June 28, 2010 Leave a comment
Anime Me! #10: Blood +
The Blood+ 50 episode anime series premiered in Japan on October 8, 2005 with a new episode airing weekly until September 2006. The series was directed by Junichi Fujisaku and features original character designs by Chizu Hashii. Now initially ratings for the anime began to drop, but eventually in December 2005, Blood+ was one of several anime series selected as being a “recommended as an excellent work” at the 9th annual Japanese Media Arts Festival. The series was ranked #41 on TV Asahi’s list of top 100 favorite anime series for 2006.
The original story was inspired by a stand alone anime called Blood: The Last Vampire. While there are very few elements that are the same between each, it is quite clear the characters and basic premise from Blood: The Last Vampire was attempted to be explored and evolved in Blood +. Each season has separate opening and ending themes from a variety of artists, with the final episode using the season one ending theme.
Now first and foremost. It may seem like your average hack and slash, “villain of the week” type anime. I will admit there is a lot of violence in this anime. But it is not used as a crutch to hide a poor story. Rather it is used as a tool to help move the story forward. A very interesting and detailed story, from beginning to end.
Using the anime movie as a mysterious back story. 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 she is attacked by a chiropteran, the demons from the movie. 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 Okinawa City, 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.
As stated it is a decent and detailed story, very rare for anime. On top of that, the 50 episode length is very convenient, and is enough to tell the story in a way where it doesn’t seem rushed, nor drawn out as others I have reviewed here.
It must be said, that there are a few twists and turns that help develop the main characters into what they are meant to be. But it is still not for the feint of heart. The story is told in a grown-up way. Not every action that is taken is a positive one, nor do the “good-guys” always win. There will be a point where a decision is made that inadvertantly sacrifices a character. There is no magic potion, no redo button, the story is told as life. You must live with your decisions. I will have to admit this will cause viewers to be astonished and heartbroken. Some of these decisions will effect the characters, just like real life decisions would.
For a story, or in this instance, an anime, to do this…is classic story telling at it’s best.