They are called Chiropterans, ravenous creatures that can change their form, disguising themselves as human beings. Immortal creatures that feed off blood, they hide themselves among us. An organization called the Red Shield has been waging a private war to wipe them out. Now the struggle has grown.
Saya Otonashi is a normal high school student who suffers from amnesia; she can't remember anything before the past year of her life. Then one day, a man named Hagi appears and gives her a katana, and her destiny is only partially revealed. The journey for the truth begins...
For this viewing, I watched the English dub. There is also a Japanese track, and both are only offered in 2.0. There are, however, English, French, and Korean options for subtitles. The 2.0 track sounds nice, with good balance between the channels and no dropout anywhere. That said, Blood+ is a show that could have benefitted from a 5.1 treatment. There’s enough action, with the promise of a lot more, that having front and rear channels could have really enhanced the battles.
For the most part, the video looked really nice, as the show is stylish, and the colors and lines are clean and crisp. However, there were a few times where the video began to look hazy, and not in that “it’s done for artistic reasons” way. It was a bit distracting at times. An unwelcome addition to this volume is an odd four to five second still shot at the beginning of each chapter, almost as if the DVD is frozen. It is not, as the counter keeps going, but rather it is actually recorded that way. These freezes appear at the opening of each episode and at the commercial break. It is really weird and jarring. It is a shame, because when it looks good, it looks really good. I am hoping that this gets better as we go along.
The packaging for this release is nice, though unimpressive. The front has a picture of Saya in her school uniform holding her sword and looking determined. Behind are some images from the show. All this is set on a solid yellow background. The back of the case has a large image of Saya swinging the sword along the right, with the summary and more pictures on the left. An episode list and the technical details are near the bottom. The disc has a third image of Saya, this time holding the sword to her side and looking sad. It is a simple design, but one that works.
I liked the menu on this release. The background shows a continuous loop of footage from the show, while the theme plays. The selections for Play All, Episode Selection, Audio Setup, and Subtitles are along the bottom in gold, with the highlighted selection easy to see. In reality, there is nothing all that special about this menu, but it is a nice change from the standard static menu that most anime get.
There are no extras on this disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After watching the first disc, I had a few hesitations going into this one, but I was mostly looking forward to it. Saya’s introduction into the world of Chiropteran hunting seemed a little stilted and rushed, but there was potential to improve. That potential was somewhat realized as the pacing seemed to level out with this volume; however, some inconsistencies with Saya’s character and other small details have appeared which do not ruin the show, but keep it from reaching its full potential.
This volume opens up with Saya, David, and Haji infiltrating the secret military research facility Yanbaru in Northern Okinawa where David is being held after being attacked by a Chiropteran in volume 1. On the surface, Yanbaru is an environmental center designed to protect a near extinct species of bird, but a little research into delivery records hints that something more sinister is happening there.
As it turns out, a secret group within the military is researching the creation of artificial Chiropteran through a chemical called Delta 67, and unfortunately, George has been infected. Following a battle with other Chiropteran, Saya is forced to kill her father before Delta 67 takes over his body.
Following the death of George, David decides to follow the trail of Delta 67 to Vietnam and find its secrets; in turn, Saya enrolls in an all girls boarding school apparently connected to a delivery to the Yanbaru facility. Upon arrival, she discovers the legend of a Phantom that haunts the school which falls in love with certain students and ultimately kills them. Curiously, each victim has a similar physical appearance to Saya, and soon she finds herself as the new target.
This disc has a little bit of a weird dichotomy in that the first two episodes finish off the first mini plot arc for the series, and the last three begin to set up the next one. So the disc starts with a bang: plenty of action to be seen, but then it reverts to a slower pace better designed for setup for the later episodes. As such, this disc tends more towards the contemplative side of things as we learn more about Saya’s past, Red Shield, and Delta 67.
With this disc, I am starting to find the plot more engaging, as events in Vietnam are starting to give Saya more flashbacks into the events of her past. I’m also finding the pacing to be evening out better. Events are starting to be given time to build, rather than just rushing through like the first disc did.
I also like the human elements to this show, as everybody is starting to be given time to explore their motivations for their actions. Saya is still struggling with her new powers, her brothers Kai and Riku are trying to assuage their feelings of helplessness in the face of Saya’s powers with their desire to assist in anyway that they can. Even David shows a few small hesitations when faced with a choice between what is best for his mission with what is best for Saya and her brothers.
That said, there are a number of minor things that are still keeping me from truly digging this series. My biggest complaint is that I am finding that Saya’s character acts inconsistently. While I am sure it is not related to her amnesia, she seems to have selective memory when it comes to whether or not she should be horrified as to her duties. Understandably, she panics when she has to draw and use her sword, but she never thinks twice about getting herself into the situations that would lead to drawing her sword.
For example, when they head to Vietnam, she enrolls and immerses herself into the girl’s school with no complaint. She happily wanders into areas technically out of bounds to students to explore and do some reconnaissance. When she sees strange lights out her window late at night, she does not hesitate to break the rules and go explore. And when she finds herself the newest target of the mysterious Phantom, she shows no reluctance in trying to chase him down.
However, when time comes to pull her sword, she freezes. While one could argue that her distaste with fighting is what causes her indecision, but I really feel that if she was really going to panic when it comes to fighting, then she would not pull off some of the other tasks she does quite so easily. For some of the actions she makes, in particular when pertaining to the Phantom, it is easy to see why she might quickly find herself in danger, but she never even considers that until danger comes to find her. As easily as she goes about her missions, it is a little unbelievable that she then hesitates when having to fight.
There are some other inconsistencies on small details that made me pause when watching. For example, while Saya is in the boarding school, David, Julia, and Lewis take up residence in a nearby hotel, digging around for their own information. At one point, Lewis enters the room with some information on the Phantom and takes a seat on the opposite side from David. Yet, when he twists around to pass some photos to David still seated at the table he was always at, he is all of a sudden right at Lewis’s shoulder. When the POV shifts back to the full room view, David and Lewis are on separate sides once again. There are a few small things like this scattered throughout.
While volume 2 made me forget my small irritations with the first volume, it introduced new ones. It is somewhat frustrating, because I am otherwise enjoying the show. It is nothing spectacular, but it is fun. The inconsistencies with Saya and other various details keep me from enjoying this as much as I would like. Still, overall I am enjoying it, and I am looking forward to the next few episodes, and I hope that the minor details start to iron themselves out as we progress forward. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System