Black Blood Brothers Episodes 1-12 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Martin Thom
Review Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Release Date: Friday, February 01, 2008



What They Say
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!
Audio:
Extremely clear with virtually no distortion, noise, or hiss.

Video:
While having very good quality, it is not up to the standards of a DVD, but closer to the quality of a commercial VHS tape. Still incredibly clear with vivid colors and crisp line distinction, especially considering the compression and the file sizes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on a series of eight novels by the same name, the title refers to the “black blood” carried by vampires, who live alongside humans (or “red bloods”) in a slightly alternate reality from our own. Mochizuki Jiro, a vampire who has lived for 100 years, travels with his younger brother Kotaro in a journey to the Special Zone, a special city where vampires and humans live in harmony in a symbiotic relationship. This Special Zone is run by The Company, a primarily human-based organization with a special group of compromisers who work to resolve problems between vampires and humans, both inside and outside of the Special Zone. Unfortunately, not all vampires are good, and the clan of the Kowloon Children clan has plans that may cause this seemingly perfect world to crumble.

Definitely a dark series, its TV-MA rating seems to be more for the content of the storyline itself than for sexual themes, language, or graphic violence (although there is still plenty of the latter). At the beginning of each episode, you get a glimpse into Jiro’s past, and bit by bit you can begin to piece together the events leading up to the beginning of the show. For the meat of the story itself, the show begins with Jiro and his younger brother Kotaro traveling as stowaways on a ship. While Kotaro is a very energetic boy, his older brother is far more brooding and fairly violent. Fortunately for Kotaro, there don’t appear to be any lasting effects from having his head slammed into hard metal surfaces or concrete, which happens quite often (as Jiro has quite the temper). Despite the age difference, there are times when Kotaro appears to show more maturity than Jiro, who acts more like a put-upon teenager than an adult.

Not far into the main story, Jiro meets female compromiser Mimiko, who lives in the Special Zone. He reluctantly decides to travel with her (mainly at Kotaro’s insistence), at least temporarily, as she can help them gain residence in the Special Zone. The problem is that trouble seems to follow Jiro wherever he goes, and it’s not long before a group of Kowloon Children appear to make Jiro’s life miserable, if they can’t manage to end it completely! Lurking in the shadows near the center of the Kowloon Children is Cassa, a bitter memory from Jiro’s past and a powerful Old Blood vampire. Jiro’s identity as the “Silver Sword” and “Kin Killer” quickly comes to light when an acquaintance reunites him with the long, silver blade which earned him his title during the Hong Kong massacre ten years ago.

While one would think that having such a powerful ally as Jiro would be advantageous, especially when there are several factions within the Special Zone who all vie for more power, Jiro is not only turned away by the leaders of the main factions, but not even allowed to meet with the heads of two (one of which is made up of old friends!). For Jiro, despite his own wishes to slink back into obscurity, he cannot help but acquiesce to Kotaro’s wishes to stay and meet new people. Apparently, he has a big soft spot for his little brother, despite his frequently violent tendencies. Despite his best efforts, the legendary Silver Sword is forced to enter combat again when Cassa reappears after her ten year hiatus and, while taunting Jiro is definitely one of her favorite pastimes, her true motives and goals remain a mystery.

In Summary:
Overall, Black Blood Brothers is a very good show with a solid (if somewhat ambiguous) plot and likeable characters. The character development is a major portion of the story, but doesn’t detract from the action nor vice versa. While portions of the storyline remain a bit unclear to those who haven’t read the novels, it still manages to tie up the majority of the loose ends and give an adequate amount of closure (also, make sure to watch the ending credits for episode 12, as they are slightly different than the endings for the other 11). The overall plot does leave off with the potential for a sequel series, but does not require further knowledge of what happens to appreciate it for what it is (especially since the odds of seeing another season seem very slim). While the undertone of the story is somewhat depressing, that doesn’t prevent it from having a good amount of comedy inserted into the episodes. Containing plenty of action, deep storyline, battles and, especially, vampires, this is a show most mature fans will not want to pass up.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment




Mania Grade: A
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