Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blade – the anime – review

Director: Mitsuyuki Masuhara

First aired: 2011

Contains spoilers

I really wanted to like this, I truly did. Blade was one of four Marvel Anime series produced for the Japanese market in 2011 – it is due to have a re-dub and be released in the US – and ran alongside Iron man, Wolverine and the X-Men. I haven’t seen the others but this review is of the Japanese release with English subtitles.

As I say I really wanted to like this, I love the Blade franchise but this just didn’t float my boat. The series follows Blade (Akio Ohtsuka) as he travels through Japan and other Far Eastern countries tracking down Deacon Frost (Tsutomu Isobe) – the vampire who turned his mother and gave Blade the curse of vampirism – albeit as a daywalker.

Blade's mother bitten
We get the background to Blade through the series – his past transposed to England, where he was found and helped by Noah Van Helsing (Osamu Saka), who developed the serum Blade uses to keep his blood thirst at bay and appears in occasional episodes of the anime (and also loans Blade his vampire hunting Dog, Razor). Blade is also accompanied by young vampire hunter Makoto (Maaya Sakamoto). At first she hunts Blade as he killed her father, after he was turned, but later they become vampire hunting partners.

fighting a Suikou
As I say their hunt takes them across Asia and, as such, we meet a variety of local vampires including Suikou, a feline based vampire that I can’t find a corresponding myth for, the Mandurugos, which is an aswang variant and is depicted as a bird like vampire, and the Manananggal, notorious for splitting its body in half. All work for Existence, Frost’s vampire network, and the series suggests that he has genetically manipulated these creatures into existence. Frost’s goal is to supplant the purebloods and become ruler of the world (and use Blade to create a daywalking strain of vampires).

Deacon Frost
One thing that was nice was that the series did go into Frost’s backstory and revealed a college professor who lost his son to vampires and sought revenge on them. In some respects he is not unlike Blade, but Frost clearly went mad, infected himself with vampirism (a strain he created, that has given him a distinctive four fanged bite) and twisted into megalomania. The normal Blade vampire rules seem to be in place with regards silver, beheading, staking and sunlight. They allergy to garlic has been removed but, whilst religion is not a normal factor, a shaman blesses some water which causes it to be deadly to vampires.

Blade and Wolverine
The purebloods seem arrogant but not actually effectual (though we discover they use familiar bats, giving a crap bat moment). Part way through the series Blade does run into Wolverine (Rikiya Koyama) but this is not as fun as it might have been and, I’m afraid, that is the moto for the entire series… not as fun as it might have been. The series bobbed along but never really carried me with it. Instead I forced myself to follow it downstream. Whilst accepting that Blade is meant to be stoic, I never really bought in to the other characters.

The animation itself was nothing to write home about either. So much more could have been done with both the animation and the story and it seemed a bit of a shame that nothing more was done with it. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Bill D. Courtney said...

Merry Christmas Andy. Take care.


Taliesin_ttlg said...

Same to you and Ivy, Bill