Blood +

So just got done with my 3-day (those are in Digitalboy days which are just the random times I’m awake) marathon of Blood+. I had actually no original intent to marathon it, just to check it out after the good things Shiro was saying. however, I found myself pulled in like a vortex and by the end of day one I was 23 eps in and wondering what hit me.

Blood+ could never be one of my favorite show just because of the fact that it generally doesn’t have anything that expressly appeals to me. The two elements closest to my preferences were adventure and action, both of which are not central to the show. If I had to pick my favorite element, though, it would certainly be the well directed and incredibly animated (albeit usually short) battle scenes and the sheer amount of blood. I’m a huge fan of blood, and immortality is pretty much my favorite plot device because it means the characters can be regularly torn to shreds, and Blood+ made good use of this device.

While the show had nothing that necessarily appealed to me, though, it had nothing at all to make me dislike it. While it wasn’t about to win an academy award, the writing was sufficient, the animation was nice, the pacing was amazing (but I’ll get to that momentarily), and none of the characters were annoying. There was just enough draw to keep me interested and ready to continue, and at least a tiny bit emotionally invested. It is certainly a show that lends itself to marathoning – I think I probably would have dropped it if I had been watching it weekly, because suspense usually isn’t enough to keep me interested for a whole week, and generally I can’t even keep up with shows I like for that long, however in a marathon it managed to remain consistently exciting, and, as Shiro mentioned, there was the perfect amount of information in each episode so that you didn’t get bored, but didn’t have to overwork your brain figuring things out.

The character designs were awesome if for nothing other than their eyes. I had a lot of fun with the eyes in this one. My favorite characters were definitely Lulu and Carl, and it’s no coincidence that they both had insane eyes. I would have definitely liked to see a lot more Lulu. Haji was cool too, and David, Moses and Solomon all made great side characters. I was a huge Sif fan every time they were on screen.

It also deserves mentioning that while I didn’t love any f the songs, this show had awesome opening animations, and the second third have instantly made it among my alltime favorites.

Unfortunately, though, I do have a number of negative things to say about this show.

I was going to give this show it’s highest praise for pacing. This is the first time since equally lengthy Eureka Seven that I’ve seen a show paced this well, keeping a balanced, perfect amount of exposition in each episode and always ending with enough of a hook to leave you ready for the next episode. However, (and I made sure to pause at this point and type this out so that the ending won’t make me forget) around the late 30s early 40s it hits a little bit of a snag – two episodes in a row feature major villains getting killed and then the next three (fucking) episodes slow completely down not even having a fight scene – it was stupidly frustrating to get tensions that high and then take that long to get back into the action. It’s not enough that I wouldn’t still call this show one of the most well-paced ever because it remained utterly consistent for so long, but it’s a bit of a dark spot especially considering that the pacing was always the show’s most notable quality.

However, it isn’t enough that the pacing took a hit – around the same time, the writing almost completely falls apart. Even when the pacing starts to heal itself in episode 43, the dialog hasn’t quite caught up with it. Everyone keeps talking in circles. There are circles being talked in. Regardless of time spent and progress made, circles continue to appear. Circles– you get the idea. Every other fucking sentence is about how Saya doesn’t need to bear everything herself, and even when she finally seems to start accepting the help of others, she manages to turn around and say ‘this is my fight’ in a Goku-esque ‘hey lets avoid the easy way and put more lives at stake’. When things got political I consistently found myself just grabbing the search thingy and just moving it along, reading the dialog and skipping the time spent speaking. And then, the rising action in episode 43 is cut into when the next episode randomly decides to finally just get the Sif side-plot out of the way – sort of like the writers had forgotten they existed and made a last-ditch effort to get them back in and try to give the least interesting of them a personality (luckily I love the Sif so it wasn’t all bad).

But it might not be the show’s fault that I found it uninteresting at this point. After all, this isn’t the first time. With adventure stories, it’s always the point in which the adventure stops and the story overtakes things that I get less interested. It’s like watching a different show with the same characters. The only shows I know of that perfectly flowed from adventure into plot were Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (arguably) and Eureka Seven, both of which were smart enough to put more focus on character development (and, in E7’s case, romance) than plot. With a show that’s more plot-driven than character driven it’s important to care about the plot. As they say, the trouble always comes with the time skip, and this is no exception. The first 36 episodes focused on getting to know the characters thoroughly, learning the backstory of everything going on, and a general sense of adventure. Post timeskip the story takes place in almost entirely 2 locations, and the plot becomes all political and shit, and totally uninteresting. Whereas the story had a dark, threatening, and at times even creepy nature before, it felt more campy and normal later. It doesn’t help that the characters who formerly questioned if what they were doing was right, or wondered why the had to be here, or whatever else, are now OMG MUST SAVE WURLD, MUST KILL BAD GUY. It’s like the show became something completely different.

The climax was, thankfully, a good enough mix of elegance and balls-fucking-crazy to be very good and entertaining. In fact, the last 2 episodes were about good enough to make up for the 10 episodes preceding them, which is a nice note to go out on.

Overall, it’s a show that I definitely liked a lot, though it won’t be running for my favorites. I really really wish it could’ve been like 5 episodes shorter, but at the moment, the awesome of the ending has pretty much made me forget about it.

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