For the past 3 years of doing Time of the Season, you might notice something in the first few years that I was not a fan of the spring season…well, aside from last year and that was an awesome season and this year is looking fresh as hell, too…..but in 2014 and 2015, I was not pleased in what that particular year and season of anime had to offer although 2015 sucked a little less because there were 3 top anime of that season of me. The first two were My Love Story and Ninja Slayer The Animation (yeah, you heard me.) and the other one…….is of course, today’s anime review du jour.
Funny thing about this one is this is another case where this is particularly the one series that season that was a sleeper hit among anime fans and surprisingly (at least for me) it did exceptionally well in Japan considering something like this wouldn’t be successful and not to mention, the author of the original source is a familiar name we haven’t heard in a while.
Remember Yashiro Nightow? The guy that created Trigun and Gungrave (and also did some character designs in there, too)? Yeah, he’s involved in here as well.
It centers around the crime fighting organization “Libra” and their battles in Hellsalem’s Lot, formerly known as New York City. Hellsalem’s Lot was created when a portal to the “Beyond” opened, becoming a paranormal melting pot of monsters, magic and the everyday mundane life, and it is up to Libra to clear the streets of trouble and prevent the horrors of this city from spreading to the outside world.
OK, first time watching this…….I really had no expectations of the show considering the discussion about it wasn’t as high as some of the other titles of the season and it had an inconsistent premiere date in the U.S. as I remember it didn’t stream the week it did but fortunately we got the first 2 episodes of it and…….this looked promising. In fact, as the show ran weekly, the show manages to be more endearing as the episodes go and yes, the episodes for the majority do have that episodic vibe along with the monster of the week thing as they are a lot of weird monsters and characters to make appearances. There is one plot line in the show (that’s not even in the manga) that does hold baring involving two siblings with a tragic (an extremely fucked up one, BTW) past that’s emotionally effective in every way.
In fact, the show got everything in here balanced from the manic and fast-paced comedy (which is fucking hilarious every time I witness a scene or even a full episode) to the more softer, genuinely emotional moments that really have you deeply concerned about what’s to come and of course, the action is as high-octane and energetic as you imagined it would be, even though we had to catch the finale…….4-5 months later although it was delayed because the final episode is over 46 minutes long and to be fair, the wait was worth it.
There isn’t one single character in here that I hate…..like I can’t think of one particular person in here that I despise and thank god because I genuinely like the majority of characters here. I do dig Leonardo Watch as he is the straight man in the crew of eccentric, weird people to balance it off and the power he possess in his eye (which I would want…..I would TBH but damn) and as for the whole Libra crew…..in short: Klaus Von Reinherz is a badass in general, Zapp Renfro is a womanizing, violent, crazy and funny asshole that I absolutely love but I wouldn’t hang around the majority of the time and as much as she seldom said anything, I do like Chain Sumeragi the most, especially for her casual harm towards Zapp (and to be honest, he did deserve it if you saw the show). As for other members like Steven A. Starphase, K.K., Blitz T. Abrams (cool name BTW) and Sonic (THE MONKEY) and others I either can’t name or there’s too many to name……yeah, I’m equally pleased with the roster, especially Sonic the Monkey. For the original anime characters White and Black (yeah, I’m not spoiling their real names)…….easily the most interesting characters of the series and yes, they are the siblings with that plot and yes, I honestly enjoyed their on-screen presence.
BONES did their damn thing on the animation as it delivers on the fast-paced chaotic nature of the show to the movements and the comedic moments excellently animated albeit more gag-based but rightfully attended to be that way and there is the light-hearted, tear-jerking notes scenes, especially the episode “Don’t Forget to Don’t Forget Me” and believe me….oh boy, that episode. But in a good way….it’s fantastic.
I absolutely love the score done here by Taisei Iwasaki as it does feature a bit more on the jazzy, smooth and slow soulful sound and with it being NYC, it fits within the city’s environment along with the booming orchestral score that slightly reminds me of the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. Also worth noting are the opening and ending themes with “Hello, World!” by BUMP OF CHICKEN (yes, there is a group called BUMP OF CHICKEN. It sounds like something you heard at a restaurant) and Unison Square Garden’s ending theme “Sugar Song to Bitter Step” as both songs are highly energetic and greatly animated as the opening and ending animation applies. Also, songs I can easily see people listening to outside of the anime.
Last but not least, no surprise here but the English dub is fantastic and another no brainer….hey, FUNimation made this and Mike McFarland along with assistant ADR director Felecia Angelle happened to be in charge of the ADR direction and also I noticed Blair Rowan is the ADR script writer in here considering at the time of the Broadcast Dub in Spring 2015, no one knew who did the script and it’s another solid job from them and the cast did a great job on the dub from Aaron Dismuke as Leonardo Watch to Ian Sinclair (aka Dandy himself) playing Zapp. Major props does go to Josh Grelle as Femt as he completely stole the show with his performance and I noticed a few newcomers at the time of this dub, that being Megan Emerick as White and Sarah Wiedenheft as Michella.
FINAL VERDICT: Blood Blockade Battlefront is probably the most risky anime that debuted in the Spring of 2015 and thankfully the risks all paid off as we equally get fast-paced comedy, kinetic action, investing drama and emotion all in one. This is easily a show I do see as a gateway anime for newcomers alike.
And of course, BBB gets the score of….
BLOOD BLOCKADE BATTLEFRONT is available on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack from FUNimation. Streaming options are on FUNimation.com, Hulu and Yahoo! View. A sequel series has been announced to air sometime in 2017.
That’s all for me. I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid…..and it’s time for y’all to DANCE!
BLOOD BLOCKADE BATTLEFRONT – animated by BONES / licensed by FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT