Disclaimer: This reivew contains some spoilers, and since they tie in directly with my most imnportant points about the show, I won’t be hiding them. Read with discretion.
Blood C (2011)
Around this time last year, the long-awaited sixth installment in the AMV Hell franchise was scheduled to be released. An incomplete version was released at some convention, and all but bombed, so it was promised that a revamped complete version would be released a few weeks later. Well, that never happened… They released the incomplete version in January, and the complete version… finally… In April.
As with the earlier installments, AMV Hell 6.66 inspired me to try out a myriad of new shows. Some of them were really good, like Arakawa Under the Bridge… some of them were really bad, like Another… There were even some guilty pleasures, like future Diary. But the show I was the most intrigued by was Blood C. It had a few clips, but all I was paying attention to was the one of a black-clad teenage action starlet battling it out with a samurai with a giant eyeball for a head. Because that… That… Was one of the most awesome things I’d ever seen. It’s not as cool as the beat-boxing samurai from Shamploo, but damn it it’s close. So, upon watching this series, did it hold up to it’s own example?
As it turns out, Blood C is a member of the Blood franchise, which contains one awesome movie, one crappy live-action movie, and a fifty episode series I still haven’t seen. The star of blood C is Saya Kisaragi, another incarnation of that iconic character… Don’t ask… Who’s a super popular, super pretty high school student by day, and a cold-blooded monster slayer by night. She lives with her father, and has five very loyal, very lively, very god-awful annoying friends. As the story goes on, and the monster attacks begin to strike closer and closer to home, Saya slowly begins to realize that there might be more to this situation than meets the eye.
Blood C was animated by a company called Production IG, which has been around since 1988. Taking a look back at their filmography, a lot of their work may look dated by today’s standards, but there’s no doubt that the majority of their shows were the best looking shows of their time. Blue Seed, FLCL, Ghost in the Shell SAC, and most recently, Attack on Titan. They’re known for bringing their A game to most of their projects, and Blood C is no exception. Characters move fluidly, the fight scenes look awesome, and the artwork from Clamp looks equally inspired… But while Saya and the monsters she faces may look really good, it’s her friends that make the art design look a bit… awkward.
At first, the story is kind of a mixed bag. You have to deal with Saya’s friends at school, as they openly parody Clamp’s notorious character design tropes… I wonder why they bothered, since they already did such a good job making fun of them in xxxHolic without even trying… But on the other side of the coin, you have Saya’s battles with the monsters, which is a plot seed that starts off with a lot of promise. You see her fighting one on one with some kind of gargoyle, which is a lot of fun to watch, but then you get to see her fight the very monster that drew me into the series… Eyeball Samurai. This is one of the best fights I’ve ever seen in an anime. It’s staged well, it’s paced well, it ends on a great note, and Saya actually manages to save some poor girl from being killed. She saves somebody’s life. Why am I drawing so much attention to this? Well…
Let’s not dance around this. Saya Kisaragi is my least favorite character of any anime, ever. That girl she saved from Eyeball Samurai? That’s the only character she manages to save in the entire series! I love her character design, but in a show that was already occasionally painful to watch, she is so ridiculously incompetent that she made the show physically painful to watch. She can go through some kind of transformation into a vampiric bad-ass and she proves at one point that she can do it right at the beginning of a fight… Unless of course her class is being devoured, in which case she’ll wait until only three of them are left to employ it.
I really wish I were making that last part up, because half way through the series, a giant monster attacks her full classroom. So what, does she evacuate the room, tell everyone to spread out and hide, jump out the window to fight it outside, transform, and save the day? No, she just sits there and lets everyone get slaughtered! God forbid a hero takes some initiative in saving innocent civilians! And despite the fact that her teacher is practically telegraphing the fact that she knows something about the attacks, Saya never asks. She never asks why her giant monster battles aren’t attracting more attention, either. For the love of God, I’d rather have Captain Hero try to save me then ever rely on her. If I were drowning, I’d have a better chance of being rescued by a pack of piranhas. This girl couldn’t save a sandwich with a Ziploc bag!
I’ll admit that it’s kind of cathartic seeing monsters devour her irritating friends, but it doesn’t take very long to see the real reason why she can’t save any of them. The real reason why her power is so conveniently inconsistent. As good as this show looks, and as much promise as it shows, it’s gore porn. It’s not a horror title, it’s not an action title, oh no, it’s gore porn. The main character’s credibility isn’t important,… The dialogue isn’t important… The story isn’t important… The villain’s motivation is certainly not important… All that blood C cares about is delivering as much gore porn as possible, and if every other aspect of the show has to dumb itself down to accommodate this, then so be it.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t TRY to be more than the sum of it’s body parts… There’s a metafictional scene near the end where the whole ‘clamp making fun of itself’ idea comes full circle, but it’s over so quickly that you can’t really enjoy it. There’s also some social commentary on mankind’s relationship to the food chain, but the way it’s delivered is just heavy-handed, tasteless, and an excuse for more gore porn. I don’t mind gore porn… I will begrudgingly admit that i’m a fan of Elfen Lied, a show riddled with problems of it’s own. But at least there was more to Elfen Lied than it’s fetishy abuse of red paint. The only elements of Blood C that had any real care or effort put into it was the art and animation, because they wanted better looking gore porn.
All in all, Blood C doesn’t really have that much to offer. If you’re looking for a gory anime that[‘s centered around epic battles, you’d have a much better experience watching Berserk. If you wanted to see giant monsters gobble terrified people up, you could just watch Attack on Titan,. a show that does an exceptional job portraying the struggle against hopelessness. If you wanted to see an anime that pokes fun at man as a dominant predator, you could get that and so much more out of Madoka Magica, the most perfectly constructed tragedy anime in recent memory. But Blood C dumbed itself down so much to maximize the squicky blood fountains that it unintentionally created one of the least effective heroes in the history of fiction.
It’s hard to watch, and not in a good way, which is why I have no choice but to award Blood C with the dubious honor of a 4/10.