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Blood +: Volume One

Score: 70%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 124 Mins.
Genre: Anime/Action/TV Series
Audio: Dolby Digital English 2.1
           Surround, Japanese Stereo

Subtitles: English, French, Korean


  • Episodes:
    • 1: First Kiss
    • 2: Magic Words
    • 3: The Place Where It All Started
    • 4: Dangerous Boy
    • 5: Beyond The Dark Forest

This collection contains five episodes from the first season of Blood+. How you feel about Blood+ will depend on your general preference for fantasy/horror anime. This may look from the cover like a lot of swordfighting, but action isn't the main focus of the show. There's quite a bit of interaction between characters and family struggles bookending the moments when things start to get spattery. The episodes collected here are a great introduction to what the show has to offer and should be a starting point for anime fans that aren't sure about committing to a new series.

The quick and dirty on Blood+ is that it has appeared in several variations, initially pulling from the animated film, Blood: The Last Vampire. Not only is this show admittedly derivative, it draws too heavily and too frequently on other material. You'd be forgiven for confusing several of the plot lines from other anime and feature films with the events in Blood+. Girl with strange suppressed powers? Check. Memory loss tied to traumatic past violence? Check. Vampires battling ultra-vampires? Check. Adopted girl wreaks havoc on host family? Check. The list of things that you'll see here and feel like you've seen before is pretty long. The themes are familiar, the treatment is familiar, even the musical moods are familiar... Hans Zimmer and Mark Mancina's music is pretty and Zimmer is definitely a big name to attach to any production after The Lion King, but it takes more than sweet music to make me fall in love.

A pretty face goes a long way, and Blood+ most definitely has that covered. The main character, Saya, is actually drawn with very interesting features; if an anime character can be striking, she makes the grade. There is something about the mix of emotions visible on her face and evident in her body language that makes Blood+ easy to watch. Pull away from her character to consider the overall animation and you'll realize this is some top-grade stuff. Every surface is textured, there's nuance galore in the lighting, and there are neat touches that show someone was in love with little details. An example of the last point is seen in the last episode when a car pulls up next to a man on the side of the road. The car stops and the focus is on the people getting out of the car, but we can also see the man's jacket blow in the wind left by the car's passing. Stuff like this doesn't have to be there to draw in the viewer, but it shows that the creators of Blood+ are fanatically devoted to bringing Saya's world to life. Too bad it isn't presented in widescreen or with 5.1 sound...

Without spoiling the content of each episode, it's worth saying that within these first five, you'll meet Saya and her adopted family, uncover a plot by the US military to hide what looks like a biogenetic engineering disaster, and learn a smidgen about how a modern girl traces her strange powers back to an atrocity from the Vietnam war. The choice of Okinawa as the location of Blood+ is interesting. Given the recent (and unfortunately not the first) news of US soldiers stationed in Okinawa accused of raping young girls, it isn't a stretch to connect some dots. In Blood+, we see demonic man/monsters escaping from the Okinawa base to prey on helpless Japanese. In the aftermath, there are references to the overbearing US presence and also opinions of people that are afraid to lose the soldiers around which so much of modern Okinawa revolves. It's not certain that the show intended this, but it makes for an interesting context. Interesting is the right word for Blood+. Not fascinating or must-see anime, but an interesting show that will appeal to those seeking a quality production. If you can overlook some very derivative elements, you'll find a lot to enjoy here.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Related Links:

Anime Naruto: Uncut Box Set 6 Anime Blood +: Part One

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