only one episode to explain everything. What’s more, many characters appear to be pointless. Prominent among these are the journalist and the Mafia’s daughter (I couldn’t even remember their names!). The mafia’s daughter’s search for Kai is an utterly unnecessary subplot and the journalist’s investigation about the chiropteran is painfully boring because his investigation is not the main storyline and by the time he discovers something, the viewers already know a lot more than he does. Despite these weaknesses, the first half of Blood+ is still generally entertaining and compelling enough to make the viewers want to see what happens next. There are several great action sequences to enjoy and the final few episodes of this first half contains numerous twists and surprising revelations that can easily erase any thoughts about dropping the series.

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The second half, episode 26-50, is a completely different matter from the first since all the players are already in places. The story leaps forward and never slow its pace until the very end. The scientific explanation of the chiropterans and the D-nucleotide is one of many new interesting things introduced to the viewers. The characters start to express changes and developments. To my delight, Saya became much stronger and she stops whining during battle; she becomes the super cool female warrior I’ve always wanted to see. There are also numerous neat subplots introduced in the anime including the conspiracy of the US government to use the Chiropterans and the Corpse Corp in order to expand its power all over the world and Solomon’s decision to side with Saya, overcoming his own blood, because of love. The final showdown between Saya and Diva in the end is well built up and does not feel too rush like many animes. The conclusion is neither too happy nor sad; it feels quite convincing and it leaves some space for the viewers’ imagination. The only thing that I hate about this second half of Blood+ is the fourth opening, Raion by Jinn. It’s just horrible. The song is ruined by the annoying voice of the singer and the opening animation looks very shabby and conventional. The fourth opening is a complete opposite of the third, Colors of the Heart, which can easily be one of the best opening sequences ever with interesting hand-drawn style animation and cool rock music.

The animation is well done with fluid movement and beautiful art direction. The original score composed by Mark Mancina and produced by Hans Zimmer may contains heavy western atmosphere and more than once reminds me of the movie ‘Gladiator’ but it fits perfectly with the anime. I especially adored the theme ‘Diva’ because it is both sad and powerful. Conclusion: Blood+ is a very long anime with first class production, good characterization and interesting ideas. It is slow and unsteady at first but when things start to heat up, it is simply mind blowing. I rate the first half ‘B’ and the second half ‘B+’. Yes, that means the overall rating falls between B and B+.
Rating: B

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