Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blood-c –review

Directed by: various

Release date: 2011

Contains spoilers

In the beginning there was Blood the last Vampire, it was beautiful but story bereft and was later remade into a poor live action film also called Blood the Last Vampire. Beyond the ultimately pointless live action film there was a wonderfully flawed reimagining of the OVA in series form entitled Blood+. At its best it was great anime, but it was overlong and suffered pacing issues.

Now we have a new member of the Blood family – Blood-c. Like its predecessors it is flawed. It was also almost an honourable mention rather than a review. It does feature main character Saya (Nana Mizuki), however in this she is given the familial name of Kisaragi, she lives at a temple with her father Tadayoshi (Keiji Fujiwara). By day she goes to school and is an interminably happy soul who seems oblivious to any romantic overtures classmates might make and is often late because she likes to help old people and animals.

temple maiden
She is also a temple maiden and, at night, her father has her hunt down monsters. These are not the chiropterans of previous incarnations but furukimono, translated as Elder Bairns (on the DVD) or ancient ones. These feed on humans but take a variety of forms and they actually reminded me of yokai. It seems that Saya is still the ‘last vampire’, her eye becomes red with a slit pupil when enraged in battle and she heals quickly but, beyond this, the vampire background seems lost.

injured furukimono
At first the series becomes formulaic with Saya fighting a furukimono each episode and being given coffee and a marshmallow treat called Gumauve by unusually pleasant café owner Fumito (Kenji Nojima). She meets a talking creature (which she assumes is a dog) who seemingly is there to grant her a wish and is trying to jog her memories. Each battle becomes tougher and more and more locals are drawn into the battles, being killed as food for the furukimono – eventually this impacts her school friends. Later we hear that, like chiropterans, the furukimono require massive blood loss in order to die.

eyes turn red
This formulaic approach, without any explanation of why Saya has lost her memories, makes for poor watching. However the series pays off towards the end as the truth is revealed and we discover that Saya had been captured and the whole town is a fake, created to experiment on her with the promise that – if she retains or regains her original personality – the antagonist of the series will help her regain the ability to devour humans (something she had lost somehow).

We discover that she still drinks blood – though it is the blood of the furukimono. We hadn’t seen it because, whilst she drank after each battle, the antagonist had ensured that she had no memory of doing so.

reminiscent of yokai
The end of the series was marvellous but it took time for it to get there. The formulaic beginning might have worked on a fresh franchise (though I doubt it) but because it was tagged onto the blood franchise I felt it made the viewer impatient as we wondered about Saya and waited for the reveal of why she was behaving as she was (in contrast, Blood+ had an amnesia aspect but we saw much more of what had happened to her early on, making the more drawn out reveals much less frustrating).

5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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