Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blood Lad – season 1 – review

Director: Shigeyuki Miwa

First aired: 2013

Contains spoilers

Anime can be a funny old beast, but despite that I do like it. A lot of recent vampire related anime has fallen into the Harem genre and shōjo styles (with the exception of the marvellous Shiki)

Blood lad eschews these genre and it is just an action anime with some comedic overtones – though that comedy does stray towards panty and breast humour. That said the series is also self-referential and so these jokes actually work, especially when main character Staz (Ryōta Ōsaka) is involved as he is an otaku for human goods, especially Japanese anime and manga.

Fuyumi and Staz
It is with Staz we start. He is the boss of a district on the east Side of Demon World. He is phoned by his lieutenant Dek (Taichi Yonesu) who has found a human, Fuyumi Yanagi (Iori Nomizu), who has wandered into the demon world through a portal. Staz is incredibly excited and feels his bloodlust building, when he is distracted by a rival who challenges him for his territory. He defeats the attacker but, in the meantime, a carnivorous plant has eaten Fuyumi and she is now a ghost. Staz (eventually) pledges to bring her back to life.

Wolf Daddy
This lead to a convoluted journey, over ten episodes, that sees Staz meeting characters such as Bell (Sarah Emi Bridcutt) – a spatial magic user – and having to face his own past. Vampires are noble demons – indeed we discover, later, that his father had been king of the demon world before being killed and usurped by the werewolf Wolf-Daddy (Norio Wakamoto). Staz’ brother, Braz (Ryohei Kimura), experimented on his younger brother – trying to unlock his magical potential and then sealing it with a magic bullet to the heart – and as such is not trusted by Staz who ran away from the Acropolis (the elite Demon area) to the normal Demon World.

a vampire
Staz does have his powers unlocked but – despite being called vampires and being blood orientated – there isn’t a huge amount of lore to discuss. We so get the idea that vampire saliva contains a property that can control humans – indeed, on a brief sojourn to the human world, Stax sprays people with a bottle filled with it. However this is mentioned in episode 2 and then vanishes off the radar, mainly because the rest of the series is in the Demon World and it doesn’t work on demons.

The vampires are massively powerful, as are the full werewolves – Staz has a mongrel friend/rival called Wolf (Takuma Terashima), who is abandoned by Wolf Daddy, his father, because he is a bastard born of a lower creature. We get no idea about apotropaic measures through the series, but note that it is taking the heart that can finally kill a vampire. We do discover that Braz can control his own blood and use it as a weapon, even over great distances, but this seems to be an individual power.

The series was quite good. The humour felt uneasy (and unnecessarily sleazy) in places, getting more confident when it was referential, but generally balanced nicely with the action. Overall the series doesn’t answer much, indeed by the end its purpose seems to be solely to set up the next season. However it did work, it wasn’t boring and it kept attention. The animation was as good as one would expect nowadays but didn’t really do anything spectacular.

6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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