Genre: Action, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural
Publisher: Production I.G (JP), Funimation (U.S)
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Series Composition: Nanase Ohkawa
Music Composer: Naoki Sato
Blood-C is an animated TV series that does two things in 12 episodes: become a lackluster part of the Blood franchise and serve as advertisement for The Last Dark film. Replacing straightforward storytelling is not a problem in fiction, but when it’s done in average fashion, it makes the journey to finish the work pretty tiring and highlights all of the flaws that no longer can remain just minor nitpicks. Saddled with a predictable story alongside annoying, one dimensional characters, average at best animation and visuals, and really, not a interesting soundtrack to complement any of the action or normal activity scenes, this anime is competent at only the basic levels. If being crazy violent without any purpose is the best thing to make yourself memorable, then maybe Blood-C accomplished what it set out to do.
Saya Kisaragi acts like a normal school girl but when she’s not always late for school or showing just how good she is in basketball, she’s a miko at her father’s shrine and tasked with being the only one to defeat the Elder Bairns, mythical monsters who feed on the humans. However, with each fight she gets herself into, these creatures start saying that the covenant has been broken, and Saya has no idea what they’re talking about. Soon enough however the town gets dangerous to the point where these Elder Bairns not only show up at night, but now in the day, and without any disregard of life, they kill humans in ways that end with them feasting on them. Saya has to figure out what the covenant is, alongside keeping her promise — a promise that she can’t remember who she made with? Does that involve who she really is?
Blood-C basically is an anime that attempts to stay somewhat true to the Blood franchise. How so, aside from having the Saya name, her penchant for wearing a school uniform, wielding a sword and her eyes turning into an almost unbeatable killing machine? Well the more the show went on, the more Blood: The Last Vampire and a bit of Blood+ came to memory, and it felt like all the flashbacks that appear as Saya Kisaragi’s memory tries to return gives a bit of a nod to those works in some small passing. This made me think about wanting to check those shows out again, except instead of wanting to do that thinking this version of the Blood franchise was a worthwhile addition, it would wipe it out of memory for the most part.
While Blood-C tries to stay true to the franchise for some part, it does so without managing to develop any character to give any care to, and does it without actually providing any twists into the story. It’s obvious from the start what type of direction this work was going to go — this place is not normal, these monsters have their flimsy reasons for feasting on humans, and characters we thought we could trust we obviously should not have trusted. But ok, so what, if it manages to be involving then maybe these plot twists can be cool — but not really, since it tries to fix that by having lots of violence. Violence in fiction can be good, and even gory violence some might want to see, but not when there’s absolutely no reason for any of it to be happening. When there’s no reason as to why the Elder Bairns are eating the humans (“we eat humans because we want to eat humans”), when lots of testicles of a human student are eaten it’s gory for sure, but gory in cheapness and definitely not to be scary.
This is compounded by the fact that we have to figure out just who Saya really is, and what the promise is and whom it was made to. Who Saya actually is (human or monster) is never revealed, but obviously she’s not human and she is some sort of enemy to the Elder Bairns. The main question is whether or not she is this ditzy in the daytime, serious girl in the nighttime type of person, or is she someone completely different. We get this answer in episode 12, but not before it’s revealed that everything about Saya Kisaragi is a complete fabrication in episode 11 by the strangest character who tries his darndest to try and love Saya (Tokizane) but it’s not very believable; by the “teacher (Tsutsutori Kaneko)”, who basically confirmed just how involved she was in the story by episode 5; and by some pretty annoying twins in Nono and Nene, who both managed to fake their deaths. All of them had some incredibly pathetic reasons to be a part of this project, and as they explained their reasons, I really could only laugh. In fact, Episode 11 was a complete laughfest for the most part because it turned out everything prior to this was a setup to show how much stalling the writing staff of this series could do (or maybe to tell us how fanservicey this episode and the last episode would be; thanks for the heads up Kanako) before remembering that they only had two episodes left and the movie to finish the tale. I’ll get to the movie later. For now, all I can say is based on the big reveal that was telegraphed many episodes ago, the reasons for Saya’s memory getting changed and the promise that she ended up making (well, more like she had no choice): it really just left more questions than any answers.
For starters, what in the world was Saya (before her personality change) fighting for? Why did she happen to be at that military base? Why, out of all the things the promised person could do after he caught her, did he decide to have her memories changed? Is it really because he wanted to see if her fundamental core would change? How the heck did he manage to create a town that no one could ever find out about, and just exactly what is his background? Well, even with the amount of questions that are tossed aside and never answered, it’s probably for the best since I’m not sure if I did get answers it would be answered competently: after all, what the Shrovetide actually is — maybe an allusion to mythology — turned out to be some pretty weak stuff, and their mistake in episode 7 where Saya was in school when the announcement came that school would be shut down, but then she says she was not in school in episode 8 shows exactly how much thought was put in this anime. So I guess all of the questions I might have will be answered in the movie.
And really, this is basically what the anime is: an advertisement for The Last Dark. If you managed to watch every episode, then chances are the film will answer at least half of the questions the TV series presented. You shouldn’t have to bother. Blood-C is average at best. Its animation is pretty mediocre (for one scene in episode 5 the way Saya ran to save that woman was pretty poor), the story is predictable fare, the action is good in its last episode (I did like the fight at the end) but otherwise nothing really remarkable unless you like Saya cutting things in half and you get to see lots of blood spew all over the place/enjoy seeing monsters feasting on the innards of humans in most episodes, and the sound presence in this show is lacking. No track in it is memorable and something I could take away from this anime and say that it was good. The subs are fine, as I liked hearing the voices for most of the characters (except the twins, sorry Misako); the dub is pretty unimpressive. I liked Alexis in her role as Saya, but none of the others stood out to be memorable; Bill Jenkins as Tadayoshi, or Saya’s father, however, was pretty bad. The voice of the guy at the end of Episode 8 when that monster showed up at the school and said it was slow was not something I’d want to remember for a good while. I’d also like to not remember this anime, but standard anime shows can do that, so Blood-C will remain memorable, but for completely different reasons.