Blood-C First Impression

As a fan of the gritty anime Blood: The Last Vampire I was pleased to see Japanese video website Nico-Nico Douga recently began streaming Blood-C. They are streaming each episode with English subtitles a day after the Japanese television broadcast. The quality is good and there are no adverts. What isn’t so good is the anime. After watching the first episode I felt somewhat let down because the direction it took injected too much sugar into the franchise.

Blood-C's Saya

Considering the involvement of super-star talent from Production I.G. to artistic quartet CLAMP I was expecting a new take on the gutsy original but one that maintained the darkness, high-quality visuals, brilliant action and sword-wielding bad-ass protagonist Saya reborn under CLAMPs legendary ability for character creation.

My expectations were high considering the director is Tsutomu Mizushima who has worked on CLAMP title XXXHOLiC as well as the wonderfully surreal comedy Hare+Guu. Creative supervisor Jun’Ichi Fujisaku was the director of the awesome Blood+ another spin-off of Blood: The Last Vampire (which I like a lot). Meanwhile CLAMP’s Nanase Ohkawa worked on the scripts.

Unfortunately the result was something of a disappointment and I can see fans of the original anime being upset because Blood-C has rather bizarrely traded in its grit for an overload of the sickeningly-sweet clichés of moe. Now I know Blood is a license that can be remade in a variety of ways but taking an iconic character like Saya, a sword swinging school-girl vampire hunter, and making her analogous to the cast of Sora no Woto felt like a step too far.

Blood-C's Saya

Despite an intriguing start with the narrator introducing the nature vs nurture debate, what soon emerged was something far more reminiscent of Sora no Woto (which I despise). Saya is still an amnesiac school-girl with a vampiric nature but she is no longer a highly-skilled vampire slayer but more of a happy-go-lucky clumsy protagonist accompanied by two moe girls who crowed kawaii and kyaaah within minutes of their introduction.

Blood-C's Saya and Twins Moe GirlsAll of this taking place in a pleasant town which has a permanent lilting piano score as backing… which wasn’t so bad if you like that sort of thing. I don’t. Not in the context of the Blood franchise at least.

Blood-C's Town
Blood-C’s Town

The previous entry in the franchise, Blood+, skirted close to high school clichés in order to ground characters in reality and then undercut this normality with startling moments of violence from the very beginning in order to establish the dual nature of lead protagonist Saya and the global conspiracy surrounding her. Blood-C seems content to let the fairy-tale last throwing out the blunt violence and conspiracy theories in favour of high school froth until the final five minutes when we do see a battle.

Blood-C's SayaThe characterisation was underwhelming while the character design features CLAMPs preference for long-limbs but it all felt flat in comparison to the rich and varied cast in Blood+ (no camp French man or sinister English characters? Boo!).

In the context of the franchise it is totally jarring to have one of the toughest bad-ass heroines in anime screen history into a bumbling walking cliché.

Various incernations of Saya from the Blood series

So I was disappointed as a fan of the franchise. That said, this is only the first episode and things could still pick up. I remember being underwhelmed by Blood+ when I first saw it so I’m willing to give this a chance. Maybe I’m just overreacting…

Oh and the opening song has nothing on Hyde’s masterpiece!

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9 thoughts on “Blood-C First Impression

  1. i’m a girl i think it’s dumb that a male anime character is allowed to act good-natured and kind-heated yet still be badass but it’s not okay for a girl because we’ve seen that type of character 20 times before. this is why i’m getting sick of the non-nonsence type of anime heroine because that type of character isn’t allowed to be a girl. they have to be just like guy meaning they can’t show their emotions or call on people for help because those type of things will make them seem “weak” or “pathedic”.

    1. Thanks for the comment. You raise an interesting point there that made me think that I’m being intolerant towards female protagonists with kind-hearts. My own preference for no-nonsense anime heroines comes from the fact that I tend to prefer that type of character and the type of anime that breed such characters – Ghost in the Shell, Darker than Black.

      That’s not to say I dislike all good-natured girls because I really love the cast of Ghost Hunt and adore Yomiko Readman from Read or Die. Actually, I just prefer well-written and interesting characters.

      My complaint lies with the change in direction of the franchise. I can’t help but think that within the context of the Blood franchise one of the main draws was that Saya had a ferocity and powerful physical and mental abilities that belied her design which is the traditional school-girl image. This created an iconic character. In Blood+ we saw a toned-down Saya, much more normal but with a well of power she could tap into. Slowly, she discovered her abilities and watching her journey of understand in Blood+ delivered an exciting plot. With Blood-C’s Saya it has seemingly been diluted so she’s less an original character and more a cut-out clone of an average anime, 90% bumbling and kind-hearted. It’s still the first episode and things can pick up.

  2. Vashdaman

    I’m also a Blood fan, but haven’t seen either spin off yet. I might just have to check out Blood plus now though. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    1. Hey Vash, Blood+ is the only decent spin-off from the original movie and it’s a slow-burn but it’s pretty damn awesome once it gets going and the animation is simply gorgeous.

      As far as Blood-C goes it just isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it’s just me but I’m no fan and I think the second episode is even worse than the first. Maybe I’m not the audience but the spirit of the original movie has been lost. I do like the opening theme.

  3. J

    Maybe Saya’s perfect life will go to hell in a hand basket after the 3rd or 4th episode. LOL

    I don’t know…. I don’t mind Saya’s character (I actually like it) or the slice of life stuff as long as all of this builds up to something truly interesting before it’s too late.

    1. Thanks for the reply.

      I agree about the slice of life stuff not being so bad as long as it builds up to something but the amount of pointless filler in episode 2 was ridiculous and with so many streaming shows to watch I think I’ll just bail out here. That said, I did like the sequence with the dog – where did that come from? It must be important.

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