Japanese Title: Blade
Similar: Hellsing Ultimate
Watched in: English & Japanese
Genre: Supernatural Vampire Action
Length: 12 Episodes
- Visual style is nice with decent atmospheric colouring; good screenshots, essentially.
- So many action clichés: Locked swords that wouldn’t lock, simultaneous jump slash followed by silence before the damage appears on both, etc.
- When the vampires burn in death, the fire looks photoshopped over the top, which is strange since the environmental fire looks good.
- High action moments experience a drop in frame rate, even going so far as to have static characters merely drift across the screen.
- The vampires are weak. A sneeze means death.
- Despite the narrative focus on the death of Blade’s mother, we get no emotional exploration.
- Squandered use of Blade.
An exasperated hiss, that is my reaction at the end of Blade. Madhouse did a poor job here in translating the Blade comics into anime. Blade is the fourth on Marvel’s anime slate, and after four attempts, they don’t seem to have learnt much, if anything at all. Here we have shallow narrative, noticeable animation shortcuts, and every action cliché imaginable.
Blade is on a mission to kill Deacon Frost, a regular villain from the comics, and his Japanese based ‘Existence’ organisation of vampires as vengeance for the death of his mother. From then on, the plot is as linear as can be, with no twists all the way. Blade teams up with another vampire hunter, Makoto, out for revenge for the death of her father. Together, they carve their way through hordes of vampires…with ease. Immediately, we have a problem. The vampires are weak! They die to a sneeze. Blade gets more resistance from the wind than from the vampires as he slices through. He could slash at the air for more of a challenge than these vampires. Deacon Frost and a couple of others are the only real vampiric challenge; however, they never explain why they are more powerful than the others. The story never explores anything beneath the surface. Blade finally confronts his mother’s killer? Meh, just another bad guy. What are the villains’ motivations? Eh, who cares; it’s not like depth matters. Instead, they waste time on calling out ability names.
This laziness is prevalent in every facet of Blade. The animation for instance, loses much of its frame rate during action sequences, even to the point where the animation stops altogether and the characters just slide across the screen. When Blade executes a flurry of attacks, half the time, rather than show off this fluid animation of him dancing between enemies, carving them to shreds, they chose to have still shots flash in sequence minimal detail. Only in the finale does anything interesting happen on the visual spectrum.
Blade is a dull anime and a squandered opportunity with the comic lore. Even after all said above, it still feels worse than that, worse than the sum of its parts from the disappointment at this anime.
Art – Medium
Nice style ruined by low frame rate action and so many static shots.
Sound – Low
Mere passable voice work lacking in nuance of better anime. Generic action music.
Story – Low
A bog standard action plot of a vampire hunter hunting a vampire that looks no deeper than the surface.
Overall Quality – Low
Recommendation: Read the comics instead. Wasted chance to create an alternative take on Blade mythos.
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