Three-quarters of the way through the storyline, the Blood+ novels have started bringing the war between Red Shield and the Chiropterans to a close by killing off major characters.
Writer/Artist: Ryo Ikehata and Chizu Hashii
Translation: John Thomas
Adaptation: John Thomas
What They Say
The monsters are winning. Saya Otonashi thought she could battle against the chiropterans, defeat the undead monsters, and avenge the life of her adoptive father. But the creatures, led by Saya's twin sister Diva, have struck a fatal blow: their attack on Saya's adopted brother Riku has left him infected with the vampiric curse and destined to transform into a chevalier, a half-human abomination with an unquenchable bloodlust. Saya finds herself drawn to the papers of nineteenth-century explorer Joel Goldshmidt, and his long-forgotten journal. As Saya reads Joel's diary she learns more about her past of murder and horror, the perverse origins of the Red Shield organization, and the grotesque destiny she and Diva share.
Like the past two Blood+ novels, Volume 3 is partitioned into two distinct acts separated by national boundaries and quite a bit of time. The first act carries on from the cliffhanger left at the end of Volume 2; Riku is busy recovering from his injuries and, as hinted at last time, has become Saya's second Chevalier. In the meantime, the distinctions between the two "sides" in the conflict become more and more blurred. This starts when Kai tracks down the dying AurŽlien and finds out they're only interested in Saya to get at her blood, which she volunteers to give them. Although the treatment fails and there's some muttering among the Schiff ranks that Saya tricked them into letting AurŽlien die, they eventually decide to strike an uneasy truce with Red Shield in the hopes that Diva's blood will do them more good.
The first sign of Diva advancing comes at the halfway point of the first act: Solomon leaks intel to David that the Chiropterans are planning an attack on the Red Shield base in order to permanently take out Saya. The rest of this act deals with the elaborate Chiropteran raid on Red Shield HQ. Some key players in die during this battle, including one major character whose death caught me by surprise. The act closes with the survivors coming to the unfortunate decision that their best chance for killing Diva is to sink the ship with her and Saya still trapped inside.
The second act opens months later in the aftermath of the battle. Red Shield has more or less disbanded by this point; since Saya's and Diva's fates are still unknown to them, the few surviving members have headed to London to try to take out the roaming Chiropterans without Saya's help. Of course, with a volume-and-a-half left in the series, Saya and Diva obviously aren't dead yet, and they make their grand return shortly after the Schiff are introduced to their genetically-enhanced counterparts from the U.S. military.
This volume of the Blood+ series is an interesting beast because, as of this writing, Sony's DVD release of the original Blood+ TV series has lagged behind the novels for the first time. For people who caught the TV series on cable or aren't following it at all, I don't think the third novel has gotten any better or worse than the last two, so you may as well continue if you've found it worthwhile up to this point. But if you've been following the TV series on DVD like I have, then bump up the content grade a notch or two, because it's currently the best way going to find out what happens in the second half of the story.