Blood-C ~ 3 episode taste test
July 23, 2011
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.