Monday, March 28, 2011

Blood + DVD Part 2 Impression

Saya finishes the battle with Diva in this hit and miss second season of Blood+

Blood + has been a mixed bag of an anime with this second volume on DVD. The tale begins and ends (continues?) with Saya Otonashi and it’s also in Saya at the anime’s strengths and weakness reside. The short and quite excellent Blood: The Last Vampire shows a girl in Saya that’s ruthless yet compassionate and all together badass. In plus viewers get Saya in name and abilities but lacking in said badass-ed-ness. What is it about this second season that drains on Saya so much? Let’s take a gander …

Saya’s pursuit of her twin sister Diva is up against a deadline. As her 30-year hibernation period approaches Saya’s strength ebbs and flows and with the eventual fall of Red Shield her allies are reduced, or so she thinks. Carl’s insanity overtakes him as does Solomon’s obsession as Diva’s two chevaliers change their own destinies and break from pure protection of Diva. Diva’s head chevalier, Amshel, reveals Diva’s true purpose and plays both sides of the game in a war involving chiropteran’s and human created soldiers, the Corpse Corp. As Riku is struck with tragedy it’s Saya who bears the burden of the battle to come. Enemies become allies as disease overtakes the Schiff and Diva takes on the look of a fallen friend in time to unleash her ultimate plan, one involving an opera, Saya and her twin girls. Tired and getting closer to sleep will Saya overcome Diva or will she sleep to wake to a world of chiropteran? Kai will do everything in his power to help his adopted sister and keep alive the memory of their father … and others.

Pardon me first off for not revealing too much detail. See there are some events which even I did not anticipate in this tale. Things change quickly for Saya, events which cause the fall of Red Shield and for Saya to break out on her own. Diva show’s she and Amshel are not crazy but detailed in their planning. The passing of years, pregnancy of Diva and revelations from the past (Joel’s diary) all make for quite a well paced, well told story and that’s the strength of Blood +, the story. The animation is solid, middle-ground for a TV series such as Blood +. It nowhere approaches the quality of the 45 minute Blood: The Last Vampire but that’s to be expected. No, what Blood + season 2 does well is complete the story of Saya and leaves the door open for more, but do we want more?

Now to my issue with the series which is Saya herself. At no point does Saya ever show herself as even close to an equal with Diva. Is this due to not partaking of her natural diet? This question is never truly satisfied as Saya is just the weaker of the two, and Haji manages to live but is outmatched by his Diva created counterparts. Saya gets her butt kicked time and again and even when she makes a return dressed in a slick purple outfit her brief glimmer of power is quickly washed away. She just loses power way to fast, gets weak way to fast and using an approaching hibernation as an excuse is just weak. The Saya shown in the Last Vampire and early in plus is a cold, calculating engine of destruction that’s a joy to watch. The girl unleashed in Japan, who goes mindless in some battles just never sticks around and this is my biggest gripe. How does the series end as it does with such a Saya in charge? It’s like bad guys wanting to lose, very annoying.

Overall this issue is not enough of a reason not to recommend Blood +. While I may have my feelings about Saya’s portrayal they are created by my knowing her from The Last Vampire. Those knowing only the plus version of Saya will enjoy what she is. Solid, not spectacular, but solid animation and good voice work highlight a deep and well told story with a few flawed characters but an overall good anime experience. Take a moment to check out the still excellent Blood: The Last Vampire and if that puppy gets you jacked then Blood + is for you as it gives more monster slaying action and much back-story minus the Saya you too will come to anticipate.

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