Review: Blood-C

The Blood franchise started off with a terrible movie, which spawned a very enjoyable, long anime series (Blood+), which has spawned a second series, this time in collaboration with CLAMP and so was named Blood-C.  Since I really enjoyed Blood+ and have a long-standing love of CLAMP, I had really high expectations from this show.  I will say right up front that overall, I was disappointed, but not so terribly that I hated it.  I still enjoyed watching the show, though I found it problematic and had a lot of bleh moments.

First, the premise is similar to all the other Blood titles.  The main character, always named Saya, is a dark-haired school girl whose eyes turn red when she goes all vampire-esque powerful, who spends the show violently and often grotesquely killing with a sword the monsters who attack her and other humans. In this particular version, she is a cute and Pollyanna shrine maiden (CLAMP sure does like them) who spends most of her time enjoying the company of friends at her school, the two love interests vying for her affections, breakfast at a cafe across the street from the shrine, and after school violently hunting and killing “the old ones” who eat people.

The animation was interesting and well done, backgrounds and movement clearly have good production values, with typical contemporary CLAMP character designs (so the proportions are a little odd and lanky, and the coloring dark and flat, similar to xxxHolic), and the sheer number of bleep-bars over grotesque visuals were noteworthy in this show.  Nothing as awesome as Gantz, mind you, but gory nonetheless. I adore the opening song and visuals, though they’re a bit sexier and more powerful than the main character’s personality and actions can really account for in the show itself.  The episode ending is dull, but the song alright.

The plot reminds me A LOT of M. Night Shyamalan movies, where the writer clearly has a twist in mind that they’re trying to build up to, trying to create a foil between what things seem and what things are,  but exactly like Shyamalan sometimes it’s great (like in The Sixth Sense) but sometimes, it’s really bad, and gets old and bad fast (like The Happening and the Village). Blood-C isn’t quite as bad as The Happening, but it’s pretty down there. The directing is terrible.  Not in a shot-for-shot way (which is rather well done, actually). Someone needed to look at the storyboards for the big picture and say “hey, this is not a good progression. The tension is weak and predictable– the characterization is lacking and the episodes need more originality.”  So blame rests with the writers as well, sadly. They also use a cryptic voice-over and cuts to a dark room filled with Galileo thermometers to try and establish the intrigue and to foil Saya’s seemingly bright shiny everyday life, and to try and foreshadow the dramatic end, but they waaaaaay overused it and relied too heavily on it.  Also, cryptic, vague, musing voice-overs are not good storytelling, and get old fast.  They happen all the time, give us absolutely no information, are extremely repetitive, and frankly, I thought they made the show drag and felt heavy-handed.  Personally, I feel like it would have build up much more suspense if the viewer was in on the twist far sooner than the protagonist, because it seemed confusing and unbelievable the way it was all jam crammed in the end. There were vague hints that something was up, and that was interesting, but I think they could have done a much better job with a lot of things, overall.

Nifty thermometers + abstract voice overs /= good anime

Speaking of the end, it doesn’t.  The show leaves off on right after a CLAMP-tastic moment (it’s all fun and games until CLAMP…) that seemed like a bad knock-off of the tokyo arc of Tsubasa to me, and then the end is suppose to come in a movie to be released later.  Overall, the show seems like CLAMP recycled a lot of characters and plot points from their previous work and barfed them out, then some foolish executives/editors okayed them (though I will say I clapped and squeed when I realized the crossover, I was SO VERY excited).  I smelled Kobato remix straight off and did not like that. Alternately, CLAMP was  creatively stifled by the constraints of working within an existing genre, and it didn’t make for the lovely synthesis that I hoped for.

Anyway, speaking of Kobato, it’s similar in quality and plot progression were Kobato more gory than X. If you like CLAMP, you’ll enjoy Blood-C.  If you don’t have very strict plot demands, you’ll be able to enjoy blood-C.  If you’re interested in blood and gore and fighting chicks with swords, you’ll enjoy Blood-C.  If you just really like the Blood franchise, watch this.  If these things don’t apply to you, as I think will be the case with the majority of people, it probably isn’t worth your time to watch Blood-C. It’s one big lost opportunity, though I am looking forward to seeing the movie and the ending, though this time I have no hopes and so can’t be disappointed.

Blood+ Forgets How Poverty Works

So, I’m watching Blood+ and consuming it’s vampy goodness like a madwoman this week… Yes, I know, I’m a little behind the times.  But a show about vampires?    All I knew about it was that a lot of people liked it and that it was about vampires.  Bleh… I thought.  Most vampire things are filled with teenage angst, OH-NO-SMEXY-VAMPIRE-DON’T-SULTRY-SUCK-ON-MY-NECK, and “Who want’s to live forever?“  and I knew it wouldn’t even be hilariterrible like Vampire Knight. I also knew it had something to do with Blood: The Last Vampire (and wasn’t that a crap shoot?). So it wasn’t high on my priorities of things to watch.  I was like, ehn.  I’ll get around to it.

But I was at a party and someone recognized “Fuuma” as an anime name and then identified themselves as someone who watches anime (the shocking and pleasant event that is), and I couldn’t talk to them about their favorite because it was Blood+.  I had to rectify that!

Okay, anyway, I’m voraciously ripping through the much much better than I expected show and have gotten to the final climactic battle between Saya and Diva.  And all the supporting protagonists have an OH SHIT meeting (in ep. 46) where they explain the horrible ramifications of Diva’s plan (Speaking of which, it was never really Diva and it was always Amshel, so why were they always like DIVA YOU BITCH? Anyway…)

So the find out that AMSHEL (why is it Diva’s fault? That flake couldn’t set up a bioengineering lab to save her life) has created a drug of some sort that causes people to turn into the monster-esque vampires if they also hear Diva’s song. And that OH SHIT, the pharmaceutical corporation that is a front for AMSHEL’S (not Diva’s, dammit) evil villainy has been distributing food supplies all around the globe to the poor and war torn countries of the world.  And then THOSE BASTARDS are going to have a big-deal performance by Diva of her song that will be satellite broadcast worldwide. Setting off DOOM AND DESTRUCTION OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

But they say about 3% of the world’s population has ingested the drug-laden products, and that now, thanks to this live broadcast, 100% of them, i.e. one-in-30 people will then turn into the vampires

And I was like, Really? Because the places that need food and the places that have TVs are not the same places, even if you’re Oh-so-very-impressively satellite broadcasting worldwide. Even then, wouldn’t they need either a satellite receiver on their TV, cable tv access, or a local station that antenna broadcast to pick up and redistribute the feed?

Look. Below is a lovely graphic from Wikipeia showing the amount of TVs there are per person in each of the countries around the world.  You will notice the more industrialized nations of Japan and America have some of the darkest (therefore highest amount of access).

And then below here is another map showing the density of people who are in need of food by country.

It’s pretty obvious that worldwide, there is a negative correlations between the amount of hungry people and the amount of TVs. Because places that have trouble with food sure as shit don’t have the time and money to build television stations, fancy satellite broadcast receiving equipment, and other expensive electronic leisure activities that industrialized nations have ingrained in their everyday lives.

Which is strange to me because I distinctly remember that when Riku and Kai were in the poor areas of Vietnam looking for Saya in episode 9 and this exact topic came up IN THE SHOW.  Riku is talking to Mui about how he likes to play video games more than baseball, and Mui is like, OMG, you must be rich to have your own video game!

Because yeah.  In her world, you would have to be pretty loaded to have everything that you would need to play video games, whereas in Riku’s background, they’re common everyday things.

So I’m extra weirded out that 35 episodes later the writer(s) seem to have forgotten that fact. So I was like, oh, yeah this plan is probably still a threat an all, but not nearly as problematic as ya’ll are making this out to be.  Thank god they didn’t stick to the free candy bars and ice cream samples in industrialized nations where there are a lot of TVs, or this really would be the disaster you’re touting it as.