Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: TV MA
- Region: 0 - All Regions
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 1.99 each
- Running time: 300
- Aspect Ratio: 640x360
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Black Blood Brothers
Black Blood Brothers Episodes 1-12
By Mark Thomas
February 22, 2008
Release Date: February 01, 2008
Black Blood Brothers Episodes 1-12
What They Say
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Jiro is traveling with his younger brother Kotaro to the Special Zone, a place where vampires live freely in peace alongside humans. But the brothers find themselves in the midst of a battle between human soldiers, vampiric refugees and the re-emergence of the Kowloon Children. Assisted by Mimiko, a negotiator between their species, Jiro will try to make sense of the chaos which surrounds them before they are caught up in it and destroyed.The Review!
With Funimation’s move into the digital download realm, we have decided our first foray into it would be the first complete series posted: Black Blood Brothers. The only audio option available for download was the sub version. The audio and video were really well done with these files. With the show being less than two years old, I knew that it should look and sound excellent, but I had worried that Funimation would cut some corners with bitrate to save on file size (and therefore bandwidth). Yet both come through excellently here. In particular, I love the artwork and style used for this show. The characters are given more of a realistic style, with believable proportions and very little in the way of “crazy” hair colors and styles. While the coloring is strong, there are a lot of darker and muted colors used that reflect the somewhat harsh nature of a world where two separate groups of beings have to coexist. It is a wonderfully designed title, and the art style used is one that I’d love to see more often.
Black Blood Brothers takes place in an alternate reality where humans and vampires have forged an uneasy truce and live peacefully among one another. Ten years previous, the two allied with one another in a war against a vampire family known as the Kowloon Children: a group of powerful vampires skilled in black magic and have the ability to turn and control victims just by biting them (where in other cases, humans have to drink a vampire’s blood to turn). With the help of a group of heroes, the Kowloon Children were ultimately defeated.
When this story begins, Jiro Mochizuki and his younger brother, Kotaro, are attempting to move to The Special Zone, a new metropolis that has sprung up on the former site of Hong Kong, which fell during the Kowloon War. Jiro and Kotaro are Old Blood, in other words, members of one of the oldest vampire families in existence. Unfortunately, wherever Jiro goes, he tends to bring trouble with him, because at times he is also known as The Silver Blade, the greatest hero from the conflict who ultimately killed the Kowloon King and ended the War. His skills with the sword and with magic rival those of even the greatest Kowloon Children.
Upon arriving near The Special Zone, Jiro and Kotaro are met by Mimiko Katsuragi, a Compromiser for the Order Coffin Company. The Company was instrumental in the building of The Special Zone, and remains the true power behind everything in the city. Despite these typically ominous plot points, The Company is actually a fairly benevolent entity. With the help of Mimiko, Jiro and Kotaro are able to enter The Special Zone, past the barrier that prevents uninvited vampires. Unfortunately, they rapidly find themselves in a plot of political intrigue that ultimately finds Jiro once again taking on Kowloon foes, including a shadow from his past.
Black Blood Brothers is another show in the long line of series that feature a “goofy protagonist with a penchant to get serious and violent when absolutely necessary;” a line that features titles such as Rurouni Kenshin, Trigun, and Full Metal Alchemist. This was good news for me, since I typically like shows like that; Black Blood Brothers certainly fit the bill for me. In this case, Jiro occupies that goofy/serious role. In most cases, Jiro seems unconcerned with his surroundings or his day-to-day experiences. He lets everything flow naturally, except where it concerns his younger brother. In particular, his reactions when Kotaro misbehaves are amusing to watch. Yet, when random violence is required, Jiro is more than up to the task. Armed with his Silver Blade and powerful black magic, Jiro is able to take on all comers with little to stand in his way.
What is most fascinating about this show is Jiro’s relationship with other people, in particular Kotoro and Mimiko. With Mimiko, it is obvious from the outset that there is sexual tension between the two, and that sexual tension is only heightened when Mimiko allows Jiro to drink her blood to regain strength. While she does not become a vampire from this encounter, she does experience a feeling that another character, Miss Wong, describes as being better than sex. Yet, while this tension increases, and their bond of friendship deepens, the relationship is never able to go ‘that next step’ as Jiro is still in love with the vampire that turned him, Alice, who died in the War.
With Kotaro, Jiro has a bit of a dual relationship. On the surface, the much older Jiro occupies the dominant role in his relationship of his younger brother, issuing commands and chastisements as needed. Yet, as the story progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that while Jiro is overtly in charge, he ultimately cannot deny any of Kotaro’s desires. While Kotaro is completely oblivious to the effect that he has on his brother, he is actually the dominant member of their relationship. The nature of Jiro’s submissiveness towards his brother becomes an important plot point later in the show.
While on the subject of characters, I would be remiss if I failed to mention my favorite character from the show: that of Zelman Clock. Zelman is openly the ruler of The Coven, an underground mafia type group of vampires, and yet somehow still occupies a seat on the higher counsel in charge of The Special Zone. Zelman is known as Crimson Eyed Zelman, and is one of the few that can truly rival Jiro in pure power, yet he never really uses it unless necessary. Zelman has the power to either do tremendous good or cause tremendous chaos at will, but ultimately his sociopathic nature causes him to only do what amuses him the most. My favorite moment of his involved him trapping a group of Kowloons, only to let them escape with the idea that everybody else should be able to catch them. And if Jiro and the rest fail to stop them, then that is all the more reason to make fun of everybody later. His sharp tongue and penchant for completely random actions make him an excellent addition to the cast.
The only real drawback I had with this show is the lack of a real ending. As the show progressed, I had worried that twelve episodes was not going to be enough to fully explore the conflict at hand, and I was ultimately proven right. It is obvious that this show was designed with a second season in mind, though so far none have been announced. I really hope that a second season does ultimately go through, because I would like to see this story explored more and given a proper ending. That said, what is here is a lot of fun to watch. I certainly recommend it.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles