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BLOOD-C - Reviewed by GaileOxstain
Posted on Monday, May 9th 2016 by Crawen

BLOOD-C Cover


“Blood: The Last Vampire”, a classic horror film with visceral edge. “Blood+”, a dramatic and powerfully written spinoff series from the film that inspired it. “BLOOD-C”, proof that a strong franchise and creation staff do not ensure a good series.


Plot:

BLOOD-C Screenshot 1 Saya Kisaragi is a second year high school student and the local shrine maiden for her rural and remote town. She lives her days peacefully among friends and family enjoying all that remote country life can offer. Her nights however are far from peaceful. As it turns out, the town is plagued by man-eating monsters referred to as Elder Bairns that hunt down humans without remorse or a second thought. As the shrine maiden she is tasked with slaying the monsters in secret with her sacred blade, the only thing that can kill them. Though she promised to protect everyone, resident casualties slowly begin to pile up, and the Elder Bairns themselves begin sow seeds of doubt in Saya’s mind, hinting that her divine duty may be far less than what it actually is.

In truth, I watched part of “BLOOD-C” several years ago but quit out of impatience and annoyance towards the story and its general betrayal to the franchise itself. But I’ve grown a lot since then, and now that I have more experience under my belt as a viewer and reviewer, you might be surprised to learn that…I still didn’t like it.

BLOOD-C Screenshot 2 The story starts off at a snail’s pace and doesn’t really go anywhere for the first four episodes. The first episodes really just follow the same format with the day being spent on Saya’s normal school life, and the night being spent on her gruesome monster hunting, and frankly the two don’t really blend well together making the transition all the more awkward. Separately, the two facets feel half-baked given that Saya’s school life is as bland and boring as a plate of white rice, and the overarching story behind the Elder Bairn battles are too underdeveloped to really get invested in, even in spite of all the bloody gore that would give common men nightmares.

That’s not to say the plot doesn’t get better, because the storyline does reveal more and more as time goes on, slowly stripping the paint from the mosaic that is Saya’s life. Many deaths begin to mount, including those of Saya’s closest friends which really build on Saya’s growing level of stress and dwindling sanity, and through countless battles it becomes apparent that something is amiss.

BLOOD-C Screenshot 3 Granted I did attribute most of these discrepancies as being mere plot holes what with the utter lack of common sense and sheer oblivious nature the town seems to have concerning the monsters that seem to pop up everywhere without serious action being taken. It also doesn’t help that a lot of the mystery stems from the “BLOOD-C’s” bad habit of keeping the viewers in the dark for too long as well as how this spinoff ties in with the Blood franchise as a whole.

Fortunately, the series does manage to explain all these little plot holes and inconsistencies in the final two episodes, unfortunately the series sucker punches you so hard and with enough bombshells to level Manhattan that you’ll end up feeling more betrayed than shocked with how the series played you. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say I wasn’t the only one in the end who was bored with where the story was going.

Characters:

The cast of “BLOOD-C” is complicated, and not in a good way. Due to the abundance of dual persona present in the series, it becomes difficult to tell which traits truly reflect their characters.

BLOOD-C Screenshot 4 BLOOD-C Screenshot 5

Saya is a girl with two faces. One is that of the typical cheery high school that sings her own little tune (Quite literally in fact), and the other is that of a disciplined and extremely skilled executor of the Elder Bairns. She keeps her two personas separate based on the situation, but as time progresses she finds it harder and harder to keep her two lives apart as the chaos slowly spirals out of control. She feels conflicted and pressured to keep her sanity but even begins to question the very nature of her existence as well as the past she can’t even remember. Though anyone who has seen or heard anything of the original franchise, it’s a little too obvious from the start who and what the real Saya really is, which does take away some of the shock.

BLOOD-C Screenshot 6 A key person in Saya’s life is Fumito, the young gentleman who runs the coffee shop across from her house. He is a kind and affectionate person who is always there for Saya when she feels conflicted and stressed, always there to offer her a cup of coffee to soothe her nerves. However, as the series progressed he started to come across more as a creeper with an unhealthy interest in Saya. Though as it turned out, I was really only looking at the tip of the iceberg with this guy…

BLOOD-C Screenshot 7 As for Saya’s friends and schoolmates, they were really all cookie-cutter molds when it came straight down to it. We have the playful and childish twins, the mature and sympathetic best friend, the responsible and courteous class rep, and the aloof bad boy with a considerate heart. There is a little character development, especially with the last one, but the series pretty much sets all of that growth on fire rendering any feelings you felt toward them moot by the end.

I’ll also give one final mention to the strange talking dog who serves as a catalyst of sorts that helps Saya come to remember her past. Any passing CLAMP fan could figure out that he is actually Watanuki from “xxxHolic” but his role feels far too out of place with the rest of the series and seems to serve as little more than a means to continue CLAMP’s tradition of including character cameos from past series.

Setting/Art:

BLOOD-C Screenshot 8 On that note, I believe the “C” in “BLOOD-C” refers to CLAMP, the talented staff of doujinshi writers that gave us “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Angelic Layer”, “xxxHolic”, and many other memorable series. However CLAMP’s lackluster performance was not just limited to its story given that their artistic skills seemed to waver as well. The animation was pretty good, but the tall and slender character designs do not work well with this particular genre, and I have to question the staff’s choice in veering away from the standard chiropteran forms in favor of monster designs that honestly look more like the aliens from “GANTZ”. And no, that’s not a good thing. What’s more, I felt disappointed that CLAMP did not include more cameos from past CLAMP anime titles (Unless of course those Elder Bairns in the last episode were supposed to be mutant Mokona). I realize no one wants to see a Sakura Kinomoto look-alike torn to pieces, but a few more references couldn’t have hurt.

Music/Openings Endings:

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the series soundtrack either. The background music got repetitive after a while, and though the ending theme was sung strong by Saya herself, it lacks a certain degree of memorability that keeps it from lasting. Granted, there was one track I honestly couldn’t get enough of, the opening, Spiral by Dustz. Though my memory of this series faded for a while, this powerful, brooding, and just plain awesome rock number that incorporates Japanese, English, and French lyrics stayed with me long after I lost my patience and even eclipsed the series itself in terms of quality.

Final Analysis:

BLOOD-C Screenshot 9 Perhaps I was too harsh on “BLOOD-C” back in my sophomoric years. Yes, the series was poor, but looking at “BLOOD-C” as a whole, it wasn’t a complete betrayal to the franchise I loved. The story gradually got less opaque and boring even if it did flip the table at end, the characters become more interesting and developed…until they kind of scrapped it all at the end, the art was okay but hardly something worthy of the franchise’s legacy, and at least the opening theme was awesome. Looking back, perhaps I just set my expectations too high given how invested I was into its predecessors. “BLOOD-C” may not be a great series, but it’s not the worst, and I see that now. I’ve also heard the film that followed up this series was much better by comparison, so I will choose to view “BLOOD-C” as a stepping stone, and not as a rock blocking this franchise’s path.

That’s why I’m giving “BLOOD-C” 3 Bloody Fatalities out of 10.

Eyes glow Red, good as Dead

BLOOD-C Screenshot 10

- GaileOxstain


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