Before we begin, I’d like to thank and welcome all the recent newcomers visiting this blog after Irina’s generous recommendation. I’m still a little dumbfounded, to be honest! Here I am, about to make an academy awards speech when I’m still incredibly small-time on this platform, but please understand, this stuff doesn’t usually happen to me. I’m a pretty reclusive guy with few expectations when it comes to my social interactions, especially on social networking. In spite of myself, I’m very much a glass-half-empty sort of person. So when I become the recipient of random acts of kindness such as this, it kinda shatters my cynical worldview for a little while, and leaves me at a loss for how to react. In this case, I’m reacting by waggling my fingers across my keyboard to produce a needlessly-long paragraph which vaguely resembles a statement of gratitude. Thanks a bunch to each and every one of you, is what I’m trying to say. And Irina, if there’s anything I can do to return the favour at any point, just say the word. What, you ask, is “the word?” I dunno… platypus? You can make it up.
**This review will feature some vague spoilers– nothing that you couldn’t have predicted for yourself, I don’t think. But if you wish to watch this for yourself without any preconceived notions, I suggest you watch the anime first, and read this later!**
Blood-C: Poplar’s Thoughts
So! With all that gushing out of the way, what have I brought to the table for you guys as a token of my thanks? A review about a relatively-simple anime in which hundreds of people are gruesomely killed by giant monsters. Great job, Jake. You really nailed this one.
…But yeah. That’s probably how I would describe this anime if someone asked me to do so in a single sentence. This is basically Shingeki no Kyoujin set in rural Japan, minus the intricate plot and characters. The only thing it does better? The killing. It’s beyond brutal. Like, when people get killed in this, they get really, really, really killed.
While this isn’t the first anime I’ve watched to indulge itself in a good bloodbath, it may be the first I’ve seen that takes such sadistic pleasure in each and every droplet. If your favourite part of slasher films is watching the killer come up with new and inventive ways to terrorise and slaughter his way through the main cast, then this show might be right up your alley.
Which is to say, this show contains an abundance of blood, gore, and very graphic violence. If you find any of these things disturbing, you will likely want to avoid this one. I did use some discretion in the screenshots I took, so as not to include any pics too ridiculously gruesome for general consumption, but I still wanted to throw that out there while this review is still relatively young.
But what if death, blood, and monster guts aren’t exactly your cup of tea? Should you bother watching this anime?
I’d say no.
Honestly, the action sequences are one of the only redeeming factors. The first three or so episodes are slow and samey– almost like a “villain of the week” show, along the lines of Jigoku Shoujo, wherein each episode follows a similar and fairly predictable routine. It shakes things up after the first few episodes, but in my opinion, the first three episodes are the most important. Ideally, you want to hook your audience members right out of the gates. Otherwise, there’s nothing stopping them from getting bored and deciding to watch something else. I did so on numerous occasions; but then again, it’s a good day when I can stay focused on any one thing for longer than five seconds.
Also, in terms of visuals, things could get a bit… weird.
Interestingly, the jankiness of the characters’ body proportions only seemed to affect the male characters– especially Fumito, the character you see above. Now, I’m not much of a visual artist myself, but back when I spent a lot of time on DeviantArt, I encountered a phenomenon in which certain artists who were terrific at drawing female anime characters seemed to have considerably more difficulty drawing male characters– some would even refuse to draw them. The anime/manga medium in general is much better-known for its cute girls than its boys; and as I’m sure some of you are aware, there are many series out there where the viewer can watch from start to finish without seeing a single male character. Inversely, I can’t think of a single series off the top of my head which feature zero women. Is this common discrepancy part of the reason why the male characters can look so weird in Blood-C? I can’t say for certain, but that’s the way I chose to interpret it. I also found that the visuals seemed to improve as the series went on… or maybe I just got used to them.
As I mentioned above, I think the action sequences are the main draw to this anime. While not necessarily visual masterpieces, some of them were just… really cool. A lot of the monsters (or Furukimono— lit. “Old Ones”) are ripped straight from a child’s nightmare, or from Japanese folklore, and in both cases were creatively-designed and lovingly-crafted for the purpose of hacking, slashing, biting, and/or ripping people limb-from-limb. The fight choreography could get a bit silly at times (“Why is she doing that?“), and the fights do sometimes suffer from some rather arbitrary laws of physicality. It’s not uncommon in this series to watch Saya struggle to cut the tentacles of the monster she’s fighting– they deflect her blade like armour… until they don’t. She’ll be able to cut those very same tentacles clean off as soon as the choreography demands it. All in all, I’m willing to overlook these things in an anime if it means we get to have cool and fast-paced action sequences like the ones in Blood-C.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the action sequences are enough to carry this series, at least in my opinion. One of the main reasons I dislike Hollywood movies so much is their excessive reliance on action and special effects: things that may take countless hours and outrageous amounts of money to produce, that will excite people for maybe a week or so at best before they forget about it all. Basing an entire series off of these things is like trying to bake a cake using only icing and sprinkles. It doesn’t matter how tasty your icing is if the cake itself is an afterthought. While Blood-C might not have had the same profligate production values as a Hollywood action film, it suffers from those same failings: All sprinkles, no cake.
…Okay, I think I’m done with the cake metaphors, now. I think.
When I read Blood-C’s summary, I was excited to watch it. It sounded right up my alley, like a story I would try to write if I didn’t already have a million other things I want to write: An upbeat, seemingly-innocent schoolgirl by day who defends her small town from an ancient evil by night, just as her mother did before her, and her grandmother before her. Unfortunately, it is execution of the idea, not the idea itself, which makes the story good. A good tale told poorly will frustrate the audience– or worse, bore them; however, a good storyteller can make the best out of even the shakiest of story foundations.
The kicker about all this is that… none of it matters. Why? Well, this story has one of the most unusual, almost fourth-wall-breaking “gotcha” plot twists ever. The setting, the story, the characters, all of them have so little meaning by the time the story is over that you really have nothing left to appreciate besides the action sequences, even if the purposefully-underdeveloped story and characters did somehow resonate with you. Worse yet… I kinda predicted this plot twist for myself, half-jokingly, about halfway through the anime. This is why I hate being right.
And so it is that the tale is wrapped up in a somewhat unsatisfying– if decisive– climax. The thing I find saddest about this is that the anime ends right as you think it’s about to get good. If they’d spent less time bumbling about with the ultimately meaningless setting or those lazy first three episodes, they would have had been able to commit much more runtime towards telling a decent, if not exciting, revenge story!
Okay, I think I’ll wrap this one up here. I could go on, but I think you guys get the point. My overall opinion of this anime?
I did not enjoy this one as much as I expected to from the summary (which is why I don’t usually trust them), but I didn’t hate watching it. It was still enjoyable for me to watch whilst eating pizza and sampling craft beers on a Friday night. Like I said, you’ll probably get some amusement out of this one if you enjoy thoughtless entertainment and/or gory spectacles like horror films.
Have you watched Blood-C? If so, what did you think? I may write up a part two for this anime… just because I can. Maybe a Top 5 Best Deaths, or something. Some of them were pretty funny, and I didn’t include any of them in the pics here because I wanted to keep things PG-13. Would that be of interest to anyone? Or only me
because apparently I’m a psychopath? Anyhoo, that’s all for now. Until next time, cheers.