Blood-C Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Blood-C is a weekly television anime series starting in July 2011, the most recent in the Blood: The Last Vampire series. Saya is a normal girl, albeit a bit naive and kind-hearted. Under the guidance of her father, the head of a local shrine, she engages in bloody battles against supernatural beings.
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ep. tl;dr review: It’s the McDLT of Anime: Keep the hot side hot, and the cold side cold!
Episode Summary: Saya is a bright, cheerful, kind-hearted but clumsy girl, living with her father in a local shrine, spending the days in class laughing and playing around with her good friends. But when she returns back home for the evening, her father has a dark task for her. Entrusting Saya with a sacred sword, she confronts an “Elder Bairn” in a local marsh, a demon taking the form of a deadly stone statue. In a protracted and bloody battle, Saya displays inhuman strength and resolve to defeat the creature, returning home to her doting father.
My Impressions: Before jumping into Blood-C, a bit of history. This is not the first time we’ve seen Saya Kisaragi; she made her first appearance in the 2000 short animated film Blood: The Last Vampire. It was a very dark, brooding, bloody movie that pushed the boundaries of what anime could be at the time, more of an atmospheric piece that was more about mood than story. Saya was an incredibly dark, emotionless and mysterious fighter, battling bat-like demons on a military base in Japan.
Fast-forward to 2005, when there was a 50-episode series Blood+, which was only tangentially related to the film. I watched one, maybe two episodes but it didn’t interest me to keep watching and I haven’t been interested to go back and check it out. And now 2011 rolls around with Blood-C, which is yet another iteration of the franchise featuring Saya, also with little connection to the original film, it seems. Remake, Take Two?
In any case, I trying to set all of the previous history of Blood aside and judge this series on its own merits, as if I know nothing about it. And with that frame of mind…it doesn’t look too good.
Blood-C is divided into two separate halves, which are like Day and Night. Quite literally. The first half of the show is all bright and sunny and cheerful as Saya prances around seemingly without a care in the world. She’s very kind-hearted, annoyingly happy, singing as she saunters to school like some mind-numbing Disney movie, getting teased by her classmates (including a pair of disgustingly saccharine twins doing their best Bonbori and Hozuki impression). I could practically feel my brain shedding IQ points as I watched. Hopeless, I thought.
But as dusk approaches, the mood quickly turns and turns dour. Back at the shrine, Saya is given her marching orders, heading off to battle in the marshes. At first she faces off an apparently immobile stone statue, that is until the statue starts hovering around the surface of the water, sprouting sharpened claws, and giving Saya a run for her money. But she’s no slouch, clearly experienced and endowed with superhuman endurance and strength, deftly wielding her sword and finally dispatching the creature in a shower of blood. It isn’t explained what is really going on, we’re only left guessing as to the reason for the battle or what forces are at play.
I get that the whole point of this dichotomy is to show the two completely different sides of Saya, two entirely separate lives that she is keeping separate. I’m sure that much of the series will involve attempts by the darker side to encroach on the bright, sunny, human side and Saya’s battle to prevent that from happening. The only question is whether the show remains interesting enough to keep watching before we reach that point.
Also of note is that the artwork and character designs are by the manga supergroup CLAMP. Truth be told, I have always disliked CLAMP; not that there is any one specific style since it’s a collective of different artists, but there are certain artistic themes throughout that bug me. The character designs are truly awful, the gawky, impossibly long limbs bother me every time. Mind you, the sub-par artwork is not what is going to make or break the show — it’s the story and plot.
The verdict: – passing grade for now
- Series preview on Youtube.
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- If you like this, you might also like: xxxHolic. But if you want to watch a vampire-related show that is actually worth watching, try Shiki instead.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Moral of the story, if you’re expecting this incarnation to be anything like any of the BLOOD franchise you’ll be disappointed. Saya is pretty much Sakura from Cardcaptor, only with big black pigtails and a giant samurai sword. The supporting cast dosen’t help either, they’re all pretty much a big fat yawn. Okay, pettiness of not liking the new Saya aside, if there’s anything CLAMP has gotten right is that the action scenes turned out half way decent.” – Rabbit Poets
- “Well, I’m glad to see both CLAMP and Production I.G. are continuing their traditions; Production I.G. of having awesome animation, and CLAMP for making characters who look like they’re nine feet tall and weigh about 100 pounds.” – The Notaku Blog
- “The first half of the episode spent way too much time trying to make her seem irritatingly cute by having her sing and play with puppies, but she redeemed herself a bit when she started kicking butt. Which really makes me wonder how she can fight so well when she can’t take two steps without tripping all over herself, but whatever.” – Sekijitsu
- “Ugh, when I said that Blood-C would be a hit-or-miss in my season preview, I was expecting more of a “hit” than a “miss. But dang, this episode was just terrible. Let’s not even mention the mediocre animation, but the plot here is nonsensical as of now. The characters also are completely forgettable as of now, and the “serious atmosphere” in this episode was a joke. Grade: 6.0/10.” – Emory Anime Club
- “This was totally not what I expected. When I heard Clamp was doing the story for the series, I was expecting some seriously deep characters and a very awesome dark take on Blood+, more along the lines of their mind numbing stuff. If the first episode is an indication of the quality of the series, then I am so totally not even watching this.” – Anime Evo
- “In all honesty, the first episode failed to make a strong impression on me one way or the other. For an I.G. series it looks rather flat and washed-out – are they in a slump? The combat scene in the swamp is well-animated, though the CG isn’t especially integrated smoothly into the whole…There were amusing moments, but the humor was somewhat awkward. Right now, this marriage of styles feels a bit rough to me.” – Lost in America
- “Oh boy! Talk about a standard set for the rest of the season. This episode was rock-solid in every single way. Even the Noitamina series are going to have their hands full on trying to come close to the level of detail in this episode. Potential: 95%.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “My biggest problem with this show (aside from my aversion to Clamp) is Saya. She helps old ladies, picks up trash in the street, is clumsy, and in love with her dad (and probably with Doumeki too). The most popular guy in the school is hitting on her. She’s just… boring.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “The good: the samurai sword girl vs monster action, which makes up about ~25% of the show.
The not-so-good: The other 75% of the show.” – A Product of Wasted Time
- “Halfway through the episode, I get it why people are disappointed with Blood-C. It was all cutesy and smiley and stuff like that though some of the dudes in her class are pretty suspicious…It definitely gets more entertaining though as we see her performing her ‘duty’. The pace of this show suddenly becomes perfect as it sets up the mood for the end.” – Conspicuous Klux
- “I can only tell you it has the aesthetics, music, PRETTY OPENINGS YAY, and characters to become something great. We’ll see tomorrow if it’s on it’s way to generic, or if it intends to become the first BLOOD series to full utilize all of it’s materials.” – Angry Anime Bitches
- “Unfortunately, aside from admiring the nice background and Clampishly long appendages, the three minutes of fighting was the only time the episode was engaging to me. Shows don’t need to start with nonstop explosions, but they should start with something more than some bad CG and 15 minutes of Saya’s Boring Daily Life, with all past indications being that it’ll eventually become 20 minutes of Saya’s Melancholic Life” – Tenka Seiha
ROUND ONE RESULTS FOR SUMMER 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round One: Busou Shinki: Moon Angel, Blood-C
Thumbs-down for Round One: Double J
Coming up next: Mawaru Penguindrum, Morita-san wa Mukuchi, Mayo Chiki, Kamisama Dolls, Nyanpire the Animation, Carnival Phantasm, Copihan, Yuruyuri, No. 6, Sacred Seven, Dantalian no Shoka, Uta no Prince-sama, The Idolmaster, Manyuu Hikenchou, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, Kamisama no Memochou, Nekogami Yaoyorozu, Nurarihyon no Mago Second Season, Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi, Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise, Baby Princess 3-D, Natsume Yuujinchou-san, Usagi Drop, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Second Season, Rou Kyuu Bu, R-15