Monday, May 5, 2008

Blood + vol. 1 Impression

Back in 2000 anime fans were introduced to Saya in Blood: The Last Vampire. Saya hunted vampire like monsters called Chiroptera who were masquerading as students in a local high-school. The anime was beautiful in its entire execution form sound to animation, truly a thing of beauty. Even with this praise there was one major drawback, the length. Blood clicked in at around 45 minutes and left viewers wanting more, wanting questions answered about Saya’s past, what she is, what is an original. Well, it’s 2008 and anime fans are finally getting the answers they want, in a manner that is. With Sony releasing Blood + on DVD and airing it on Cartoon Network it’s time to learn about Saya as she rediscovers herself.

There are numerous Blood novels and manga in Japan that flesh out the story of Saya. We got just a taste of this banquet back in 2000 and Blood +, while not as beautifully animated, is quite the main course. This telling of Saya has a different art style than back in 2000, to be expected when you consider the production cost of a 20-30-40+ series run vs. a 45 minute movie. The Saya we see in Blood + has a younger, more innocent feel to her, a look and feel that fits once you get into the storyline. There is also the mysterious Haji and various government organizations to absorb. So, let’s take a look at volume 1 of Blood + on DVD.

Saya is just your average high-school track athlete, one who can only remember the past year of her life, a life spent with adopted father George and brothers Kai (older bro) and Riku (younger). Life is normal until Saya forgets her track shoes at school and while retrieving them one evening is attached by a monster, a Chiroptera. As she’s assaulted the cello playing Haji (tall, dark, handsome, mysterious guy, an anime staple) hands her a swords and tells her it’s time to fight. Saya has seen Haji around town, playing music that stirs her memories, but why? Things begin to unravel as Riku sees the Chiroptera, the role of George as protector is revealed by David, a government agent of some type and we see Argeno, a French gentleman working with the US Military to capture mice (Chiroptera) and seem to have their own shenanigans going on. Saya begins to learn about herself, we see glimpses of her past with Haji, George is attacked and hospitalized and then taken by the US Military. There is much going on in Okinawa, and in the past Vietnam conflict that all involves Saya and her blood which is the only weapon against the Chiroptera.

I mention earlier that the animation is not as good as back in 2000, but it is crisp for a longer running series. The character designs are quite good, better than I expected in fact, reminds me a lot of Witch Hunter Robin in the characters dress and manners. The stories pacing is excellent with great action stirred into a cornucopia of mysterious past, secret government agendas and more. What happened in Vietnam, why does Saya no longer have her memory, what is up with Haji’s hand. No, there is no end to the questions viewers will want answered, and that is a great thing to say after any volume one of a series. You want viewers to come back for more and Blood + does just that. The music is top notch, from Hans Zimmer, the animation is top level for a long running series and the characters are very engaging. Saya shows flashes of the ruthless assassin from 2000 that just teases at what the series will become. With 21 more episodes to go this is a series that any vampire, super-natural anime fan will want to check-out. Pick up volume 1 on DVD or splurge for the box set complete with a sweet t-shirt and preview of the Darkhorse Blood + manga which I’ve touched on previously. I was a doubter of Blood + a few years ago, after all how could you top Blood: The Last Vampire. Answer is you don’t, you just add to the story in a manner that just fits. I highly recommend this series … and I’ll let you know what else is going on as I continue to watch.

1 comment:

  1. Altough I did not see the 2000 version you refer to, I can say BLOOD kicks butt!