Posted by psgels on 17 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




The most underrated series of the past season. Blood-C? Nah, that show is just very easy to either really like or really dislike. Hyouge Mono? Nah, there are enouigh people who want to see it subbed some day. As for Blade, however: I made a number of posts about it, but I don’t think that I can recall even a single person commenting on it after the first episode. Were there actually people who knew about this thing?

It’s a pity, because this turned out to be quite an engaging action series. Out of all the Marvel series that were shown over the past year, it by far stands out as the best, aside from a few single areas.

Let’s get those areas out of the way first: the animation and the action choreography. The animation is nowhere near as good as it was, back with the X-Men, and Wolverine had better choreography and knew how to make its fights visually more interesting. While this is indeed a bit of a pity, do note that apart from that, Blade is superior to Iron Man, X-Men and Wolverine in all other ways.

At first sight this may not seem to be the case. In fact, I can recall giving up hope with this series after its second episode came with a very cheesy police story. But after that, something very interesting happened: this show started to get more and more focused. Suddenly, it came with background arc after background arc: we get an engaging story of Blade in his teens, as a young adult, we learn what happened to his mother, what happened to his father, the main villain gets a compelling back-story and this show even has the time to take one of the side-characters of Wolverine, and use him better than how Wolverine did it! Instead of randomly focusing on action, every episode is actually meant to flesh out the story and give everything ample back-story.

Oh, the stories still are a bit cheesy and simple, but it all is surprisingly well executed, with great build-up, pacing and an excellent use of music. You really have to give it to the composer here: he composed four kickass and standalone soundtracks that are all different from each other. Because of that, not just Blade turns into the best character out of all of the Marvel-series, his sidekicks also dwarf their counterparts. The female sidekick finally hits the nail right on the mark: she’s neither a helpless damsel in distress, nor does she hog all of the screentime with deus ex machina powers. Intead, she adds something to the main character, and makes him change. The main villain is compelling, threatening and actually does something other tha sit in a chair, and the rest of the side-cast do a wonderful job both supporting the main cast, and also telling their own story.

Let’s also talk about the setting a bit. Are you tired of every single anime taking place in a Japanese High School? Then look no further, because this series is anything but typical. First of all, when was the last time we had an actual black main character? The last major one I can remember is Dutch from Black Lagoon, and even he got shafted as the show went on. Also, as the series went on, another very interesting thing happened: the characters didn’t stay in Japan, but instead went on a tour thoughout Southeast Asia. Seriously, every arc takes place in a different country, and in this way we suddenly visit countries that have never even made an appearance in anime: the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malasia, this show takes us jungles all over the place, rather than just staying on one spot.

Also, this show is about vampires. The kind that sparkles? Of course not. Here they really are bloodthirsty creatures, but even there it’s not as black and white as just that. This series too spends a lot of time on the nature of vampires, what it means to become one, and most importantly: what happens to the loved ones of the people who do become one.

Okay, now just to make sure that I’m not overly praising this series: it does have Madhouse’s acting problem again. And with that, I mean that their character designs are so complex that it becomes really hard to animate them properly, making their acting feel a bit akward. Especially the first half suffers of this, when dramatic speeches can get a bit awkward due to choppy facial animation. It also remains a series that is dedicated to action. Don’t expect world class drama here. It’s simple drama with simple characters that just comes together wonderfully, especially after the glaring flaws that the earlier Marvel series had, this really was the closure that the franchise needed.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Great combination of action and plot, both which are surprisingly interesting.
Characters: 9/10 – A ton of attention to all kinds of character backgrounds was really appreciated, and the characters dwarf the cast of all of the other Marvel series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Fantastic soundtrack, though the animation has a few issues here and there.
Setting: 8/10 – More anime should follow this series’ example of not picking the most overused premises to go with!

Suggestions:
Ultraviolet: Code 044
Claymore
Kurozuka

3 Responses

  1. sket the frenchie says:

    You was not alone…i watched this serie too :) don’t worry ^^

  2. Ando says:

    I agree, Blade was the best of the four (which, admittedly, doesn’t say much). If only the fights were better animated – the black screen with white text thing was never a good idea. I actually liked the second episode and only decided to continue with the show after watching it, since I thought the first episode was unforgivably bad. I’m glad I stuck with it.

  3. Kyosei says:

    Admittedly I was initially watching this for Maaya Sakamoto but I was glad I gave this series a chance. A shame the animation wasn’t always that great but at least by the second half everything started looking pretty nice.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:49 PM)
    The first half in particular seems to drag and go no-where.
    I think that they’ve taken these films too far now.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:48 PM)
    The actors are really sleepwalking their way through this one for the most part also and the snarky humour completely falls flat here, its also one of the more childish of the marvel films. I also felt that for an action film, making me wait 70 minutes for an over two hour movie to get going was inexcusable, way too much filler/dull exposition.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:48 PM)
    Got back from watching the new avengers film. But its only a decent watch at best. The hulk vs ironman scene is worthwhile as is the last act but the actions inferior to the previous film. Black widow gets some good development in this film. However despite James Spaders performance as the villain it doesn’t do enough to lift the character out of the usual undercooked marvel antagonist.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:31 PM)
    Or just torrent it and revel in its graphics. I think it makes enough of a point for itself to push you over the fence to buy it.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:29 PM)
    Get the Disappearance of Ethan Carter. Should be cheap on steam and it’s one of the best looking games out there. The atmosphere, music, story and the Lovecraftian vibe makes it a memorable game.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:27 PM)
    @Aidan: SSDs are worth ever penny, since they make quite an observable difference. I wouldn’t bother with Unity unless you really enjoyed the last two games, although I think Black Flag was a much better game.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:19 PM)
    I am loving this laptop already. two drives with one being a regular 1 terabyte and the other being a 250 solid state drive. Anything on that SSD runs like lightening.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:17 PM)
    I don’t know, I am still having fun with DxD. Laughed my ass off over his power up.
    Got the Kill la kill vibe from Gakuan straight away. So far I found it alright but I wonder if I should bother finishing it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 11:16 PM)
    @Bam, Exactly that. The graphics card came with the laptop and I got the game free because of that. Also could get assassins creed unity for free as well but I think I am not going to bother with that.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 10:58 PM)
    Anybody else getting a strong Kill la Kill vibe from Mikagura Gakuen or is it just me? This is pretty bad tho. I can’t even get myself to watch the third episode, which is where some people said it gets better.

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