Posted by psgels on 29 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Blood-C

Blood-C is a very difficult series to recommend. The thing is that this is one series where if you like it, you’ll like it a lot. However, if you dislike it, you’ll grow a deep seated hate against the main cast of this show. I belong in the camp of the former (hence the high rating for this review), but I do want to give out a warning, because this is a rather hard series to get into.

For starters, at heart Blood-C is a mystery horror series, with a high emphasis on building up and atmosphere. It has the building up pacing of a Bee-Train series, but differs completely in the characterization department. What this means in practice is that the entire first half will be spent on nothing but very mundane daily life, intermixed with various battles and action scenes, with very few hints towards the overall storyline. The characters all are very mundane and by far the weirdest part is that this show for a long period of time hardly ever tries to give them some depth. Instead, they’re just like the random people you might run into in a class room or on the street. Oh, and the characters have strange tendencies to make weird decisions at times.

Now, I refuse to spoil the exact how and why of things, but the second half is where this series really shines, and slowly begins to uncover its mysteries. Its plot is so constructed that as a viewer, you can be able to figure out what’s going on by yourself, but even then the final episodes in which everything is revealed pack a great punch and justify a lot of the weird things that happened throughout the series. If, at least, they didn’t get on your nerves too much. The thing is, that that is very easy, and as soon as this series loses your suspense of disbelief with it (which is rather easy with annoying characters), the atmosphere also stops being captivating, and you’ll be even more bored.

It does remain a wonderful atmosphere though. The creators make excellent use of the soundtrack handed to them, and the storytelling combines gory horror together with classical Japanese horror, which tries to capture its viewer through its slow storytelling. Especially the juxtaposition between the very mundane slice of life and the intense fights creates a wonderful tension that can be cut with a knife as the series goes on.

Also, the action scenes. Blood-C really sets itself apart through these things, and they are absolutely brutal and really well choreographed. Instead of the usual shortcuts, Saya is fully animated as she struggles with all sorts of blood thirsty monsters who make it a huge challenge to be actually beaten. The animation in the first number of episodes in particular is just absolutely wonderful, but even in the latter episodes as the budget dies down, the creators still aim to tell as much as possible through the action scenes with as much life-like animation as possible. The gore also is gore on a completely different level in this scene. It absolutely spares nobody. Usually when people die, the camera conveniently focuses on a different shot. Not here: here we can see all of details. Or at least, in the DVD versions we will.

There are a few acting problems here and there, and in particular the characterization has some major flaws in not trying hard enough to flesh out the cast, but overall I really liked this show for what it accomplished, and for the huge risks it took. This really isn’t for everyone. If you find yourself not able to get into the atmosphere because of the characters, then it’s very likely that you’re not going to enjoy this series. If you do however, you’re in for one heck of an intense ride.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Hard to get into, but excellent atmosphere, excellent sense of mystery and build-up and great plot twists.
Characters: 8/10 – Leaves things to be desired in the characterization department, but nevertheless an enjoyable cast that especially gets interesting near the end.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Absolutely wonderful animation and action scenes. Production IG really are un-matched when it comes to hand to hand combat.
Setting: 9/10 – A great concept, great ideas behind the whole story, and it’s great to see how many risks this show takes for the sake of its plot.


31 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    Whoa! This is 12 episodes?! I thought it was gonna be 26!

  2. Rex says:

    I really hope they tie it in with the previous entires in the series, the first movie and maybe blood+. Though this seems to head more towards the first movie as its base story, the whole working for the american/japanese government. That story wasnt in blood+.

  3. pacifikix says:

    You’ve definitely got me curious now! Going to have to check this out. Nice review.

  4. brianwuzhere says:

    @Firechick, lol if this was 26 episodes…paced as slow as it was, a lot of people would’ve dropped this show a long time ago. That said, I’m one of the few who actually liked it, especially the finale.

  5. Kim says:

    I haven’t seen this so I have no opinions of my own.

    But your review is the first positive one I saw for this show. Everyone else seems really disappointing. But it’s interesting to read a counter opinion.

  6. Darth_Malleus says:

    I’m one of those people who were, I’ll admit it, horrified by the death and gore of this story. I consider that I can take a level of violence, but this was several levels past my limit. The plot almost had me bored out of my skin, then the second half kicked off. I was taken in by the disbelief but stayed for the plot twists and the WTF moments. That was what made this story unique, I beleive.

  7. Joojoobees says:

    “with very few hints towards the overall storyline”

    I think this is the remarkable thing about Blood-C: the storyline IS the mystery. That might sound dumb to those who haven’t watched it, but this show is unusual. Even in a mystery you know WHAT the mystery is, you know whether you are looking for the murderer, or the antidote for the poison, or whatever. In Blood-C the mystery is itself a mystery. You are forced to look for clues (and they are there), but you aren’t told what the mystery is, and this left some viewers to dismiss the series as having nothing going on. There is a mystery, but it is being kept a secret from you.

    I was very impressed, and this has me psyched up to watch the movie as well.

  8. lubu says:

    Pretty sure I posted on here after the third or fourth episode that I was frustrated with the series. I did end up completing it, although it’s left a sour taste in my mouth.

    I felt like the logic for the antagonists goal was very, very weak. I won’t post spoilers, but when you get to the exposition, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    Amazingly good action sequences though. I just feel like the pacing was poor, the mystery wasn’t one. This series was one director away from greatness.

  9. lubu says:

    Pretty sure I posted on here after the third or fourth episode that I was frustrated with the series. I did end up completing it, although it’s left a sour taste in my mouth.

    I felt like the logic for the antagonists goal was very, very weak. I won’t post spoilers, but when you get to the exposition, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    Amazingly good action sequences though. I just feel like the pacing was poor, the mystery wasn’t one. This series was one director away from greatness.

  10. Snowolf says:

    You all know how much I loved this show. Probably makes it way to my top 25 favorites of all time.

    Thanks so much for blogging and loving it psgels, when most folks couldn’t. It’s been a pleasure! :) (Personally I would have given it between a 87-92 out of 100 but then again, my ratings have never strayed far from yours, so.)

  11. Gell says:

    OH YEAH man this series is beyond awesome!
    So elegant an exploration of so many themes, like moe slice of life shows, for one, and and, so so many things. I mean, people dislike this because of ADD every episode was ultra moody and the violence is so cathartic and i´s just so karmic and tragic and terrifying. The idea of finding-losing yourself within a narrative, within a history, the dynamics of power in this world (with the powerfull lines spoken by the elder bairns during the series)
    The sort of incestious tension between Saya and her “father” resulting in one of the most violent and powerful animated duels in recent memory…
    It really reminds me of twin peaks, it´s particularily beautiful how they integrated the coffee-guimauve consumption lol.
    Saya, like Odin, has to lose an eye to gain greater awareness (althought she should be able to regenerate it I mean, she lost half her head-brains!)
    Anyway, as always, Japan keep the cool coming, fuck the haters, do it for the love of it, as always, godspeed.


  12. Obsidian says:

    First @gell dude chill man there are good reason why people had hated the anime initially.

    Now me and psgels agree here — this series had a phenomenal ending and I mean extremely cool.

    Most of the characters weren’t the same but I think most of us kinda expected that.
    The second part of this series was extremely good and yeah some of the deaths even made me cringe but was excellently handled.

    Overall, this series gets a 3.5/5 for me for having a good storyline and action at the end.

  13. Gell says:

    just think about it this way: How many shows with this structure-content-themes do you know of?
    There will always be another moe sliceoflife thing or shounen adventure. And that´s great but jewels like this come only once a year at the most.
    I remember being really intrigued by sequences like int the first episode, when Saya sings while going to school. It just feels so fucking ominous, I don´t know, as I said, you just don´t see things like this all the time. If you think about it the show is super deep, super deep. Like, meta stuff. It´s always the case with stories where people put on an act, as in, the end of the show being the end of the lie (there was a similar thing in eva 2.22 with shinji at the end, as an avatar of the director, transcends (or at leasts tries to) the narrative that is evangelion (evangelion the series as well as the world inside the series)
    Authors have been trying to incorporate this meta-level into everything now because we, as postmodern consumers feel pretty claustrophobic “normal” stories. Among the many “stories about stories” in anime recently blood-c is one of the most potent.

    What more could one ask for?

  14. MAruu says:

    huhu why it has only 12epi? anyways its really good anime :)

  15. Lloyd says:

    I honestly do not think I could be more excited about an anime movie than I am about this one.

    And I loved Steins;gate.

  16. Mormegil says:

    Kubo wrote the plot to this anime. That’s the only explanation. TROLOLOLOLOLOL sums everything up perfectly.

    I laughed throughout the entire show. Really.

  17. Whisperer says:

    I loved Shiki and Gilgamesh. They are shows I’d watch again if I had the time. Maybe I’ll just watch this Kurozuka thing instead.

    As for Blood-C, not really willing to see if the s**tstorm is warranted. Never did like the Blood franchise, and Clamp ruins every good premise with its preference for (looooong limbs and) crossovers.

  18. Bree says:

    @Gell “How many shows with this structure-content-themes do you know of?”

    Madoka comes to mind.

  19. Nic says:

    Wow! Seriously, you recommend Shiki next to this freaking trainwreck? I honestly don’t understand what you see in this show, especially when you’ve openly criticized other shows that were remarkably similar in their lack of coherent writing.

    I mean, I watched this series for one reason alone: The fights. They fight sequences were incredible and quite intense. And that’s what sold that series to me. Everything else was a complete failure.

    The root of the problem is that those characters are as bland as a cardboard box and we’re supposed to care for them somehow. Any series with such boring characters and whose “subtle hints” are so subtle you could guess the big twist after 4-5 episodes is bound to end up in failure. Anyone who didn’t realize it by then is flat out daft.

    They dragged the show with bland characters and the brutality wore off at the half-way point for me because quite frankly, I didn’t care anymore. It was violence to the point of being masturbatory, completely gratuitous. Fight-slaughter-rinse-repeat for 12 episodes. And then it dropped 90% of the story development in the last 2 episodes. The mark of shabby writing.

    Let me be blunt, I consider this a 6/10 series but if it wasn’t for its technical prowess with the fights, this would go as low as 3/10 for me. A complete disaster from beginning to end. I just can’t see how anyone can take that story seriously considering its godawful execution.

    Even the last episode, which was probably the best, added a bunch of pointless brutal violence when you’ve been desensitized to it 6 episodes ago. They used slaughter to fill the void that its boring story couldn’t fill.

    And yet, I somehow want to see that movie to see her revenge because her character seems slightly more interesting and I don’t want to have watched 12 episodes of this crap without having seen the ending. Whoever directed the show ought to be fired.

    • braintree says:

      Apologies for replying to such an old comment, but I’d recently gotten around to watching this show and wanted to see what psgels thought of it.

      I’ll start by saying that I disagree with pretty much everything you’ve said about the series, but tastes differ, so hey. I wanted to ask, though, about your thoughts on the foreshadowing.

      …”subtle hints” are so subtle you could guess the big twist after 4-5 episodes…Anyone who didn’t realize it by then is flat out daft.”

      I was wondering which part of the ‘big twist’ you were referring to, (or perhaps even all of it?) As for myself, the chain of events starting at the end of episode ten completely caught me off guard, throwing everything I’d thought about the series for a loop. Now, I don’t mind it if I’m considered daft by your standards, but I’m very much curious as to what gave everything away so quickly for you.

      I mean, in episode two, I thought that the ‘thing guimauve tastes/feels like’ was likely flesh or blood, since Saya’s inhumanity was fairly obvious. A few episodes later, I guessed that the blood was her father’s, and maybe that’d go partway to explaining why she seems to adore him a little excessively. Did I have any idea that her dad was a monster, or that Saya couldn’t drink human blood? Not a clue.

      Same with the ‘uncanniness’ of the town. Around episode four, I started to wonder why people weren’t more freaked out about the disappearances, and why there was only one of everything. When I watched five, I assumed the town had made some ancient pact with the monsters, like a secret lottery to determine who’d be sent out and be eaten. The whole thing about ‘breaking the covenant’ and ‘Shrovetide’? I assumed that for whatever reason, Tadayoshi and Fumito were the only adults in town who were still hostile to the idea of letting people die and were using Saya (a vampire they’d somehow defeated and ‘sealed’ into that oft-mentionned ‘promise’) to try and fight back against the status quo. That and maybe a dozen other theories flashed through my head during the two days it took me to finish Blood-C, but when the big reveal actually came, I was shocked.

      When Fumito declared that the entire town is made up of actors and/or people recruited to live there? And that he gave some people charms that somehow kept them alive despite being turned into paste*? Blew my mind.

      So…I’m not sure how flippant I may sound, but I’d honestly like to go back sometime and see what kind of hints there were about all of those things. I’m not exactly the most observant person, and it’d probably help me a hell of a lot to understand as a whole just what went on.

      *I will admit, that part was ridiculous. All but one of the ‘main cast’ who ‘came back from the dead’ had been turned to near pulp right in front of our eyes, and then they’re suddenly strolling around unhurt? At first I thought, maybe the twins and such aren’t human (hence that one odd sequence where it seems like Nene’s purposefully using her shadow to massacre the entire shopping district), but when the ‘main cast’ didn’t have their charms and died from equal/lesser mutilation, I did raise an eyebrow.

  20. Obsidian says:

    @ Gell inspired me with the postmodernist mention though gratuitous gore doesn’t always play well.

    The show’s movie seems promosing

  21. KittiChan1 says:

    I have to say this serie is by far the bloodiest of all anime I’ve seen. There were way too many death though it was understandable. It was still kinda hard too watch. Sometimes I was about to throw up and sometimes I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. The ending wasn’t really sastisfying. But I gonna watch the movie anyway, so I can expect at least some answers. The future is gonna be red “bloody red”^^. When’s the movie coming out again?

  22. Anca says:

    I don’t think you need suspension of disbelief to watch this; maybe a hint of lack of cynicism about series… I found it pretty obvious right from the start that the town was Not Right. My first thought when I saw Saya’s classmates was ‘Those twins are creepy’, ‘There’s no way that girl is in highschool’ and ‘what is up with those blood colored uniforms?’. And those pink cakes – my thought was ‘that’s made with blood’ but I still felt sick when it turned out to be worse. And Saya… I was waiting for some big reveal. And the series didn’t disappoint.

    I’ve read a lot of CLAMP series, and this was perfectly in line, though I think it was grimdarkest since Tokyo Babylon.

  23. Gintoki says:

    YES. I finally had the time to marathon the remaining 7 episodes!
    The last 2 episodes were brilliant, and totally made the earlier episodes make a lot more sense(they felt two-dimensional because it was all an act- they wanted to keep Saya in a perfect and happy world after all. Otherwise though, the first 10 episodes were kind of a chore to sit through. Actually, I think they could have cut this series in half and add more post-“idyllic world” plot. I pretty much tolerated it all just to get to the magnificent ending, although I do have to admit there was one more highlight to the series other than the conclusion:the gore. The bloody action scenes were both gruesome and thrilling to watch. If it wasnt for those scenes I would’ve dropped this series without a second thought, and I;m not such a big fan of gore either…unless its done well. :)
    Also, is anyone hoping that Watanuki’s going to make an appearance? I’m REAAALLY hoping he’s the dog even though I’m sick of CLAMP crossovers…
    Also, about the flimsy and improbable reason to the antagonist’s actions: If he’s got the resources and money to burn, why not? When your an evil genius, you don’t really have to care about the implications I guess. He gets to do whatever he wants because he CAN.

    @Mormegil:HAHAHAHA…yeah, Kubo goes by another name during his free time: CLAMP. DUH. I shoud’ve known.After all, they are both the masters of trolling(darn it,the ending of TRC and xxxHoliiiiicccc!!)

  24. Gintoki says:

    Sorry, I meant does anyone one hope Watanuki is going to make an appearance in the MOVIE. :)
    *I meant you’re not your argh.
    **Forgive me for saying also twice. Thats just bad writing. Sometimes I wish I could just reedit my posts.

  25. AG3333 says:

    Checked out the start if this series (I plan to watch it soon)
    I think most of the negative reviews comes from the fact that this Blood is very different from the previous Blood adaptations.

    I’m guessing this series might have rated higher if it was called something else.

  26. Will says:

    And what do you know, I actually came to love the series for its awkwardness and plain story line (blood bath).

  27. braintree says:

    Honestly? I loved this series. Would probably give it more of an 85-87, and I can’t wait for the film to come out.

  28. ncky says:

    Thank you for writing a review about this series, it was an awesome ride!! This is really the reason why I watch anime!

    Blood-C reminds me of the horror movie ‘Cabin in the woods’! Nothing seems like it is and also all that blood and gore.. I’m curious about the Blood-C movie, gonna watch it asap!

  29. Arno says:

    The interesting part was the slow unraveling mystery. The less, much less interesting part was the totally ridiculous monsters.

    The gore part was intense, certainly, but you could also suspect that this is the kind of thing you add when you know there is not much in your story.

  30. Dissapointment says:

    the best part of the anime to me probably the last episode , but the rest really are not so interesting to me , 1-10 episode just like a repetitive side-quest with a little bit differences there , what i only care about is the dog , her pop and one of her classmate i have forgotten his name already , their death scenes are something and the rest just sucks , where is the promising mysteries i can’t find it even after i watched the movie of this anime , the story is just too shallow where 0 mystery found unlike the pandora hearts ._.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:23 AM)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, even tho it was his highest grossing movie it managed to brought his career to a stand-still. His next film Gods of Egypt looks like it could be fun, albeit it’s just as much as a CGIfest as I, Robot. Egyptian stuff is admittedly rather intriguing, I remember a 2004 French film Immortel ad vitam that blended that with modern themes that became popular for a while.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    *remove second and
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    @Bam: Regarding dark city, such a shame the director of that followed up dark city and the crow and with Irobot.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:41 AM)
    @Kaiser: oh The Celebration- I actually seen that as well, great movie. Didn’t know it was the same director, but thinking back now I can see the similar touches despite the difference in tone.

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