The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Blood+

Title: Blood+
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Production I.G
Format: 50 episodes
Dates: 8 Oct 2005 – 23 Sep 2006

Synopsis: For many generations, a shadow war has been fought between the enigmatic Red Shield organization and blood-sucking monsters known as the Chiropterans. Strong, agile and practically immortal, the Chiropterans have been restrained only because of their scant numbers; however, this dynamic changes and monster attacks begin to rise. In the midst of this danger, a story of love, hatred and betrayal is born anew after high school student Otonashi Saya is attacked by a Chiropteran and is subsequently saved by a man who hands her a samurai sword and asks her to fight.

The Highlights
Animation: Superb in the first few episodes, but levels off to mediocre over time.
Music: Amazing; get the OSTs!
Story: Collection of sub arcs that is thinly connected by a main story.
Ending: Drops the ball, trips over it and sinks into melodrama.

Blood: The Last Vampire was Production I.G‘s visual experiment that pushed borders of animation back in 2000. Blood+ is Production I.G‘s more recent attempt at an epic. The later cuts into the same vein as the former with monster slayings and government conspiracies, but what the two end up becoming can’t be more different. Whereas Blood: The Last Vampire drew accolades for its cutting edge animation, Blood+ deserves applause for being an exceptional thriller.

With a massive 50 episode count, the Blood+ series can be divided into two parts. The first is an edge-of-your-seat drama that drags you into a multilayered conspiracy full of suspense, twists and shocks. For a good chunk of the series, the animation is impeccable, and the music is nothing short of extraordinary. The plot slowly unfolds in a series of short sub arcs that continually builds and builds its mystery as the characters must constantly choose between family and survival. People die, things explode, the plot becomes oh so much thicker. The show eventually hits an almost Shakespearean turning point that completely changes the dynamics of the show… However, the change is ultimately for the worse… Far, far worse.

The tense, “I don’t know what’ll happen next” atmosphere slowly changes into a bored stupor, and the dramatic story degenerates into a shounen action anime meets soap opera melodrama. I honestly thought that the show got a new director for the later episodes since everything felt completely different. The once gripping fight scenes begins to fall into the two categories of “we’ll finish this fight next time!” or “I’ll tell you the meaning of my life as I lay here dying.” By the time the grand finale comes crashing down, it becomes obvious that Production I.G is trying too hard to create an epic finale that they lose sight of what made the show great before.

Blood+ is a show that leaves its audience with mixed feelings. The many little changes that occur in the last segment feel abrupt, and they undeniably hurt the overall experience. However, a large chunk of the show is quite entertaining to watch. There are some extraordinary moments scattered throughout the series, but don’t expect the ending to be anywhere near as amazing. Just sit back, relax and enjoy this one more for the journey than the destination.

P.S. Know that this show got its rating by a sword’s edge.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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