THERE WILL BE BLOOD(-C)

Those uniforms don't come cheap

Oh man, Blood-C is the BESTEST black comedy in animedom for 2011, but for all the wrong reasons. Hands down, no contest. And I don’t think anything in the fall season will find a way to surpass it. After all, what else could the C in the name stand for?

Heck, I would have suspected Miike Takashi was directing this if it wasn’t for an almost complete lack of humour in-universe (and what little surfaced was pretty lame). I’m sure there is a lot of familiarity with the DBZ Abridged series on Youtube. Well, this series makes it very easy to go in that direction for those with the same inclination as the DBZ.Ab creators, because I would never have thought CLAMP+Production I.G. would spend 12 episodes on what is essentially a glorified (loosest sense of the word here) trailer for the incoming Blood-C movie in 2012. There is so little plot content, and whatever twists the production team throws in is so elementary, most of the developments have long since been anticipated by the audience. Everyone is then forced to grind agonizingly through the rest of season waiting for Saya to figure things out on her lonesome. At least there is a saving grace….there is a good reason for how dense Saya is, no matter how ham-fisted the method with which the explanation was presented to us.

It’s very hard to discuss Blood-C without spoilers, and even harder to evaluate without the last 2 episodes, since that’s where the meat of the plot lies. The black farce aspects of the show was already in force during the second half of the series, but it really reaches its absolute peak in those 40 minutes. Although Blood-C is very different from Excel Saga, I had the feeling I was looking at a smoky mirror version of ep26 of that glorious show for it’s utter, utter over the top nature. You have the feeling the animators were just having twisted fun by pushing the boundaries as far as they could go without the otakus revolting. It was so ridiculous I wonder if all the obvious elements on display were really just simple shoutouts to several Western cult classics, if we stick with Occam’s Razor. It’ll be fasincating to be a fly on the wall during the production meetings, since nobody really knows who’s in the driver’s seat for this glorious mess, CLAMP, P.I.G. or the director, Mizushima Tsutomu, whose portfolio include such shows as Dokuro-chan, Azazel-san and Ika Musume. Judging from how a lot of CLAMP tropes and visual cues emerge, and how violence is used to underpin comedy in Dokuro-chan and Azazel, there’s a good chance that most of the blame (or credit, depending on how big a a connosieur of trainwreck fiction you are) belongs to him and CLAMP. P.I.G. might be more of a factor in the actual movie, but it’s still only speculation. Personally, I suspect it’s just CLAMP hubris at work. It’s not like they haven’t had history of royally screwing up recent shows such as Code Geass, xxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles.

What is NOT speculation is that many anime fans consider this the worst show of the season. You could argue back and forth, but I have to disagree with any hivemind decisions after watching the Kamisama Dolls ending. Gawds, that really made Blood-C look like Cowboy Bebop. One thing’s for sure, those Blu-Rays will probably sell really well to the guro fanatics, considering how egregious the censorship is. To be brutally honest though, for once I’m glad half the episodes suffer from that treatment, given how graphic the violence and how utterly surreal the non-action scenes are in contrast. I’m not sure how much the gore really helped to attract viewers, because the 2nd half of the show is very polarizing in its nature. We’ll just have to wait and see if the sales justify the risks taken. I guess if Japanse otakus want to stick up a figurative middle finger at the Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill, there’s no better choice available. And even if Blood-C accomplishes nothing else, its status as the PERFECT option for a marathon viewing (complete with drinking game and hard liquor present…CHUG if Saya says, “I will protect everyone!”) is secure for the foreseeable future.

(Interestingly, if we take a big picture view, Blood+ also was way too long for the plot content it had. This seems to be a recurring trait for TV Blood-related franchises. Worse of all, Blood+ simply didn’t contain enough B-grade fail to increase the viewer’s enjoyment from the meta perspective, so it was in many words the runt of the series. It also doesn’t help that Blood-C seems to return to the Blood:The Last Vampire roots, which was pretty much where the vast majority Blood fandom cut their teeth on, making the middle series completely pointless except vaguely using the titular character in some alternative Elseworlds scenario. There’s some amusing irony in the fact that a lot of viewers complain about the character development of Saya in Blood-C, considering how completely devoid of that original Saya was in B:TLV. She came, she kicked ass, roll credits. In many ways, B:TLV is the Blood concept distilled down to its bare essence, with no distractions and a central enigma of a character. Blood-C tries to do something to make Saya less of a awesome cardboard cutout, and assuming the movie is a direct continuation of Blood-C, we might have to reserve judgement on how well that approach holds out.)

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