I don’t know who are exactly the ones who put together the fight scenes of this series, but I once again have to praise them, because in that aspect this series is the best of the season. Even though the runner-up Dantalian no Shoka has a bigger budget and also plenty of interesting visual ideas for itself, this one goes a step further in the way in which it animates Saya’s struggle with the monsters she fights. It’s not the writing that rocks here, it really is the animation that really brings those to life.
As for the rest of the series… I still like it a lot. It’s indeed unfortunate that it uses many cliches, but for me at the moment, the good points overshadow the bad points enough to make me not bothered by it. I mean, this show has obviously been building up for its first three episodes, and with that I don’t mean a complex story, but I’m more pointing towards its atmosphere. Whether everything has been balanced out properly is unfortunately something we can only say a year and a half from now, when the movie has properly aired. With that, I can understand the inclusion of the fights that Saya has: they have two functions: to build up the atmosphere themselves, and offer a sharp contrast with the slice of life scenes to prevent this series from really getting dull, seeing as how mundane the quiet scenes in this series are.
At this point, I don’t feel yet that Blood+ is wasting its time. But then again, we can only tell that for sure when everything has aired. In my experience the really unbalanced series only tend to show this from their middle part, not their first three episodes.
As for the criticisms on the characterization, I can understand some of them. Saya is a bit dull, and it’s during the quiet scenes that the animation also dulls in. I still think that these past episodes have been great ways to get to know the cast, though, as ordinary high school students. This episode explored how they spend their time after school and other mundane stuff. What makes it different from the series with dull characterizations is that 1) the acting is good and solid (most of the overacting you’ll hear here is those twins, and Saya actually doesn’t have the vocals of a J-pop idol), along with the dialogue that talks about inspired topics, courtesy of Clamp.
Now, the end of this episode was excellent foreshadowing, and it seems like the plot is also going to get interesting next episode.
Rating: ** (Excellent)