Blood-C ~ spoiler-free series review
September 29, 2011
This is a brief review of the supernatural fighting series Blood-C. My purpose here is to provide some final thoughts on the series without spoiling anything. Note: if you want details about the final episode (or to discuss spoilers) take it to this accompanying post. My purpose here is to give my final thoughts of the series after having watched all 12 episodes, and to give you information as to whether you should watch it or not. Bottom-line: I liked this series, and am looking forward to seeing the upcoming movie that has been announced for the franchise.
Aside from the production credits, which I’ll get to shortly, there are two very important things to know about Blood-C. The first is that it is frequently a vehicle for gruesome violence. In fact, much of the violence in the version I saw was censored out, so it is possible that the final version (when it is released on disc) will be even more shockingly gory.
The second thing to know is that, although I described Blood-C as a supernatural fighting anime above (and it is), the series is built as a mystery or riddle. This has frustrated some viewers, so it is important to know when going in that there is something wrong, and the major thread of the story is the mystery of what is going on. I personally enjoyed this aspect of the series. It is clear from the beginning that something is not right, because there is too great a contrast between the daily activities of Saya and the townsfolk, and Saya’s nighttime battles against supernatural beings. I read many comments online by people who immediately jumped to the meta-level, claiming that the show was unrealistic because the contrast between night and day was too great. If you choose to watch Blood-C, and feel that there is something wrong, welcome that feeling. That is your intellect telling you that you have discovered a clue in the mystery. Blood-C is a short series (12 episodes), and it really is the story of Saya eventually discovering the truth behind that mystery.
As you might know, Blood-C is the product of several creative forces. First there is the heritage of the Blood universe. Secondly, there is the legendary company Production I.G., and third the creative nexus known as CLAMP. Production I.G. is famous for having animated many excellent series, including shows that featured great action sequences, such as Ghost in the Shell. CLAMP are the creators of many of the most famous manga/anime in recent decades (from Cardcaptor Sakura to Code Geass). To some extent I think this combination of creative forces was unfortunate, in the sense that Blood fans are not necessarily CLAMP fans, but from my perspective, we got a very stylish concept and character designs (CLAMP), joined with one of the best production companies, that really knows how to deliver action sequences (Production I.G.), set in a gory, supernatural universe (Blood). I personally think this combination worked, but CLAMP haters have vocally declared otherwise.
Should you watch Blood-C? As suggested above, there are a few things to consider, do you want to not see gruesome violence? Are you inclined to be dissatisfied with the slow build-up as the mysterious world around Saya is presented? Do you hate CLAMP character designs? If so, hey, there are other shows you could be watching.
Blood-C isn’t my favorite show of all time, or even of those that ended in Summer 2011. On the other hand, I really did enjoy it. It has an unusual approach to story-telling that can put people off (a kind of “two steps forward one step back” style), but that is inherently tied to the riddle of the world Saya inhabits. It has several very good action sequences (including an impressively animated fight in the final episode). The gory violence was not something I would have sought out, but it certainly added to the shock and horror, as well as to the confusion about what is really going on. It is difficult to comment on characters in a spoiler-free review, but it certainly is fair to say that some characters undergo significant transformation before the series ends.
Finally, a movie for Blood-C has been announced, and some might be checking out this review to determine if they should watch the TV series before watching the movie. I certainly am looking forward to seeing the movie, and anticipate that my watching the TV series first will be a great help in understanding certain things, but I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t say that I know that this information will be required.
REMINDER: Please refrain from posting spoilers in your comments! If you want to discuss spoilers, go to the post I made for the final episode, instead.