Posted 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.

Suggestions:
Kurozuka
Gilgamesh

Posted on with categories: Blood-C



So that was both an excellent ending an an excellent hook for the upcoming movie. The whole story of the village is wrapped up nicely, while the main villain is still alive and proving to be an awesome foe for a movie storyline.

And heck, I’ll say it: for me this was the most emotionally intense ending of the season. I mean, gore is one thing. Gore animated by Production IG is of a whole different level. This episode was incredibly disturbing in how this episode surpassed the previous episodes. Even when censored it was hard to watch, so imagine what the DVD version must look like. The animation and especially the choreography made it one heck of an intense ride.

My one complaint of this episode was that I still don’t get why the extras never suspected anything. I mean, I can understand that they all used this as a last resort: we’ve seen what the main bad guy can do: grant certain kinds of wishes. The main cast was lured in with their magical bells, but how were the extras prevented from just running away? Were they just not informed that their counterparts died by clever logistics?

Overall, I have a message for the ones who hate this show, and yet decided to keep watching it: this is a series that heavily relies on its atmosphere and suspense of disbelief. If this series manages to successfully suspend your disbelief, it will be able to build up an awesome horror atmosphere that never lets up. If this series doesn’t manage to suspend your disbelief though, you’re not going to get anything out of this series. It’s flawed storytelling in the sense that the creators made no back-up plan in the case that your suspense of disbelief was broken (which granted was rather easy), but bad storytelling? Nah, I disagree with that.

Especially after this episode explained the entire series. I love the ideas that the creators put into the overall plot. It had some often used Clamp tropes, but there was more than enough to set itself apart. The whole idea that the happy and simple minded Saya was just a creation of the main villain, and was what he wanted her to be is especially an idea that worked really well with me. Especially now that we got to see the real Saya. The entire series was an attempt to get her away from that persona of her.

I wouldn’t call it character development, but what I really like about this episode is how it gave the main side characters a totally different meaning. Saya’s “father” suddenly became someone who is the closest to who she really is, and Yuuka was a nice subversion of the high school girls you usually see in fiction who look way too old for their age.

There are also still plenty of mysteries left for the movie to solve, but what I’m particularly intrigued about is Saya’s background: this entire series teased us with such a false persona, and the movie will be a great chance to really get to know her, and find out why she can’t kill humans, or what makes her want to kill humans so badly.

There were things that this show did wrong, but here is the thing: this show took risks. Huge ones. And for that, I really appreciate it.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 23 September 2011 with categories: Blood-C



It’s not like I can’t understand the hate behind this series. I myself am incredibly biased against overacting moe stereotypes. so any build-up of atmosphere or character gets lost on me for those shows (that’s also why I am not going to bother with The Idolmaster no matter how good people say it ends up to be). But found this episode to be amazing.

I’m really glad to see that this series knew how to build up. A major problem of mystery series is that they are excellent in asking questions, but rather straight-forward in answering them. This episode revealed the nature behind this world, and it did a wonderful job at it. The backstory of this show is very imaginative. The previous episodes hinted enough to it, but this show really has a unique role for its main character, and in particular the side characters, even though they took a huge risk with it.

I mean, the drag turned out to be a major part of the plot: Saya herself just wouldn’t remember, and so the side characters all got sick of waiting and pretending to be stock characters. Saya staying the same: also part of the plot: the whole point of it was to see whether she could do that. I especially love how just about every character has been putting up a huge act in front of Saya. I mean, I saw that coming, but not in this magnitude. Seriously, in terms of overall plot, I’d say that the balls of this series this season are second to only Penguin Drum. I love the shows like these that take risks like this.

With this, I can really forgive the wait. I mean, I dislike series that focus too much on building up, but I absolutely love the kinds of series that just build up to one climax, and make that count. This all came together wonderfully. My one complaint is that at times the acting was a bit awkward. Mostly when characters started yelling, it wasn’t the most believably drawn.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 16 September 2011 with categories: Blood-C



Here is the thing, I have to confess something about this series. I can understand some of its flaws. The characterization does leave a lot to be desired.

And yet, I find myself invested more emotionally than any other summer show aside from perhaps Penguin Drum. And it’s like that for nearly every episode. Because of that I just keep trying to describe why I’m exactly like this. But the thing just is: this show is simple, flawed, but I love every minute of it. And on top of that, unlike most of the other shows this season, it actually looks to head into an excellent conclusion. It’s been promising this from day one.

This episode, well it had it coming that some of the things happened the way they did. However, what I consider to be bad predictability is not when you can tell what is going to happen, but rather how and when it will (after all, a good story foreshadows or builds up its plot twist). The way in which the teacher broke the illusion was a gripping way to do it, especially with the use of the books. The whole scene in the cafeteria also had something really surreal about it. After all that carnage, Saya just sits happily in the cafeteria like nothing happened. It all fits into all of the other moments where she just felt… distant.

Call me a horror fan, but I again loved the fights and the atmosphere here. It’s not even the gore that gets to me the most, but rather the build-up and the constant tension, the slightly surreal setting and the brutal gore strengthen it even more for me.

And of course, I agree that simply being different does not necessarily make you good. A leap-frog getting drunk in a graveyard is different, but also terrible. However, it definitely does help!
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 9 September 2011 with categories: Blood-C



Once again Blood-C delivers an absolutely stunning episode. As if the previous episode wasn’t bad enough already, this episode goes even further.

Usually when a large amount of people need to die, you often just see one big explosion or otherwise very destructive thing, followed by a heap of dead bodies. That latest episode of Number 6 is a good example of that. This however was much, much more nerve wrecking as an entire classroom gets murdered out, and we actually see the monster maul each of his victims separately. This creature just kept chipping away everyone until there were just two people left. Now that was incredibly intense. With this I’m also sure: this series has the best fight choreography of the entire season. It’s a shame that the animation couldn’t remain as good as the first episode, but each action scene still is incredibly well crafted.

The thing with Blood-C is indeed that its cast lacks complexity. But dear god, for me it throws around more and more things that just completely make up for that lack. I mean, i like character development and all, but it’s not as black and white that I only like characters with character-development, and hate the ones who don’t. I’m growing more and more fond of Saya, and the biggest reason for that is how the mystery uses her. This really is one of the few series of the Summer Season that isn’t rushed, aside from Penguin Drum and Natsume Yuujinchou, and BY GOD it shows. Heck, I’d even argue that out of all of the series that are going to end this month, this one is the one I’m looking forward to the most aside from Steins;Gate.

The second half of the episode again had me on the edge of my seat because of this. The horror here too was very effective in just building up tension, and using the build-up of the entire season. Bit by bit throughout the series, Saya remembered a bit more and we’ve now reached the point where the inconsistencies really start to show, and she’s finally starting to think for herself.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 September 2011 with categories: Blood-C



You know how often action series like to set themselves at high schools? You know how often the bad guys just ignore the most perfect targets of high school students? Yeah. This show realized that too. Holy crap that was intense! This is horror! The pacing still was excellent and the portrayal of the cast as ordinary high school students is really paying off now!

I’d also like to direct you to this interview, of the director of Blood-C and the director of Blood+ (and who has been pretty much writing every installment of the franchise). That, combined with this episode took away all of my doubts for this series: this is gonna be awesome.

The interesting thing is that the Junichi Fujisaku fully intended this Saya to be different from the Saya of Blood+ and really intended this series to make use of its creative freedom. And I have to agree that this so far has been an awesome way to expand upon the Blood Franchise. Heck, the director was intentionally planning to make the series END, while still leaving open room for the movie which will be completely different, which is EXACTLY what I’ve been hoping!

As for why I didn’t mind this series in the beginning, even though I have given up on series who started with very bland characters. For one, the execution really helped: for me, Blood-C immediately had a really tight atmosphere, and used its flashbacks combined with its battles really well to build up a sense of urgency for the cast. It puts them in a context and made me interested in what this series would look like when it really fired off. Compare that to R-15 or Baka To Test to Shoukanjuu Ni, which were just slurs of bad acting and jokes that didn’t work, with nothing that really caught my attention.

All in all, I do not think that the characters in this series are badly acted or portrayed, like for example what happened with Uta Prince and Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel, which both did try to tell some overall story, but completely lost me on how completely stupid they were. Saya herself may not be smart, but this is on a different league compared to the stupidity of the shows mentioned above. The acting here is restrained, instead of characters trying to act all over the place in the hopes of catching attention. Those are the characters that I find to be the most obnoxious the most often.

Overall I like the way this show did its cross-overs. Interestingly, it’s not the only series to have done that this season, with Blade and all. The best cross-overs can really enhance both shows and add some new things and introspectives, while being excellent stories that are still watchable on their own, no matter whether we’re talking about in-universe cameos or alternative universes. That’s why I’m not a big a fan of the Votoms alternative movies: they felt rather random and didn’t seem to add much depth to the Votoms franchise and they weren’t really interesting to watch. Same for the Precure All-Stars movies: I found them to be rather boring and they didn’t really add anything significant to Heartcatch Precure.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 26 August 2011 with categories: Blood-C



At first sight it may seem that Clamp are just reusing the same things, though they’ve actually succeeded quite well by now in building their own universe. The wish in this episode was the best example of that so far for this series: it’s of the same type of wish as with xxxHolic, Tsubasa Chronicle and Kobato, but instead of just being the same, they strengthen each other and are all different ways to look at the same concept. This episode is all about the nature of wishes: is this one going to be a good or a bad one?

This again was a very powerful episode, as it revealed that Saya’s father had pretty much been deceiving her. It’s also where the build-up of the earlier episodes comes into play again, and nothing really turn out what they seemed to be. If the earlier episodes would have immediately stated this, this revelation would not have been as powerful.

On the animation front, it is a bit of a shame that the creators couldn’t hold on to the amazingly fluent animation of the first few episodes; probably due to budget issues, but I’m glad to see that they’re still trying. Especially when that giant swordsman attacked: you could actually see him put his weight into his blows (Saya really needed her supernatural strength in order to be able to defend from forces like that!), and he really felt like he made an impact on the scenery whenever he went, destroying just about everything he stepped on, rather than just leaving giant foot-prints like a lot of other shows like to do. The attention to detail still is abundant.

Also, and this is something I just realized while up this entry… we have a dog who is the owner of a shop who sells wishes… voiced by Jun Fukuyama. Could it be? I’m getting some serious Kobato flashbacks here.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 19 August 2011 with categories: Blood-C



Holy crap! When was the last time we saw such uncompromising villains? I mean, being monsters is one thing, but this was just something of a completely different level: once they determined Saya to be a threat, they actually wasted no minutes in not just going after her friends, but also outright murdering them, and actually succeeding. These guys are definitely something else. Saya may succeed every time in killing them and all, but every time they manage to take people with them. They’re terrific in actually posing a threat, rather than the usual villains we always see who are either morons, or fail to kill off the important characters due to them being important characters.

With this, I also understand the reasoning of the creators to make Saya’s friends this bland. They could have pulled extra background, like dead parents, or complex back-stories, but the whole point of the slice of life series was for Saya to live a normal life with the only thing special about it the small details, like happening to live next to a baker who sells exotic sweets. It indeed was all for build-up, because that same tension could now be cut by a knife during the aftermath of Nono’s death. The atmosphere during this was just terrific, as it progressed with the same slow pacing as it has ever had.

It’s definitely a different way of building up the cast compared to the other end of the extreme: No.6, which tries to stuff as much details into its characters as possible. Blood-C instead depends a lot on the things that aren’t said. They’re both very tricky to really do well. At the moment I’m convinced that No.6 is going to nail its attempt. As for Blood-C, I don’t want to say that yet, but that’s only because I remember what happened to Sengoku Basara. The thing however, is that Blood-C is so far much, much better in keeping up and building its atmosphere, compared to Sengoku Basara who just kept on building up and building up, only for a few really good episodes and an ending that disappointed.

For a long time, this is also why I don’t minded Nurarihyon no Mago’s strange turn in focusing more on Rikuo’s friends: they were just spending time together, having fun and nicely fleshing out their characters without actually developing. The big problem with that show however is that all this build-up never really paid off. It was just… there, getting in the way of just about everything else.

I don’t mind a really slow pacing, as long as it’s used consciously. Blood-C has kept showing that it is one of those series, albeit in an unorthodox way that definitely isn’t for everyone. Only now it has been hinting at background, which really shows that it’s planning to reveal its background at a very late stage. That can work too! There have been tons of great series that build up a ton of intrigue and ended up closing off wonderfully by wrapping everything up. This isn’t a manga adaptation, so the creators know full well how much time they have. The big question right now is who they’re going to use the movie in this. The point is that it will take a long time for that movie to arrive. It’s therefore crucial for this series to really have a good and satisfying climax at episode 13, or otherwise the wait will just be too long (like what happened with Eden of the East, for example).
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 5 August 2011 with categories: Blood-C



Yeah, this is horror, a genre that I’m a big fan of because of how well you can build up in this genre. It’s not just the fights that are amazing, but all of the quiet moments together quietly build up a very tight atmosphere. The more I watch this series, the more I’m beginning to think that Clamp intentionally made the slice of life scenes as empty as possible.

This episode, things are a bit different, though. For once the formula is broken up by having a fight in the first half, and second of all the second half starts as quiet and random as ever, but then slowly builds up a ghost story about the background of the village. Again, it’s not just a matter of randomly yelling “the village has monsters who eat people!” -it’s all about storytelling and that same atmosphere.

The big question for this series is really whether it was properly balanced. All this build-up is wonderful, but a bit pointless if there is to little time for the actual climax, which is by far the biggest pitfall of shows who take too much time building up. With this kind of story though, this series can really pull things off if it just keeps building up its atmosphere. The ending here is going to be a crucial one: last year I expected similar things out of Sengoku Basara II, but unfortunately the ending there was ultimately disappointing. The big difference for me at the moment however, is that Blood-C has made every episode worth watching so far. At this point I’m not watching the quiet scenes just to get through them and get to the action scenes, but instead they’re part of the overall atmosphere now. Without them the action scenes wouldn’t nearly have as much impact.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 29 July 2011 with categories: Blood-C



Holy crap! The fights here just continue to get better and better. This episode once again upped the antes, with some stunning results. It really had me at the edge of my seat the entire time.

There of course was the danger of this series falling victim to the syndrome where the biggest budget is spent on the first episode. And I guess it is true that the animation is not as fluid as we saw in the first episode, but even taking that into consideration the action scenes are just stunning. This episode really surprised me at how far it went with its gore until the censors went crazy. The way the bodies of those fishermen (or whoever they were) moved when they were devoured was really well done, but the rest of the fight as well was just one giant struggle.

A big problem with this series is that the dialogue during the quiet bits isn’t that… interesting. Still, I don’t mind that at tall. One reason is because at this point I’ve got enough patience to wait until the good bits, but the other is that for me this series is really succeeding in building its atmosphere. The slice of life bits are really, really simple, but the atmosphere they create that way in combination with the contrasting dark parts of this series has really caught me in.

I also wonder: this series so far has really outright refused to share any background on just about anything that Saya has been doing. When will this be revealed, or is that going to be the task of the movie? At the very least Saya is something supernatural and that dog is no ordinary dog, but I do wonder when this show is going to start with its background. It’s rare for a series to have so little exposition in its first four episodes.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:25 AM)
    @Realist: Have you seen only lovers left alive by Jim Jarmusch?
  • afgm
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 02:05 AM)
    @Syndrom: Don’t strat too hard…
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 01:00 AM)
    @Emma Very true. But a lot of people don’t realize or acknowledge that.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:24 PM)
    Death billiards getting an announcement like that, I’m pleased with the news but am surprised by it. It was the best of those shorts that have been cropping up in recent years.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 05:39 PM)
    Well well well….Death Billiards is getting a full anime. The short was a great and does have potentail. I like. I like a lot.
  • Syndrome
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 04:23 PM)
    Ok, fourth episode of Psycho Pass was really good. I was afraid of what this second season would looks like, I’m strating now to get hyped.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:25 PM)
    @Realist: Stereotyping is intrinsic to human beings in too many ways, so much so that even when a “safe”, “attractive”, “normal” looking person is caught out they still become surprised at the revelation, even if they admit that stereotyping is wrong.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:14 PM)
    I think I’ve got a good handle on Yamaguchi Mikoto as an author now, I also read the first volume of Mayonaka and as I thought, it began deceptively and that maybe there wouldn’t be too much to it, but turns into something surprising, far more interesting.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 01:38 PM)
    @Trass, I can sort of understand that. Though as you likely noticed, psgels isn’t as active as he used to be. So rather than let this blog die a slow death it would be better to see something done with it. We ain’t prefect but well people improve over time.
  • Trass
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 12:47 PM)
    I came back here after a long while and saw how the blog is active again. I was really excited but then found out it’s not psgels who are writing the posts anymore… I’m happy but really sad at the same time ;w;

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