Author’s Note: WELL, FOLKS, IT’S BEEN SOME TIME SINCE ANOTHER CASTLE, THE SITE I USED TO WRITE FOR HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN AND WHILE THE SITE AND MY CONTENT IN THERE STILL EXISTS, I HAVE DECIDED TO POST MY CONTENT FROM THERE AS ANIME DISCOVERY ENTRIES. I WILL BE POSTING THE MAJORITY OF THESE ALONG WITH SOME EDITORIALS I MADE THAT I FEEL PROUD OF SHOWING ALL OF YOU.
Original Date: July 27, 2014
Although vampire media has grown exponentially in recent years, its over-saturation has caused a stagnancy of the topic. However, with Blood Lad‘s well-balanced approach, vampires just might be cool again.
When Staz Charlie Blood — a territory boss of the East Demon World — comes across Fuyumi, an ordinary girl wandering into the Demon World, Staz falls in love at first sight. Unfortunately, she ends up being eaten by a carnivorous plant and it’s up to Staz to help bring her back to life before it’s too late.
As far as you know about the show, it really goes into the goofy aspect of things in the first few episodes and that can spells some danger to that it could really backfire on them but the humor does manage to be consistently funny and it also helps that the show has an abundant amount of otaku/video game/anime references such as Final Fantasy,DragonBall, etc. and it doesn’t make them like you only have be an otaku to understand it.
However, the show isn’t without its more serious moments when it comes to either getting Fuyumi back to normal, exploring Staz’s past along with his family and associates of his and dealing with them now and even some surprises that I would’ve never suspected from one character in particular.
Pacing is rather quick as it clocks only in 10-episodes when the show should’ve been a 12 or 13 episode series. The way the show ended felt like a pause rather than an actual ending, and, unfortunately, we might not receive complete closure unless you’re reading the manga.
The main protagonist, Staz Charlie Blood has all the great characteristics of an anime hero — hotheaded, daring, and complex. He is definitely the hero that attracts many young impressionable anime viewers. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this character type used all-too-often as it gets dull quickly.
Fuyumi is the object of Staz’s love and, as much as she seems likable and innocent, the show under-utilizes her as shameless fan service bait with her damsel in distress act in titillating outfits. She’s not irritating or annoying, but she comes across as useless in the storyline.
Hydra Bell is a treasure hunter who open portals of the Demon and Human world. She comes off as an interesting side character in the rebellious female type role, but like Staz, feels like another omnipresent anime character.
Overall, the supporting cast is rather bland and vague. The story is engaging enough, but the anime ends up being dull and apathetic from defective character development. Thankfully, comedic relief characters Mamejiro the three-eyed talking demon animal and Staz’s best friend/rival Wolf, controller of the majority of the West Demon World, provide enough humor so it doesn’t feel irredeemable as a whole.
Animation / Art
Brains Base, the studio behind anime like Baccano, Durarara! & Princess Jellyfish, does have this distinct art style in their shows and I got to say that this is up to the studio’s standard of their animation and art work.
It’s the equal amount of bright and dark coloring that doesn’t look over-saturated and ugly. It does have a substantial amount of gag-based animation, which depicts some anime tropes such as the nose-bleeding and the misunderstanding we all know in anime.
Character designs are strangely basic in a way that doesn’t make it too bland but fortunately with the demon character designs were more interesting in my eyes. The action animation is absolute crisp and consistent from beginning to end. The animation does remind you while it has the look of a horror anime at surface value, it is still carries on a hysterical storyline going on.
The opening theme, “ViViD” by May’n, is catchy and great to listen to every time you’re watching the show as it has that kinetic energy of the show that goes along with it and it has a great beat and tone to it as it goes.
The ending theme, “Bloody Holic” by Yuuka Nanri, is merely fine but I wouldn’t see myself listening it several times in a row as it felt too tame and downbeat for a show like this. It fits within some of the serious moments of the show, otherwise, I would skip the song to see the preview of the next episode.
The English Dub
At the time of this review, I have watched the entire dub of Blood Lad via Neon Alley/Hulu as it was airing it for a limited run and this is another example of a good and fun dub from Bang Zoom Entertainment. The ADR direction from Kirk Thornton and writing from Chris Cason made the show more enjoyable to watch in the English dub than its original Japanese language.
I will say that I’m starting to feel the Bryce Papenbrook fatigue as I’ve been hearing him frequently in recent dubbed anime (Sword Art Online, Blue Exorcist, and recently Attack on Titan) and while he is decent here, I did felt like he’s starting to be overused and his performance felt like a repeat of him playing Rin from Blue Exorcist. Come to think of it, Staz’s brother Braz D. Blood is played by Johnny Yong Bosch (he played Yukio, Rin’s brother from Blue Exorcist. Coincidence?)
Xanthe Hyunh completely fitted the voice and tone for Fuyumi and was surprised she was chosen for the lead female role and I hope for her to get some more lead roles in the future. However, Ben Diskin (Wolf), Kira Buckland (Hydra Bell) & Cristina Vee (Mamejiro) deserve some praise for their respective performances as they were the funniest parts of the dub.
Blood Lad manages to be highly entertaining, promptly paced and exhilarating. It certainly packs a punch, but due to meandering character development, the show does often feel flat.
Fortunately, the blend of the show’s story, animation and sound manage to land it back on its feet and make the show worth a watch.
However, it is one of those cases where you wish the manga was done before the anime production had even started. If the show would’ve started another year later, it could really have given the full experience to anime fans both aware and unaware of the source material.
Overall, this is a mixed yet entertaining bag. It doesn’t have all the right ingredients of being a top-tier anime and feels like a stereotypical action / comedy anime, but it did give a valiant amount of effort.
FINAL VERDICT – THE MIND OF THE HYBRID ONE VERSION: Blood Lad was a fun and vibrant ride of an anime that had some stumbles in its 10-episode run, especially since this only lasts 10 episodes and could’ve used more and no, that OVA didn’t answer much of anything. We’re basically left with the “read the manga” ending and also the anime did not sell that well in Japan to warrant another season of it. However, what we got is a serviceable short series to burn through in case you’re feeling bored.
So……does the anime get your blood pumped or does it suck the life out of you?
7/10 – OKAY
BLOOD LAD is available on Blu-ray and DVD via Viz Media. Streaming options are available on Hulu in both sub and dub format.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing this girl back to life before she becomes a ghost…..forever.
BLOOD LAD – animated by BRAIN’S BASE / licensed by VIZ MEDIA