Blood+ is a 2005 anime directed by Junichi Fujisaku. It was (very loosely) based off of the movie Blood: The Last Vampire and was supposed to be some sort of amazing epic action horror drama filled to the brim with glorious characterization where the creative staff flaunt how much money they’ve put into this project by hiring Mark Mancina as the composer. I can’t keep making this sound like it’s great, guys. This is a whiny review for a reason, so let’s get to the whining.
But first… man that music sure is nice. The cool thing about all these silly Japanese cartoons is that when you see a western name (or really any non-Asian name, for that matter) in the credits, that person is bound to be pretty awesome. Like all those random amazing animators Toei has like Rem Valencia and Paul Año-Nuevo. Mark Mancina is of course no exception, and they’ve even got Hans Zimmer doing the music production work. The end result is that Blood+ has really good music. Cool.
Blood+ also has two of my most favourite opening sequences in anime ever. The second and third openings have such amazing senses of style and I like the second opening’s song more than anything Mark Mancina did for this. But the praise basically stops here.
While it would be really amazing if all of Blood+ was animated in the style of its third opening sequence, the unfortunate fact is that its style is rather generic and unremarkable, at least in comparison to that. Most anime are guilty of this by definition, of course. But even the animation quality is very lacking, with only four or five of its 50 episodes having anything really noteworthy.
For a series that’s supposed to be an action series, it sure spends a lot of time on everything other than action scenes. The action scenes that are there are typically short, and typically not very sweet. It’s boring when every single fight is Hagi getting stabbed a billion times, Saya flailing her sword around uselessly until it’s just time to end the fight and then suddenly her sword works. Sometimes they skip straight to the final step, which results in incredibly short fight scenes, of course.
Most of its time is spent on the drama. Only… it’s not very good, either. It just feels like they’re pulling out every cliched bad thing that could happen, especially in the first half of the series. This makes it really predictable. This would have been acceptable had we ever been given any reason to care about the characters dealing with this stuff. But, well, that doesn’t really happen either.
The problem is that none of these characters have any real depth to them. They barely even have anime-depth. They basically have one personality trait and one goal, and nothing else. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were literally all written that way. “Saya is angsty. Saya wants to angst about how she’s different from everyone else (except she was treated the same as everyone else so why is this a problem again?). Hagi is quiet. Hagi wants to be with Saya. Kai is insecure in an irritable way. Kai wants to be with Saya. Mao is a complete badass. Mao wants to be the only likeable character.” Not very good characters, generally.
But that’s what it spends most of its time on. This gets worse in the second half, where it feels like almost nothing actually happens for at least 10 episodes straight. There’s barely even any drama or melodrama or fighting during this period.
I don’t want to say Blood+ is genuinely bad, but I do want to say it’s mediocre. There is nothing special here. And if you’re going to make someone sit through 50 episodes of something, it better be good, darn it! Here are some important facts about Blood+, to acknowledge the few things about it that actually are special:
• Blood+ has a lot of reverse harem elements, so if you’re into that it’ll be a lot easier to find something to like here.
• Hagi puts his cello back into its case with the endpin still out (this is not possible; his case does not have a hole for it).
• Akiko Yajima is really really mean to Akiko Yajima and does very unique (and mean) things to Akiko Yajima. If you watch it with Japanese audio, anyway.
tl;dr Don’t watch this for the title. It’s a lie. Watch it only if you want to watch attractive devoted gentlemanly guys being violent and sometimes gentlemanly.