Do you like action, blood, gore, young teenage monster slayers in short schoolgirl skirts, complex emotional angst and the kind of melodrama that can make you cringe just by watching it?!?! Well so do I! Blood+ has all of that.
What is it All About?!?
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Although I am a fan of the OAV (similar to “direct-to-video”), Blood: the Last Vampire, it took a long time before I actually sat down to watch the anime series that it spawned, Blood+. Blood+ tells the story of Saya, her mysterious past and her mission to kill all chiropterans (vampiric, bat/beast-like creatures). Rather than trying to sum the plot of a 50 episode series in my own words, I’ll just cheat and use wiki 🙂
“Under the care of her adoptive family, Saya Otonashi has been living the life of an anemic and amnesiac, but otherwise ordinary schoolgirl. Saya’s happy life is shattered when a chiropteran attacks her. She learns that she is the only one who can defeat them.
Armed with her katana, Saya embarks on a journey with her family, allies, and her chevalier, Hagi, to rid the world of chiropteran and rediscover her identity. The course of the journey reveals the background history of the chiropterans and Saya’s very deep past, which extends into the mid-19th century.
The series is initially set in present day (September 2005) Okinawa City (Koza), on Okinawa Island, near the US Kadena Air Base. In the course of the series, Saya visits locations across the world, fighting enemy chiropteran and searching for her origins.”
What’s There to Like or Not Like About It?
Now, before anything else, I must say that I did not like this series very much. That isn’t to say it was bad. Because it wasn’t. It’s production value is high and it’s animations are good. I just thought it moved a bit too slowly. I also did not appreciate a few of the character motivations…but that’s just one of the things you have to expect when watching Japanese Animation. Also, I watched the English dub version (yes, I know, shame on me) so I might have missed a bit that was lost in translation.
Blood+ comes off as more of a supernatural thriller, rather than the action vehicle you would expect. There is action, lots of it, but less than you want and more than there should be later on. However, it’s not until later that the action sequences are more stylized.
Saya, who should be one of the absolute best, regularly gets her ass handed to her. The action is somewhat uneven as well. One of the bad guys might seem awesomely powerful and it looks like he can give any one of the heroes a run for their money…but later, one of our heroes will be right on par with him. There are many examples of that throughout the series and it can be a bit of a turn-off when you see it happen.
I think the reason I didn’t like it all that much is because it pales in comparison to its source material. It has been a while since I watched Blood: the Last Vampire, but I remember it being much, much more engaging and intelligent than Blood+.
Yes, I am aware that I’m being particularly ambiguous with the details, but I really don’t want to give anything away. Blood+ is full of mystery (who is Saya? Why can’t she remember? What are the Chiropterans? How come only Saya’s blood can kill them? Etc) and it’s nice to see the story unfold. It’s just unfortunate that the storytelling was so up and down. The plot does not move along in a satisfying way. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it’s slow, and sometimes…it’s non-existent.
Here is the final word on Blood+: Watch the first few episodes or the full first season and see how you like it. Like I said, it wasn’t bad, it’s definitely something you can get into, it just leaves a lot to be desired.
Where Can You Get It?
Less expensive, but less episodes are the “Volume” editions which have about 5 episodes each starting with Blood+: Vol 1 – however, all of the episodes have not been released yet. It’s only up to Vol. 4, which ends with episode 20.
These are good if you just want to check out Blood+ in good quality, but don’t want to commit to getting a full box set.
You can pretty much watch the whole entire series in a lower quality (with ads) for free on Crackle: http://www.crackle.com/c/Blood – if the ads bother you, you may want to try something like Adblock Plus 😉
More information on the Blood+ anime and manga can be found on wikipedia of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood%2B