Blood-C ~ 3 episode taste test

July 23, 2011

The setting: a remote village in Japan.

Blood-C isn’t one of the shows that I was most eagerly looking forward to this season. It does, however, have an interesting pedigree, so I have watched the first three episodes to see how it turned out. Short answer: I am intrigued, but still unsure where this one is going. As the title of this post suggests, this review was written after watching episodes 1 through 3.

I just can't look at this image and not see Touya and Yukito.

I mentioned this show has quite the pedigree. It is the third in the Blood franchise, being set in the Blood universe, but not necessarily continuing the storyline (at least not in a direct way). I never watched Blood or Blood+, so I can’t comment on this further. The animation production company is Production I.G., who have produced many great works. I won’t comment further on this either, as either you know them, or you should. The third impressive part of Blood-C’s background is that the story and character design were done by CLAMP, who you should also know. CLAMP are known not only for the many great works they have produced, or for their interesting business model (a group of women who have been working together for 30 years, almost always in a single room). They also have a very distinctive visual style, and have developed the CLAMP universe, that is, certain characters crossover, or sometimes have alternate lives, in different CLAMP projects.

Now some people dislike CLAMP, and one reason occasionally cited is this reappearance of characters. I guess people feel this is “cheating”, or self-indulgent. I, personally, really like it. It fits with my own ideas of re-incarnation without the transmigration of souls. That is, instead of people dying, after which their souls move on to a new host, the same people appear in many places, even at the same time. Although they may lack awareness of their alternate incarnations (that is they do not share memories), their personalities come through.

What Nono and Nene don't seem to understand, is that it is always these quiet little villages where the most horrific things occur.

So far this show is founded upon two contradictory sides of Saya, and the village she lives in. By day, in a remote town that is quiet, even idyllic, Saya attends school and does her chores. By night Saya fights monsters with her sword. I’ll get back to this contradiction, but first, let me note that the reaction to Blood-C has not been very positive. For example:

If it does not get better in next episode, I bet all the ten viewers who still watch this will drop it, and no twist can prevent that.

Unknown Voice commenting on Star Crossed Anime Blog.

Blood-C hasn’t been living up to its action and drama tags at all, as far as everyone’s concerned. While the action bits at the end have all been fairly well done, they comprise a very small part of what consists mostly of inconsequential school life and the consumption of pink cubes of undetermined origin.

Shinde Iie Anime Blog

Blood-C seems content to stick to the exact same goddamn formula every week without any variation. It wasn’t thrilling after one episode, and it’s even less after three.

Tenka Seiha

“Blood-C is ambiguous at best.” It has been stripped of all the wonderful assets that made Blood+ a memorable anime and is left hollow, completely without substance. I am so utterly disappointed. It left a vile taste which may never be cleansed regardless of how the following episodes proceed.


I could easily go on. So does this mean Blood-C sucks, and should be avoided at all costs? No, I kind of like it.

Saya by day, savoring the simple delights of the neighborhood café.

At night, Saya gets her pleasure killing monsters, and getting covered in blood.

One thing that has been confusing people is that Blood-C shows two faces of Saya, the main character. By day, she is a happy-go-lucky schoolgirl, by night, she hunts monsters. I won’t pretend to understand how the two personalities can co-exist (one theory floated at Cartoon Leap is that she is being drugged), but it is an interesting source of tension. Saya’s innocent daytime activities give us a sense of the world she is trying to protect. Saya is a Miko, a temple maiden, and is not well adjusted to the modern world. Nevertheless she enjoys the friends she is making at school, and her peaceful little town. Despite that, her night time activities seem bizarre. Yes, she is protecting her father, and the town she holds dear, but her nocturnal battles seem to be something more — she actually seems to enjoy killing.

Special lessons after hours.

There is also much more that seems hidden in Blood-C. We still know very little about people other than Saya. We are starting to feel comfortable with some of her school friends, but even characters we have seemingly met can be hiding a lot — especially considering the amount that Saya keeps hidden of herself from them. There has been a lot of criticism about the daytime activities being boring, and some have suggested they should be skipped over to get to the action scenes, that have been better received. My suspicion is that the characters encountered in these calm everyday scenes will turn out to be much more important than they now appear.

My ultimate judgement will have to wait until after the series ends at least (in his most recent post, Psgels mentions there will be a movie, so this short — 12 episode — series might not be the complete vision). I do find the series entertaining, however. First, CLAMP knows how to deliver visual style, and that is quite abundant here. Second, the action scenes are very intricate and fluid (not a surprise given Production I.G. are excellent). Third, it has some really nice background music. In the third episode, for example, there is a moody piece while Saya tails a suspicious character that I really enjoyed. The plot itself is enigmatic, but after three episodes, I can’t say that is completely unexpected. I’ll continue watching, and hope Blood-C manages to reconcile its bipolar nature.

10 Responses to “Blood-C ~ 3 episode taste test”

  1. I watched “Blood+” when it showed on Cartoon network (?), and contrary to most people’s opinion, I thought it was boring and stupid. Saya never really seemed to get her act together and was always getting her ass kicked, only being saved by her casket wielding companion. And I thought the ending sucked. Therefore, I had no intention of watching this series.

    However, what you’re describing sounds different enought that I may actually seek it out and give it a view.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Interesting. The new Saya (she might be the daughter of the old one, that isn’t clear) definitely does has been holding her own so far. She has struggled in the fights, but she wins on her own (or has in all fights shown so far).

  2. Tsuki Says:

    My only major issue with this series is how it’s buildup and development is going at a snail-like pace. And when I say snail-like, I mean stupidly slow.

    As of now, the plot is taking it’s sweet precious time in explaining what exactly is going on, and in the meanwhile, it’s throwing in seemingly pointless slice of life moments.

    I’m not saying that everything here won’t fit together by the end of the series. I just don’t have the patience to sit through all the generic hoops this show is hopping through before this slow buildup pays off.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      And at this point we don’t quite know what will pay off and what won’t. I agree that the show is taking its time. It is all the more strange, given that this is a short series (12 episodes).

      In terms of plot, I’m not sure why I would be interested in this show. The action parts and the SoL parts are so incongruous at this point that it almost seems like two shows mashed together. Episode three was the first time there seemed to be a clear intrusion of the night-time activities into the day-time reality of the village.

      On the other hand, I do enjoy stylish shows, and I like the fact that this is a stylish show.

      I also kind of like the fact that they are trying everyone’s patience by playing some cards so close to the vest. What the hell is going on? People on the ‘Net have already come up with strange (completely unsupported) theories — I mentioned drugging Saya above, also several people say they think the puppy is a monster. Who knows? Maybe there is no plot. Maybe this is one incredible troll — Saya will continue to sing and chase puppy dogs in the daytime, and it will be utterly unconnected to her night-time activities.

      Of course it is simply too early to say how things will turn out in the end. I’m not saying, “it gets better”. I’m just saying, that I’m interested enough in seeing if they can fit these pieces together that I’ll continue watching.

  3. Sammy Says:

    It was very different from Blood+. Saya’s character is much more “cheerful” in Blood C but one thing about her character totally freaks me out. The fact that she is such a softie during the day and suddenly all viscous at night. I mean geez she was covered in blood and she’s all smiles when she talks to her father but I guess that’s what this is all about. A lot of things are unexplained and I will definitely be completing this series.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Yes. I’m wondering how they intend to resolve that. There was a bunch of talk about one’s “nature” at the end that might be related.

  4. Mira Says:

    It’s hard to find people who kind of like Blood-C. It hasn’t been getting favorable reviews after all.

    With the movie tie-in and all, I find it hard to believe this show isn’t setting us up for one massive trolling. I don’t think studios just go out and make a movie after a series that’s focused on monster slaying and eating cake. Besides, it’s CLAMP. CLAMP has quite the portfolio and one thing I have to commend them for is how they constantly try new genres and ideas while still maintaining that CLAMP signature style.

    I have to agree with the re-appearance of the characters. Or in Blood-C’s case, the recycling of certain character designs. I think this works for CLAMP, their characters are so recognizable that once you see them, you just know it’s their’s.

    Maybe they’re really pushing the audience with this show. In a way, that’s actually more interesting. Not many shows are brave enough to test it’s audience like that. The SoL segments and action segments are placed side by side to prove the bi-polar nature not only of the show but of Saya herself. I noticed that Saya is usually placed in the center of things. In the classroom, she sits in the middle. Not the usual ‘by the window’ seat most main characters have. In episode 3 she’s seen in the middle of two paths. It’s been bugging me for a while.

    Blood-C hasn’t exactly been thrilling but like you, I want to see where this is going. I may not blog about it but I do want to see how this turns out. It’d be fun if there was trolling involved though.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I hadn’t noticed that middle thing.

      It sounds like you and I pretty much agree on where things stand. CLAMP deserves some leeway given their past success. Maybe that is the crux of the bad reviews, if people aren’t intrigued to see what CLAMP might pull off, they probably are quick to bail on this one.

  5. Bruce Bangtakashima Says:

    This is my first time visiting your site and first off I wanted to say this was a solid review.

    I’m 1.5 eps in and am a little confused on where this series is going, but like plenty of other people the art, sound, and action are all top notch and good enough for me to stick around.

    Still, I hope C continues some of the great plot choices made in +. I really hope hope hope, theres a large conspiricy involved. If Diva got her way in + the world would be at it’s knees. Compare this to some minor kyropterin issues in a small town. Next, C really needs to bring in some Chivalies like Haji (these blood words are hard to spell do relax). The Chivs really made + interesting. I also like how + had the balls to kill of main characters.

    I hope C gets some of the classmates involved in the fights, I can see the class rep becoming a chivaleay. Also I can forsee a major plot point in figuring out if Saya is actually aware of her night time activites. My guess is she is being drugged from the odd food given to her as mysterious deserts. I hope the drama and Kyropterine threat intensify and I am strangely attracted to those twins.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I didn’t see Blood+ but I have to say I was wondering about her being drugged as well. In this episode they AGAIN made an issue about her drinking “special” coffee.

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