The BLADE Retrospective (and Anime Discovery V2 #47): The TV Counterparts – 2006 Live Action & Marvel Anime 2012

Soon, Tron was safely put to sleep for the rest of the night and will be watched by many security guards that should’ve been in here in the first place but after Hybrid and Don check on him and make sure everything is alright, they are still skeptical of the actions of the one nurse named Angel and they soon follow her upstairs. As Angel makes sure the coast is clear from any unknown watchers, she sprout out her wings, run close to the edge of the roof and begins to take off flying but suddenly, Hybrid got the jump on her and tries to stop her from escaping with both of them fighting it out with Hybrid asking who was that lady that attacked Tron and Angel saying she doesn’t know anything about them or why this is happening and basically telling him to get the fuck off her or she’ll throw him to the ground. Don is patiently waiting for Hybrid to get the info but spots him and Angel in the air, but then Angel’s wings start to lose flight ability and they both begin crashing down and fortunately (or not), Don helped them landed into a safe spot…….into a garbage bin and then looking pissed off, Angel punches Hybrid and knocks him out.

Now, as I said before in past reviews of either form of media, Blade happens to be one of my favorite comic-book movies to ever been created, not to mention it did helped out the comic-book movie renaissance of today, especially for Marvel and their film division, which has been dominating over DC for the last few or so years. However, Marvel does have their bad luck in film (especially in animation but we’ll get to that later) and some of that does go to TV and this is that topic for today.

 

Blade: The Series is the 2006 live-action series aired on Spike TV. Originally the show was going to be aired on Showtime with Wesley Snipes returning as the titular character and was going to be a loose adaptation of the comic book series with the character of Karen Jensen from the first movie and Bible John appearing in there. From the looks of it, it sounds like it was going to be a great idea having Blade back in the screen somehow but that plan was never going to happen since after the disaster of Blade: Trinity and Snipes suing New Line and David S. Goyer for it, not wanting to work with them either again. So Spike came to the rescue and green light the series as Spike’s first foray into original scripted series….however in the future, it doesn’t last that long like other young networks.

In the plot where the last film, Blade: Trinity, left off, Krista Starr returns from military service in Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Her investigation reveals that Zack was a “familiar” – a kind of indentured servant who agrees to do a vampire’s bidding in the hopes that his “master” will eventually reward him with eternal life. Krista’s search for her brother’s killer soon brings her face to face with Blade, as well as with the killer himself, Marcus Van Sciver, a powerful vampire and high-ranking member of the House of Chthon. Smitten with Krista, Marcus decides to turn her into a vampire by injecting her with his blood. Krista is then approached by Blade, who injects her with the same serum he uses to control his own vampire instincts, and offers her a chance to help him avenge her brother’s death and bring down Marcus and the House of Chthon, and revealed that Zack was trying to do a sting operation with Blade. The two form a reluctant partnership.

 

Now for the role of Blade since Snipes isn’t barging, it was announced that Kirk Jones aka Sticky Fingaz has signed on to be the character and from his past roles (i.e., Tyrone from Next Friday), I just don’t see him as Blade nor take him seriously at that part. I know, he’s not going to have the same charisma and stance as Wesley Snipes and I never will expect that from him in the first place but he’s just very, very awful in the role, whether as trying to past as a lesser Snipes or a different direction.  The new characters added in are Krista Starr, played by Jill Wagner, as her character in the beginning is more of an idiot and her storyline seems to take over in the series and I’m sorry but…..she was just too boring. It’s the same problem I had with Trinity is that the uninteresting characters take over the whole plot and leave Blade as the side character in his own movie (or series for this matter) and Shen (played by Nelson Lee) is the new Whistler (weapons specialist) of the series and he is not good as designing weapons for Blade, especially where in the first episode one of the UV weapons doesn’t explode quickly after Blade takes out a vampire. You want stuff like that to respond quickly, not 2 measly minutes.

Also in the other side of the plot, the main antagonist of the series Marcus Van Sciver (played by Neil Jackson) developed a virus engineering program called the Aurora Project where ten years ago, the pureblood vampires from the House of Chthon contracted with him as head of their Detroit operations, to produce a vaccine that would eliminate the vampires genetic weakness to garlic, sunlight and silver. The result of the project was the creation of the Aurora Virus.

 

Now I’m actually more intrigued by the actions of Marcus, although it’s mostly him wanting to wipe out the purebloods so the turned vampires can take over the world. But possibly by learning his past before he was turned is kind of a reason that I find him notable. Chase, mainly Von Sciver’s partner/assistant/occasional fuck buddy (yeah, it’s like that.) is basically the girl who was top gun to Von Sciver until Krista came along and she sometimes gets jealous or something like that. Either way, I don’t give a damn about her.

But some of the other character appearances such as original characters like Fritz, Brian Boone, Steppin’ Razor and even Whistler in flashback were such a waste. The only thing we discover about Whistler is how his leg was broken, which appear in the movies. Fritz could’ve been a stronger character as a man adversary of Blade in the physical department once he taken the Aurora Project but it was short-lived. Boone’s storyline was cut way too short and doesn’t even appear after a few episodes. That character felt so unneeded, he shouldn’t even be in the series. Steppin’ Razor was an okay antagonist to Blade, seeing how he was connected to Blade’s past, which was shown more into the series and for what it was, it sort of help with the past of Blade.

However, the action in the series, even for a TV show that’s on basic cable, was pretty weak in the first episodes but when it gets close to the end, things start to get more interesting than before but just when  that starts to happen, the show gets canceled. Even if the series did open to large numbers for the first episode (It had 2.5 million viewers, was the most-watched original series premiere in Spike TV history, and was also the #1 show on cable for the evening with Men 18–34 and 18–49) but as it goes on, the ratings couldn’t hold on to that and it’s not like it happen to other shows before. Take FlashForward, a show from ABC, which Goyer was once a showrunner, had large numbers in the premiere and was heralded for being the next Lost but some episodes later, it kept on slipping downward and then it was the gauntlet for them, same as V, The Event, Terra Nova, etc.

FINAL VERDICT (THE SERIES): I would say that it’s worse than Trinity but that would be exaggerating too much. It’s bad not in the sense of being horrific to watch but it’s bad in the sense of being dull and adding nothing exciting to the table. It’s forgettable to say the least and I can’t really say it you’ll regret watching it but you won’t watch it thinking it’s going to be the best thing ever.

After that mishap, Hybrid wakes up and he is in the car and finds Don in the driver seat, Nu and Jon out of the hospital & apparently Angel in the backseat while I was resting. When I woke up, I was startled for a bit and still wondering who she is. She explains to us that she did knew who I was the whole time and she used to work as a patroller/guardian angel to the Anime Gods and once hearing upon their “deaths”, she decided to go freelance (i.e. unemployed) and kept me and whoever with me on watch. She knew about the various activities that the Anime Gods made me do, including the Madhouse incident, the around the world scandal, the clones and the Initial stage. Angel has been keeping a low profile of her for a while, having to go undercover as a nurse and did some training for that. However, after she told me that, I was even more skeptical of her than before and got me thinking that she could be a double agent. I didn’t say it out loud but since she can be some help, especially to our cause (whatever the hell that is) and especially on the medical tip considering our friends back at the apartment has been sick from the shawarma.

Now let’s get into Marvel Animation. Like DC Comics is having trouble with their theatrical releases aside from the Nolan Batman movies, Marvel is doing worse in their animation department considering from I heard on the internet about the two beloved series Spectacular Spider-Man & the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes got canceled mostly due to Disney being a part of Marvel and after seeing Ultimate Spider-Man, fans were pissed at the result of that show and while that happened, Marvel decided to cross into anime territory along with the help of studio MADHOUSE with Marvel Anime, a  4-part anime project that reintroduces them for  Japanese audiences and the following feature players were Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men & Blade. Now I’m only covering the Blade anime for today as the others will be on another day (summer 2013, coming soon).

Erik Brooks was half-man, half-vampire after his mother Carol was attacked by a vampire named Deacon Frost. He sought assistance from Noah Van Helsing and over time, vampires worldwide fear him as the “Daywalker” or “Blade”. He investigates a vampire organization in Asia called “Existence” starting from Japan all the way to Southeast Asia.

Okay, I know most of you have heard some of this plot before and if you haven’t, you didn’t see the first Blade movie.

Yes, the plot of Blade hunting down Deacon Frost for killing his mother is a part of the first movie but in the series, the killing of said mother takes place in England, which I heard that Blade was originated from in the comics so yeah, Blade is British.

Joining the hunt alongside Blade is Makoto, a female vampire hunter who at first hunts Blade for killing her father, even though she should’ve been hunting for Frost since he turned him into a vampire and Blade was just doing his job and making sure she doesn’t die. There is also Noah Van Helsing, most likely the one who supplies Blade with weapons and for that, he does a better job of that than Shen from the live-action TV series and he has a wolf-dog whose name I don’t know or too lazy to find out.

Most of Frost’s flunkies or either vampires of the High Council are served as easy targets for Blade whether he comes close and it doesn’t seem much of a fight but just as a fly in his face and the weirdest (and dumbest) thing about it whenever Blade finishes an adversary, he calls out a move like it’s a damn videogame move. All the other very minor characters in the series often share their backstories but we as an audience can’t get too close to them since after that episode, that part never gets mentioned again. Even Deacon Frost just turns out to be a pretty generic villain and yet I don’t know this version of Blade is better or worse than the Stephen Dorff version and yet both versions want the vampires to rule the world, even going against the purebloods……which is the exact same thing that happened in the movie but in here, it feels too much of what we already seen in most action-oriented and/or comic book series.

So, in the U.S., the show (along the other Marvel Anime) aired on the formerly geek-centric G4 and the dub of this was made by Studiopolis, Inc., an ADR production company who worked on dubs (either anime or Western animation) in the past such as Afro Samurai, Blood+, Bleach & Naruto. The voice of Blade in this effort was Harold Perrineau, whom you know from Lost, OZ & Link from The Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions and he was fairly decent in his part, not better but still better than Sticky Fingaz’ effort.

While the animation by MADHOUSE does look very beautiful and dark to look at but the action scenes animated there rate from sub-par to weak, since I mentioned the calling-out your move when finishing an enemy earlier and the character design of Blade looks……odd in some way but not in a bad way but very strange. The music overall is awful in this series, mostly a generic rock theme for the series that never fits the tone whatsoever and the rest of the music is standard anime music but not exactly being  a standout.

 

FINAL VERDICT (THE ANIME): Very, very uninspired and overall boring. I will say that plot is more Blade-focused rather than going for the other characters’ less important side story and most of Blade’s past in the series has more detail added than the movies but the action gets rather too repetitive too quick and too monotonous. I can’t judge the whole Marvel/MADHOUSE project too quick since those I’ll check out later but for this one, I’ll say watch only once.

 

Blade: The Series gets the rating of 3/10

Marvel Anime: Blade gets the rating of 4/10 –

Planet Tyro Rating: High NOT FEELING THIS/A LOW Acquired Taste

Meanwhile at the apartment, the rest (or some) of the team (i.e. Ani, Neon, Lucky & Paradox) are trying not to vomit too much. Ani was lying down on the couch moaning, Neon was banging on the door while Lucky is in the bathroom and Paradox is screaming “Damn you, Robert Downey Jr.!!” for some reason that many of you might guess what it is. Then the rest of the guys got back into the place and introduce Angel to everybody and they’re not feeling quite ecstatic but not because of her. Ani, with little balance she got, introduce herself to Angel and said it’s good that we needed more people to be a part of your little crew and as she is about to welcome her aboard, she started to feel even more sick and headed to the bathroom and luckily Angel brought something to cure them quickly.

After administering the cure, Angel tells them all the stuff she told earlier in the car and some of the reactions to that have made assumptions that Angel might be a double agent and could betray our trust and has us killed and Lucky is definitely keeping watch on her, mostly due to the fact that she’s part wolf. The rest of the crew has very mixed reactions to having another member but they still agreed to let her in our inner circle of wandering eccentric people.

And the night goes on………but as for Tron………

 

Well, there were some unexpected visitors that pay him for a visit.

But that’s for a later time, as in the upcoming Halloween Edition as I look into the series………

 

 

 

So, until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid and I write the songs…….well, stories.

 

BLADE: THE SERIES – courtesy of MARVEL / Phantom Four Films / New Line Television / Spike TV

MARVEL ANIME: BLADE – animation by MADHOUSE / distributed by SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT & MARVEL

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