Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Black Blood Brothers Anime Review

Black Blood Brothers
Complete Collection - 3 discs
300 mins. - 12 episodes
$19.98 (2011) S.A.V.E.
$24.98 (2011) S.A.V.E. Blu-Ray
$39.98 (2010)
$44.98 (2010) Blu-Ray
$49.98 (2008)
$29.98 (2008) Vol. 1-3/ea.
$39.98 (2008) Vol. 1 Starter Set
ISBN 704400059070
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Hiroaki Yoshikawa
Studio - Group TAC/Studio Live

Synopsis: Ten years ago Hong Kong became a battleground for vampires and the ensuing carnage announced their presence to the world.  Before then they lived in the shadows and worked hard to keep their existence a secret from only a handful of humans.  The vampire society is divided by bloodlines with each possessing differing abilities and weaknesses.  Strengths include telekinesis, pyrokinesis, energy manipulation, and a myriad of others.  Weaknesses include allergies to silver, sunlight, and moving water (not all bloodlines share the same weaknesses).  Vampires can glamour humans and other vampires through eye contact although the effect depends on the willpower of their subject.  They gain strength and power as they age and the Old Bloods are particularly formidable (compared to New Bloods).  Source Bloods are the most powerful vampires and said to be the source of all others.
The threat of the Kowloon Children makes the vampires and humans join forces
One bloodline stands apart and threatens all the others - the Kowloon Children who follow the Kowloon King.  This bloodline is relatively new (only a few hundred years old) and has the ability to infect anyone bitten (as opposed to only turning those who drink the blood of a vampire) and turn them into Kowloon Children.  Humans are turned after being fed upon and even other vampires will become Kowloon if bitten.  The Kowloon are known to be frenzied and violent.  Facing a threat this great both vampires and humans worked together to bring about the downfall of the Kowloon King in Hong Kong ten years ago.
Kowloon Children are torn apart by Jiro during the Kowloon Shock
The night of the Kowloon Shock saw a massive amount of human lives lost and turned to Kowloon Children.  Jiro Mochizuki is a relatively young vampire (only one hundred years old), but has the equivalent power of an Old Blood.  He massacred and managed to defeat almost all of the Kowloon alongside allies including humans and other vampires from different bloodlines.  The public believes all of the vampires died on this night and the site of the battle was set up as a Special Zone to keep them a secret.  Now vampires are called Black Bloods and humans are Red Bloods.  The Kowloon are not completely eradicated and their threat still exists.
Jiro, Kotaro and Mimiko spend time getting to know each other
Jiro and his little brother Kotaro are the only ones in their bloodline.  They have powerful abilities and Jiro is taking Kotaro to the Special Zone so he can experience the human world.  Little do they know the Special Zone is a powder keg waiting to explode from the tensions between humans and vampires.  Add a resurgence of Kowloon Children and the fuse is lit!  Jiro earned the name Silver Blade during the Kowloon Shock and has vowed to destroy the Kowloon due to losing someone special to him.
Jiro has incredible powers including telekinesis, but
aparently not fashion sense with that goody hat
He and Kotaro run afoul of the Suppression Team which is tasked with keeping vampires from endangering humans and destroying any illegal vampire immigrants before they can reach the Special Zone.  They are human and take their jobs seriously, often reveling in the slaughter of vampires.  They are employed by the Order Coffin Company which also uses compromisers to negotiate disputes between humans and vampires in order to avoid violence.  Mimiko Katsuragi is a compromiser who becomes responsible for Jiro and Kotaro when they attempt to enter the Special Zone.
Jiro drinks Mimiko's blood - did she give it willingly?
Jiro and Kotaro meet with these vampires in the Zone:
  • Sei - an Old Blood with incredible powers.  He was there during the Kowloon Shock and erected a force field to contain the Kowloon Children within Hong Kong.  His current form is that of a young boy and he maintains a force field around the Special Zone preventing any Kowloon Children from entering (without an invitation).  He respects Jiro and likes Kotaro
  • Zelman - an Old Blood with immense pyrokinetic powers.  His personality is very fickle and he doesn't hold strictly to traditions.  He considers Jiro and Kotaro to be amusing when other vampires shun them
  • Cain - an Old Blood with magical and animorphic abilities.  He can transform into a strong wolf form (almost like a werewolf), but vehemently dislikes Jiro due to his age
  • Cassa - a Kowloon Child and powerful Old Blood.  Jiro and she used to be friends, but she betrayed him for the Kowloon bloodline.  She expertly fights with a chain and sword.  Her return to the Special Zone is considered catastrophic due to her power and the potential of an outbreak of Kowloon Children
Cassa battles Jiro during the Kowloon Shock
What is Cassa's plan and will the Kowloon rise again?  Jiro must protect Kotaro at all costs as tensions rise within the Special Zone.  What secret does Jiro harbor about the bloodline he shares with Kotaro?  
Kotaro is separated from Jiro and runs into
Zelman - is he friend or foe?
Pros: Interesting take on vampires with different bloodlines having different capabilities, ending theme song is good
Yafuri is one of the Kowloon Children with special skillz
Cons: Opening theme song is terrible, Jiro's hat is kinda lame - he jumps around a lot and it would totally fall off, Kotaro is immature and annoying, Alice Eve was surprisingly immature for a Source Blood, not enough explanations at the end, the plot jumps around without giving a full backstory at times
Kotaro is one annoyingly cheerful little bugger
Mike Tells It Straight: Black Blood Brothers is a somewhat unique take on vampires and I liked the concept of each bloodline having different attributes.  The crisis of the Kowloon (pronounced Koo-lan) Children was a good backdrop for the series.  I felt like this was another show based on extensive source material (in this case a series of light novels) which attempted to cram too much into a meager 12 episodes.  The complicated backstory of the characters and inconsistent presentation of information left me scratching my head a few times.
"This blade is made of silver and they call me the Silver Blade!"
Despite problems with story pacing I felt the characters were fairly interesting.  Character designs and the various vampires with their powers were pretty neat.  I wish they could have spent more time on each, but the short length of the series didn't allow for it.  My only gripe on characters are Jiro's goofy 'witch hat' and Kotaro's annoyingly innocent cheerfulness.  The ending wasn't very strong and I got the feeling the creators of the series were hoping/planning to do another 12 episodes to tie up the loose ends.  I hope they get their chance because I would love to see the vampires really battle it out.  Overall a decent series a few good parts, but only slightly above average.

TO BUY and Recommendations: