Blood+ – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Blood+

 

Related: Blood: The Last Vampire (same setting)

Blood-C (same setting)

Similar: Claymore

Ga-Rei: Zero

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Vampire Action Drama

Length: 50 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Quality visuals and audio, music in particular.
  • The familial element.

Negatives:

  • The plodding pace doesn’t work with the action setup.
  • Not enough action for an action series.
  • Wimpy protagonist tires one before long.
  • Gives away many of its mysteries by presenting the answer first, build-up second.

Blood+ is the second anime in the Blood franchise. With this iteration, the creators went for a long series where they hoped to develop the characters and world further than before. Did they succeed? Nyehhh

Like every entry in the Blood franchise, Blood+ follows a girl named Saya, chosen one in the fight against Chiropterans, demons that feed on blood and disguise as humans. Saya lives with her foster family and suffers from amnesia, until one night, a Chiropteran attacks her. A man with a cello case full of weapons comes to her rescue, reawakening her lost memories and combat training.

The narrative sets up action in the first episode, which last two minutes in the second episode. Then it’s slow paced talking. The next real action isn’t until the twelfth episode, with only a brief scene in between. For an action series, the fights sure are scarce. I get the impression that the writers started with an action focus, then added the dialogue and investigation side of things (almost as if they were compensating for the overly action orientated original), but forgot to go back to check the balance of each element. Action has dissolved into dialogue. It doesn’t help that that the backstory is frontloaded. Where is the mystery? What’s the point of the amnesia angle if they tell us the answer to begin with? The same happens with the investigation. The plot line of a journalist and detectives investigating the disappearances of dead bodies takes a significant amount of screen time (more than the action), feigning this great mystery, except…the writers gave the answer before this thread even started. And then when it comes to the “shocking” reveal, they pretend the audience hadn’t known the answer all along. The writers have no understanding of suspense – not putting the answer before the question is a good start.

Saya is a pathetic protagonist. She’s a chosen one who refuses to fight, a wimp. Not for a few episodes, as is adequate with a hero thrust into power and responsibility, no, she does nothing for the majority of the fifty-episode run. Her plot line is all mopey from the gate; in a chosen one action series, that should be reserved for the third act when all seems lost. Why is she the only one capable of defeating these vampires to begin with? All that is special about her is her toxic blood to vampires. So what? This doesn’t mean others can’t fight more competently. Why does she only fight with a sword? The vampires aren’t immune to all but her sword. Hell, the vampire that guards her seems capable – she’s just a liability. Every episode, someone has to tell her that she is the chosen one and acts like it’s startling news…

What I do like about Saya’s thread is the familial element. Having the family around her adds a level of humanity to the story, compensating for Saya’s dreary demeanour. They didn’t need to drag it out for so long though. Like Hellsing, everything about Blood+ feels slow. Tying in the Vietnam War is a nice touch – I like it when fiction ties real world events to its narrative, making it feel more ‘real.’ However, again, it drags on for too long.

Blood+ isn’t a bad anime – the action, when it happens, is decent, the plot has several layers, a few supporting characters are good, visuals and audio are nice, but it could have done with serious tightening of the script, possibly cut half the episodes.

Art – Medium

The art is nice and action is gruesome, but lacks an overall sense of style and flair.

Sound – High

Good voice work in both languages from a great cast. The music, headed by Hans Zimmer, is a delight, particularly in the latter half of the series when tension matters. Blood+ has several openings and endings, a couple of which are catchy, while another couple are awful.

Story – Medium

The story of a girl destined to fight monsters sets up an anime of action and horror. Unfortunately, the pace drags, plot twists come before the set-up, and action scenes are too few.

Overall Quality – Medium

Recommendation: Blood+ is a decent vampire anime for those who like [very] measured development.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None.

Negative: 

MisleadingPoor Pacing

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