Taking place in Okinawa, a young girl by the name of Saya is living comfortably with her foster father and two foster brothers. They appear to have formed the perfect family and Saya couldn't be any happier. Later, when monsters appear killing people and leaving them drained of blood, Saya finds herself in battle with one, and she's given a sword by a mysterious figure, who appears to be either an old servant or a friend. Next, a man named David appears revealing that Saya is the only one capable of killing these creatures. Who or what is Saya? And who or what are these creatures appearing that she must do battle with? -summary
I have to come right out the gate and mention that I didn't like the original movie Blood the Last Vampire at all. It was nothing more than an exercise in advanced animation techniques. I praised it for its very sharp attention to detail in regards to the visuals. However, I thought it was very close to worthless in other areas. The story left a lot to be explored, and when I heard about Blood+ years ago being a 50 episode series based on Saya, I figured here goes that missing part to the story. Contrary to what some folks would have you believe, Blood+ is not a sequel to the original movie, and the creators have made no attempt to tie the two together. This is a separate story altogether that examines Saya from a different perspective and explores her origin. This set Blood + Volume One contains the first 25 episodes of the series.
The first area I must hit on are the production values. In regards to the visuals, Blood+ is very beautiful with some very fluid animation frame by frame. If these visuals aren't top notch, then they are about as close an anime TV series can possibly get. The animation delivers some very good battles without the use of constant reused cels, and the backgrounds are simply gorgeous as they effectively combine with the CG. The ocean, river, and snow laden backdrops are outstanding, and it's the little things that appealed to my senses, like high speed trains going by in the night time. The character designs are also very pretty, and I thought it was a plus that the old school girl uniform wasn't being used to death, to give anime perverts something to constantly drool over. Saya is seen in many different types of clothes, and most of the time she is very conservative. The fan service is kept pretty low and this is not something you will hear me complain about ever. The soundtrack is also very well composed with some of the dramatic scenes being supported by a slow paced, melancholic piano backdrop. The opening and ending credits have some pretty nice themes as well, and mid-way through the season a new theme song and opening appears.
Despite the heavy action feel of the original movie, Blood + is actually a lot more character driven. Now don't get me wrong, there are several action scenes with some good sword fighting and heavy gore. But the characters are the main focus and I consider them a mixed bag for the most part. Saya is heavily developed as the story deals a lot more with her human side, and most of the side characters are nothing more than mere stereotypes, and even though some may have a bit of depth, it makes several of them no less annoying. The series features a great amount of suspense and the viewer would more than likely be gripped to the screen while waiting for the next revelation. The plot follows Saya as she begins to exterminate the creatures called Chiropterans. Along the way, there are certain factions introduced, and the lead antogonist is also revealed, this character plays a huge role in Saya's origin, as well as the events that were set in motion.
The series has its good moments, but I do not find this half as great as some folks would have one believe. The series has some pacing issues at this point, because it juggles other side stories, and at this point, one is completely uninteresting featuring a reporter searching for a major story, and a very annoying love sick girl who decided to tag along. These little segments interfere with the flow, and a couple don't really add anything to the main story, at least not at this point. But I think these segments will differ from person to person all depending on how much they bought into the characters. Since I don't really care for all of them, some of the segments really didn't appeal to me much.
There's one area I will give this series credit in, and that's in regards to tonal consistency. There are some brief moments of comedy injected, but it's not the least bit forced, nor does it distract from the serious nature of the content unlike Hellsing Ultimate, which is heavily damaged by its shifts in comedic moments. When looking at the style of Blood+ I have to say it's well written.
Blood+ is a huge improvement over Blood The Last Vampire for sure, but at this point, it's still an average anime series. It's still watchable make no mistake, and there's a good amount of action, intrigue, character development, romance, and character interactions. I still recommend it for viewing though.
-Production values, suspense, action, developed characters
-Too many characters, pacing issues
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