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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  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 10:16 AM)
    @K-off: it’s the old doctor’s approach: start with the worst case scenario, and everything from then on would feel like a downhill Sprint. Never wanna raise the patient’s hope and then crush it with unfortunate reality.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 05:08 AM)
    @Kaiser As Tom Lehrer said, “always predict the worst, and you’ll be hailed as a prophet.” Not putting that movie down or anything, but the 70s was a period of time when it was rather easy to pick on the middle east in the middle of the OPEC embargo.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:22 AM)
    Loosely related but damn, I remember when Network called out (though briefly) America’s relation with the saudi’s.
    Brave 70s movie.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:20 AM)
    They pretty much own a chunk of our economy, we can’t afford that shizz right now. Granted their own economy ain’t hot enough to pull their investments, but oil countries stay afloat as long as they have oil.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:17 AM)
    Saudi Arabia was involved you say? Nonsense! Only 9 of 12 perpetrators were Saudi, and you know only the other three matter.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:01 AM)
    @Kaiser Oh yeah, I have a huge problem with how Saudi Arabia’s been skirting around those issues and making backdoor connections they knew they couldn’t uphold. Lucrative deals dating back to FDR, the Gulf War, and now they’re fighting some bullshit proxy war in Syria with their money.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:49 AM)
    @K-off: I see the Saudi’s are pretending they weren’t in on 9/11.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:47 AM)
    @K-off: On a funnier side of politics though, Gerry Adams got in trouble for shitweeting about Django Unchained, trying to compare black oppression to Irish being oppressed, also people went apeshit because he jokingly said nigger.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:44 AM)
    @Kaiser and then there’s Turkey, which wants in on the EU really badly but can’t seem to behave itself when it comes to oh-so-stable caucusus region.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:39 AM)
    Though Britain leaving the EU is a curious thing…as Northern Ireland would have to go along with that…
    …I would be then in a country that is partially in the EU.

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